My 2-Day Trip To Experience the Surreal Beauty Of the Pilgrimage Town Of Murudeshwara

16th Nov 2019

Second Tallest SHiva Statue In The World!

Photo of My 2-Day Trip To Experience the Surreal Beauty Of the Pilgrimage Town Of Murudeshwara by sucheta dhoot

Of late, I find more and more people planning trips to places that help them escape the busyness of dazzling city life and spend moments of quiet and reflection. In their endeavour to explore the riches of their country’s cultural heritage and re-energize themselves mentally as well as gather experiences that are spiritually rewarding and religiously stirring, they choose countryside and pilgrimage sites over the highly popular and bustling cities.

The travel bug to discover the hidden treasures and explore the much-guarded secrets of the non-commercialized and untouched, beautiful pilgrimage sites and less-popular countryside has bitten me too! On most long weekends, I prefer to take a short trip to the interiors of Karnataka and less-travelled places of the bordering states, which are close to the city but still far enough to offer the much-needed tranquillity and calmness to soothe my body, mind and soul.

One such recent trip that I embarked on was to the temple town of Murudeshwara nestled beautifully between Honnavar and Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. I was really looking forward to this trip when I heard about it for the first time from a close friend who also happened to be a native of Mangalore –one of the big cities close to Murudeshwara. Although it is yet to achieve a global status in the world pilgrimage tourism map, this place boasts of featuring the Second Tallest Shiva Statue in the World!

Day 2

Netrani Island - The next day after getting up a little early and taking in the breathtaking views of the beach from my hotel room while having breakfast, I decided to hire a private boat and visit the Netrani Island or the Pigeon Island. This island is one of the most ideal places for beginners to try out scuba–diving and snorkelling. After an adventurous session of scuba-diving, I also had time enough to visit the ruins of temples and mosques dotting the island and take in the views of the famous subterranean cave. After spending a good time at the Netrani Island, I headed back to my hotel in Murudeshwara to pack my bags and catch my evening bus back to Bengaluru.

The visit to the temple town of Murudeshwara will certainly be a highly treasured one given the fact that I got an opportunity to seek greater spiritual direction and be really up and close with nature. Be it walking around the well-designed Shiva statue park or enjoying 360 degree views of the entire town from the magnificent height of the temple tower or the thrilling snorkelling session at the Netrani island to explore the underwater life – the experiences at Murudeshwara are nothing short of surreal and given another chance, I would love to visit it again and again for the mesmerizing beauty it embraces.

I started my trip to Murudeshwara from Bangalore on a Friday night, taking a private-run bus to reach temple town directly. Located at a distance of 512 kms from Bangalore, taking an overnight bus journey is quite an inexpensive yet comfortable and safe option to travel to this divine destination. After reaching there early morning, around 7 the next day, I headed straight towards my sea facing hotel that I had booked in advance. There are all kinds of hotels and lodging options dotting the town and getting a good place for a short stay is not very difficult. I took an auto from the bus stand to reach my hotel, refreshed up and had a sumptuous breakfast. Enjoying the fresh morning breeze, I left for the famous Murudeshwara temple.

Tallest Temple Tower (Gopuram) – The tallest temple tower with an approx height of 249 ft of Murudeshwar had left me mesmerized by the beauty it encapsulates. Another really fascinating feature is the elevator facility at the entrance gate to reach the top floor of the gopura. Capturing the sight of the surroundings from a magnificent height and from the small hill - Kanduka Giri on which the temple is located is certainly a splendid and unforgettable memory of my entire trip. I was really awestruck by the sheer magnamity of the statue of Lord Shiva.

The legendary tale behind the construction of the Murudeshwara temple is associated with Hindu Epic Ramayana. When Ravana was carrying the Atma Lingam from Mount Kailash to Lanka, Lord Ganesh appeared before him and tried to trick him owing to which the Linga was put down on the ground at Gokarna. Ravana got angry when he understood Ganesha’s trick and tried to uproot and destroy the linga. Some of the broken pieces of Linga were thrown off and the cloth covering the linga fell at the Kanduka Giri hill- where the present day Murudeshwara temple stands.

Besides the religious significance of the Murudeshwara temple, the 360 degree views of the captivating surroundings from the temple make it worth a visit. The intricate carvings of the temple tower further lend an immaculate touch of beauty to the sanctity of the place.

Statue Park - After visiting the sacred temple, I headed straight to the Statue Park - another famous attraction of Murudeshwara. The gigantic statue of Lord Shiva, estimated to be of 15 meters height, standing tall right before my eyes was a sight to behold. While taking a stroll around the beautifully-landscaped park, I started clicking pictures, posing in front of the artificial waterfall-flowing over the rocks and boulders and stone sculptures to capture the exquisiteness in my camera lens forever.

Kadavinakatta Dam - Post the Statue Park Visit, I wandered about in the busy street and stopped for lunch at a small yet cozy restaurant serving delicious Udupi cuisine. In the afternoon, I decided to head to the Kadavinakatta Dam built over the river Venkatapur in the port town of Bhatkal. The green hills enclosing the dam and enveloping mist around the gushing waters of the dam makes for a surreal view. There lies a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga at the bank of the dam and I decided to spend some time there.

Shopping & Beach Fun at Murudeshwara - In the evening, I explored the by-lanes and busy streets of Murudeshwara and did some shopping of local stuff, buying pretty handicraft items and some indigenous jewelry. After a hectic day, I walked towards the Murudeshwara beach to watch the sun go down while taking pleasure in the inviting aura of the pristine beach. The sea waves splashing against the temple borders on all three sides enhance the aesthetic appeal of this pilgrimage centre further.