Murdeshwar is a well known pilgrimage and beach destination located in Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district in the state of Karnataka. Murdeshwar is another name of the Hindu god Shiva. Murudeshwar is famous for the world's second tallest Shiva statue (123 ft) & tallest temple tower (249 ft) of Murudeshwar Temple. The tallest Shiva statue is in Nepal known as the (Kailashnath Mahadev Statue). The sea on three sides surrounds the temple towering on the small hill called Kanduka Giri. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west and Western Ghats on the east. Murdeshwar has a railway station on the Mangalore-Mumbai Konkan railway route. Nearby Netrani Island is also a very popular spot for tourists as it offers excellent boating, snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
We wanted to start Karnataka expedition this year and here we are all set for our first sojourn. A visit to Murudeshwar on the occasion of Mahashivratri – perfect way to kick start our Karnataka expedition. We had already booked our stay at RNS Guest House at Murudeshwar located just beside the temple as well as statue of Shiva. The initial plan was to cover the distance till Pune a day before but somehow we were not able to make it. So, we were left with the task of covering 734 KMs from Panvel in a single day and reach Murudeshwar before sunset. Distance is never a criterion for us but time was but we were equally excited about the journey.
We left early in the morning at 5:19 am and straight away hit the Mumbai – Pune Expressway and started cruising at comfortable speed. We crossed the expressway and did not get any traffic while crossing Pune as anticipated by us. Everything was going as per our plan and we were steadily cruising on NH4 on a clear morning. We took a halt for breakfast at around 8:30 a.m. before Satara and reached Kolhapur @ 10:30 a.m. thereby covering 350 KMs. We were running as per our schedule time so we were not in a hurry to cross the speed limits that we have set for ourselves. We entered Karnataka around 11:00 a.m. and reached Belgaum @ 12:00 p.m. thereby covering 460 Kms. We reached Hubli @ 1:30 p.m. and exited the highway for our onward journey towards Murudeshwar. After a brief halt for lunch we continued our journey through the single lane state highway. It was also in good condition with minimal traffic due to which we cruised comfortably at most stretch of our journey. From the highway itself we saw the huge Shiva statue and were attracted by it. We took the right turn and just after 2 KM reached the tiny hamlet “Murudeshwar” and we were in front of the temple on the occasion of Mahashivratri. We reached our destination @ 5:20 pm thereby covering 734 KMs during the day and checked into our guest house. From one side of our room we had amazing view of lord Shiva and on other side mesmerizing sea view – a perfect mix of spirituality and scenic beauty. Such was the aura of the place that all our tiredness got vanished and we were ready to visit the temple.
The temple and Shiva Statues is built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea. Spirituality was omnipresent and once we were at the feet of Lord Shiva we were awestruck. This was the first time that we saw such a huge statue of Lord Shiva which was displaying the audacity of supreme. The statue was built by Shivamogga's Kashinath and several other sculptors in two years, financed by businessman and philanthropist Dr. R.N. Shetty. The idol is designed in such a way that it gets the sunlight directly and thus appears sparkling. We walked around the encircled path at the bottom of statue and were mesmerized by its magnanimity. We climbed up a series of steps to reach the temple situated at the foot of the Shiva statue which is designed as cave with various sculptures depicting the importance of Murudeshwar. After taking the blessings of lord Shiva we visited the nearby Shaneswara temple as well and post dinner we went for a stroll on Murudeshwar Beach. The night view of Shiva Statue as well as temple complex from the beach was awesome. The soothing breeze on the beach was very relaxing and we really felt rejuvenated. The plan for next was to visit Raja Gopura and take the blessings of Lord Murudeshwar in the main temple.
We visited the temple and were in front of the tallest gopura (a 20-storied and 238 feet tall entrance) in the world. The sheer view of the Raja Gopura was breath taking and equally amazing was two life size elephant sculptures at the entrance of Gopura. The temple is entirely modernized with exception of the sanctum sanctorum which is still dark and retains its composure. We took the blessings of main deity Sri Mridesa Linga, also called Murdeshwar. The temple authorities have installed a lift that provides a breath-taking view of the 123-feet Shiva idol from the top of the Raja Gopura. We took the lift and went upstairs at Raja Gopura after paying a nominal fee. The all round panoramic view from the top was astonishing. From there we could see the surroundings clearly. The temple is surrounded by the sea on all sides except the one that connects to the mainland.
We went for breakfast to the beautiful seaside canteen (RNS Naveen Restaurant) that's built on piers raised from the seabed. The restaurant offers a beautiful view of the sea. Apart from the Temple, sculptures, & Shiva Statue, Murudeshwar offers a perfect weekend gateway for spiritual and peace lovers. The calm and wide sea with beautiful breeze is relaxing and rejuvenating. A stroll on the golden sand beach with green landscape on one side and the sea on the other is the ultimate relaxation. Rejuvenated and ready for our next stopover – Gokarna!
Fact File about Murudeshwar
Climate: Temperature varies from 18 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius. Monsoon arrives in June and lasts till end of September.
Best time to visit: November to February
Accommodation: Murudeshwar offers wide range of accommodations options. RNS Group provides lot of accommodation option specially near the temple complex.
How to reach:
By Air: Mangalore international airport is the nearest about 153 km away to the south. It is connected to all major cities in the country and few destinations abroad. Taxis are available from the airport to reach Murudeshwar.
By Road: Private and state run buses connect Murudeshwar to Mumbai, Kochi and Bengaluru. Situated on the NH17 which connects Mumbai to Kochi, regular buses ply regularly between the two cities and pass through Mangalore. Bengaluru is connected to many other important cities in the region.
By Train: Murudeshwar railway station is connected to Mangalore and Mumbai. Mangalore is the major railhead and it is connected to all major cities in India. Murudeshwar railway station is just over 2 km east of the town and can be reached by buses and auto-rickshaws.
This travelogue was first published by cloud9miles.