A tiny hamlet on the side-lines of India's west coast sandwiched between Honavvar and Bhatkal is place where one can find 2nd tallest statue of lord Shiva at a commanding position overlooking the vast Arabian Sea in its background and a small town in its foreground. This is a sleepy town and to the best [art is still untouched by huge tourist influx as is the case with many other famous temples. The place finds itself in rainy season as greenery cast's its shadow all round with fragrance of soil touching your soul. Spirituality is attained the moment you get glimpse of the famous statue from train itself approaching Murudeshwar station. One can't wait to reach out to the temple as soon as first foot is landed on Murudeshwar soil.
Thanks to Konkan railway the trip can be done easily (do keep in mind delays during rainy season). Temple is situated 2.5km from station which is easily accessible by road (one can walk all the way or take a rickshaw who charge 50/- till the temple)
Random trip planned and tickets were booked from Mumbai to Murudeshwar and back via “Matsyaghanda express” train which leaves Mumbai (Lokmanya Tilak station) at 15:20 in the afternoon and reaches Murudeshwar at 06:30 next day, if the train is on time. During rainy season beware of the delays on Konkan railways. I reached Murudeshwar the next day at around 07:40. I checked with the station master to understand about delay in the train schedule in evening.
Murudeshwar Station:- As humble as they come. Basic amenities are available. The station for most part is used as a crossover point on Konkan railway route due to single track. View from the station is superb of the hillock especially when it rains and mist covering the mountains
12619 – LTT to MRDW (15:20 – 06:30)
12620 – MRDW – LTT (16:00 – 07:00)
480/- for sleeper class and 1250/- for IIIrd AC
Once I reached the station got freshened up a bit as I didn’t have plans to check into any hotel. Around 09:00 in the morning headed towards the temple. Walking country side can be so much fun. Closing in on the temple you can actually feel the richness of lord Shiva as the statue is visible from very far and just keeps growing bigger on you while approaching. The status just feels so majestic, Lord Shiva seated at the edge, showering his blessings on all the mortals, commanding the Arabian Sea on three sides. Just an awesome sight to visit. The main entrance to the temple is a 20 storey Raja Gopura manned by two life size elephants. Raja Gopura is structure erected by temple authorities which is in line with temples one visits in Southern India. Gopura or Gopuram is huge structure at the entrance of temple. There are two lifts which on paying a nominal fee takes you to 18th floor and one can see the Shiva statue and vast expanse of Arabian Sea. Breeze at this floor hitting you from the ocean is amazing, but make sure you keep a note of irritation that can be caused due to saline water from sea.
Raja Gopura – 20/- fee to get to 18th floor per person
One can visit the main temple complex which plays host to many other God’s and Goddesses. The temple area is so calm and there is no rush to shoo you away (like is the case with most of the temples in India). From the temple complex one has to come out again and at the back of the Murudeshwar temple bus stand keep walking towards the main Lord Shiva statue. Complex is big and around 2-3 hours can easily be spent there. Many statues have been erected in the temple complex depicting stories of Shiva
Only part I didn’t like is that there was no one to update the tourist on the importance of these statues and also guide on the story of the temple. At-least a write up post against the statues can help tourists understand the importance.
Beach - People who don’t like smell of fish may feel nauseated to be on the beach. It is not clean at all by any means and the stench just makes you not walk the beach. Local fishermen communities dominate the area. Ironical, most hotels in the area serve vegetarian food, and Murudeshwar has one of the best sea foods available.
Overall a very nice place to visit. Rainy season is definitely time to visit.
Itinerary of my trip:-
Station Time Actual time Train
Lokmanya Tilak (LTT) 15:20 15:20 Matsyagandha Express (12619)
Murudeshwar (MRDW) 06:30 07:45 Matsyagandha Express (12619)
Murudeshwar (MRDW) 16:02 18:30 Matsyagandha Express (12620)
Lokmanya Tilak (LTT) 07:05 09:30 Matsyagandha Express (12620)
Ticket cost: - 1250/- one way (IIIrd AC)
Rickshaw: - 50/-
Raja Gopura: - 20/-
Caves: - 20/-
Food: - 200/- (Breakfast + Lunch…. Yeah it is very cheap if you find right restaurant)
Total time for the devotional journey: - 42hours
Things to note:-
Panvel kochi highway is just outide the station. Once you cross the main highway you enter the town of Murudeshwar.
No restriction on clothing inside temple (please do wear proper attire though)
No restriction on taking camera inside
No fees additionally charged
Lot of hotels if you have not booked anything