Home to the world’s second tallest Statue of Lord Shiva, (129 ft) Murudeshwara is a coastal town in the Uttara Karnataka district of India. Not only does the town host the fascinating structure, but it also lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea, overlooking the lushness of Western Ghats making it a beautiful beach destination in the offing.
The architectural grandeur of Lord Shiva built on the Kanduka Hillock beside the 20 storied Gopuram (Tower), nestled around the Arabian Sea awards with a Mind blowing view. The temple dedicated to the Era of Ramayana honors the ‘Bhu Kailasa’ episode anchoring idols of the mythological episodes around the temple precincts. This temple is a balanced combination of the old and new, with modern beauty interwoven into the ancient grandeur. Though the Rajagopuram is modern, built about 12-13 years ago, the innermost sanctum keeps up the old tradition. The only light inside the temple is that of the lamps, that illuminates Lord Shiva. Modern lights are not entertained here. Many devotees spend hours in the premises of the temple as every corner of the temple is significant. It is also the perfect sunrise/sunset spot to soak in the glamor of the town.
The highlight of the Gopuram (Tower) is the elevator facility to get on top of the tower to treat your eyes to the breathtaking sight. Apart from the massive effigy of Lord Shiva that is awe evoking, You get to catch the coastline of the entire town. On one side of the coast, you notice the busy beach life, colorful markets and men toiling around, the other exhibits serene sailboats, spectacle greenery, and pristine coral water. The Ariel view is a feast to any budding photographer.
Staying at a hotel in the center of the city, close to the temple may seem ideal but halting at a golf resort, a few kilometers away from the town is absolute. Facing the sea front, amidst the mountain setting in the vast land is what I’d recommend on a perfect Holiday. The beach is not the one you’d wish to swim and surf in, you could but be warned of the gentle waves and dangerous current on the shores during high tides. Also, the facilities around the beach are limited, so a long walk on the sand is perhaps the most satisfying one.
The beaches are located amidst a perfect blend of natural blue waters, lapped by the beautiful landscape of mountains and hillocks in the background. The ambiance is near perfect with the tall coconut trees, which are characteristic of the South Indian beaches. Other common vegetation of the region is Areca groves shouldering the beauty that is restricted to an area like Murudeshwara.
Gazing the sunsets on the picturesque port of Murudeshwara parade the influence of marine life on people is engrossing. Cresting the waves at the crack of dawn to have the best catch is what the life of a fisherman all about. The closest you can get to an angler’s lifestyle is the sight of the fishermen in their modest boats heading back to the shore to sell the gathered seafood to people who want a share of the new hunt.
A visit to temples and beaches will gradually lead you an important facet, that of the simple local gourmet. It should come as no surprise that the region possess some of the finest seafood eats. The coastal land abounds in coconut, a key ingredient of the cuisine. While the ambiance and decor or rather lack of it leave a lot to be desired, it makes up for it with its simple, yet delicious fare. Rice and fish curry, Deep Fried Fish and Crabmeat are sure to leave you satiated and wanting for more.
Situated about ten nautical miles away from the town is the uninhabited island of Netrani, locally known as Netragudo. A thrilling boat ride of 70-90 minutes takes you to the Island that is known for its underwater adventures. A large variety of corals, butterfly fish, triggerfish, eels, and shrimps are seen around the island. Composed of cragged terrains, the Netrani Island houses a ruined temple, a mosque, and a Roman Catholic Church. If you are a water-child, you now know where to seek for adventure.
Being a much sought-after tourist destination, Murudeshwara is well connected, and arrangements are put in place for both intra-state tourists as well as foreign travelers. Other than the temples and natural beaches, Murudeshwara has restricted areas of interests. More than entertainment it helps the visitors connect to the city in its original form.
A Special Mention: The entire place is developed by philanthropist Dr. R.N Shetty, who is a construction baron and goes by the Initials RNS. Great to see a man payout for a good cause instead of amassing wealth in banks like most of them.
Distance: Mangalore - 155 km, Panjim - Goa - 221 km, Bengaluru - 514 km
Nearest Airport: Mangalore
Nearest Bus Station: Murudeshwara
Nearest Railway Station: Murudeshwara
Where to stay?
RNS Golf resort
The RNS Residency Hotel
Naveen Beach Resort
Kamath Yatri Nivas
Not to be mentioned for shopping. Lavancha Handicrafts on temple road offers traditional and therapeutic souvenirs like wall-hangings, pen-stand, jewelry box, baskets and idols of Ganapati, etc.
Points of Interest around,
Apsara Konda Falls