Friday, January 22, 2010

Murudeshwar - Karnataka

Boarded the West coast express (Chennai-Mangalore) on 14th at 9:00 P.M. Reached Mangalore at 4:50. Headed straight to the waiting room. After refreshing, got tickets to Murudeshwar and travelled by the Mangalore Verna Express (Train No KR2). It left Mlore at 6:30. Most of the passengers were tourists to Udipi/Mookambika/Gokarna etc. The journey was good with lovely sights of greenery and water bodies on the way. We had got two packets of idli from the M'lore station. The idlis were cup shaped and very soft too. We had our breakfast in the train. Murudeshwar temple and beach is around 2 kms from the station. Took an auto to the resort. He charged Rs.30. The best places of stay in Murudeshwar is close by the temple and beach. You can find some other lodging boards on the way to the beach. There are two hotels adjacent to the temple and one little away but near to the beach. RNS Guest house and RNS residency is close by and Naveen Beach Resort is little farther. We stayed in the resort. Resort is very calm and serene. Only 11 rooms in the resort. It has in house restaurant too. The food  in the restuarant is very good.  Just walk across the road from the resort, you step onto the beach.

The Naveen Beach Resort

Most of the tourists make it a half  day trip to Murusheswar. They spend some time on the beach and take a look around the temple and the big Shiva statue and move on to the next destination.  After reading about Murudeshwar, I wanted to spend a day there. Since it was solar eclipse on 15th and temples will usually be closed during the eclipse time, we  chartered that day for Murudeshwar for a day's stay.

The tourists occupy the beach near the temple, but few feet further, you can find uncrowded place. Sadly, tourists have littered the shore with all sorts of  garbage. The local civic authorities doesn't seem to bother about cleaning the place atleast taking into account of the inflow of tourist to the place.

There is an ancient Shiva temple near the beach. The surrounding area along with the huge Shiva statue is developed by a private person Mr. R.N. Shetty.  The story behind the Murudeshwar temple is connected with King Ravana securing "Atmalinga" from Lord Shiva by worship and penance. As per the story, Lord Shiva, while giving the linga was told to Ravana, that he should carry it home walking and should never place it on earth even for a while, failing of which, the Atmalinga would be eternally embedded in the place where it is kept. Ravana set out to his country through the path of west coast. All Gods who got frightened by thi, got together along with Sage Narada takes the help of Ganapathi. Ganapathi disguised in the form a of Brahmin Vatu succeeds in placing the Atmalinga at Gokarna. Ravana in anger and dejection attempts to remove the Linga in vain. In sorrow and frustration, he threw the cloth and thread to various places. The sacred cloth is believed to have fallen in the Kanduka hill assuming the form of Murudeshwara, a Linga without a pedestal. The very ancient temple which was in ruins was revived by its cheif patron Mr. R.N shetty. Other than the temple, all the other attractions around the temple is the efforts of RN Shetty.  There is a 249 feet tall gopuram with 18 floors on the entrance to the temple. They have a lift facility charging Rs.20 per head, which will take you to the 18th floor. The view from the top floor is spectacular. There is one open window on all four sides.
(Story courtesy :The booklet published by the temple trust)

The Shiva statue in penance is on top of a small hill. There is a small temple below. Work is in progress in the temple. There is a man made cave around the temple below the hill. The cave is dark and air conditioned. The story of Ravana and Murudeshwari s depicted in stone sculptures that comes to 20 in number. The story is played on a CD. The narration is in Kannada. Rs.10 is charged as enterance fee.

There is a huge Nandi statue in front of Shiva. Ravana holding the linga is also on the front.  Varius sculptures depicting the incidents from mythological tales can been seen around.

Another attraction is the beach restuarant which is built on the beach near the shore. The restaurant has 3 floors and you can have a beach view while dining. The food was good not to say very tasty. And its a vegetarian restuarant.

Because of the eclipse, we could not make it to Gokarna. But we had a nice stay at Murudeshwar, which was a much needed break from the routine life.