Sunday, October 18, 2015


Shiva statue and Gopuram from a distance
When I and Jithu started our night long journey to Mookambika, rain was slowly washing down the dust from Bangalore’s heavily polluted air. In bus, we kept on talking about all things under sun for next couple of hours. After all, when two people who know each other for some time is confined to a compartment the easiest thing to do is talking. Slowly we said good bye to Bangalore city. Our bus was supposed to reach Mookambika by 6.30 in the morning. However bus reached only at 8.30 in the morning.

Gopuram - Close view

We spent that day in Mookambika itself. We means, me, Jithu and Jithu’s parents. By the way, they came from Palakkad in a train. Forget to tell you something about Jithu. Just like air and water are essential for our day to day life; train is important for Jithu. If there is a way, he use only train!!! Unfortunately there was no direct train to Mookambika and hence he was forced to use bus. I never saw a person who is so much addicted to Indian Railways.

Next day (Saturday) we decided to go for Murudeshwar. Unfortunately, it was on that day, farmers and their unions declared bandh to add more fire to already heated Karnataka – Tamil Nadu water sharing agreement. If you want to understand the value of water, you just need to follow Kaveri dispute. It is also a ready ready-reckoner for the possible intra-state crisis on water sharing in the future.

Even though we thought of starting in the morning, some way it become noon. Contrary to expectations bandh was not much effective on coastal districts. Still, there was less number of vehicles on the road. Close to 12.30 we got a bus going to Bindoor. In between an auto driver approached us and offered a ride to Murudeshwar (located 60km from Mookambika) for 400 INR or so.

We boarded the bus and quickly we reached Bindoor. Here road from Mookambika join Edapally- Panvel National Highway No 17. We got down here and boarded a cab to Bhatkal (30 INR). From Bhatkal we boarded another tempo traveler (17 INR) going to Murudeshwar. This vehicle stopped every now and then making it one of the most boring stretch in the journey.

People taking their boats to sea. Statue is surrounded by Arabian sea on three sides
Finally we reached Murudeshwar. After having lunch from nearby hotel, we went to see Murudeshwar Shiva statue.

Located on Arabian coast of Bhatkal taluk (Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka), Murudeshwar has the second highest Shiva statue (123ft) in the world (highest one is ‘Kailashnath Mahadev’ in Nepal with a height of 144ft). There is a 20 storey gopura in front of the statue (with lift facilities) from where we can see Shiva statue with blue waters of Arabian Sea sparkling in the background.
A Shani (Saturn) temple is located next to Shiva statue. Here I visited a Saturn temple for the first time.

Shiva - A close view
Story behind Murudeshwar Temple (courtesy – Wikipedia)

“Ravana wanted to attain immortality by obtaining the Atma-Linga (Soul of Shiva). For this Ravana started worshipping Shiva with devotion. Pleased by his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. Ravana asked for the Atma-Linga. Lord Shiva agreed to give him the boon on the condition that, it should never be placed on the ground before he reaches Lanka. If the Atma-Linga was ever placed on the ground, it would be impossible to move it. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka.

Narada, who came to know of this incident, realised that with the Atma-Linga, Ravana may obtain immortality and wreak havoc on earth. He approached Lord Ganesh and requested him to prevent the Atma-Linga from reaching Lanka. Lord Ganesh knew that Ravana was a very devoted person who performed prayer rituals every evening without fail. He decided to make use of this fact and came up with a plan to confiscate the Atma-Linga from Ravana.

As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blotted out the sun to give the appearance of dusk.
Ravana now had to perform his evening rituals but was worried because with the Atma-Linga in his hands, he would not be able to do his rituals. At this time, Lord Ganesh in the disguise of a Brahmin boy accosted him. Ravana requested him to hold the Atma-Linga until he performed his rituals, and asked him not to place it on the ground. Ganesh struck a deal with him saying that he would call Ravana thrice, and if Ravana did not return within that time, he would place the Atma-Linga on the ground.

Ravana returned to find that Ganesh had already placed the Atma-Linga on the ground. Vishnu then removed his illusion and it was daylight again. Ravana, realising that he had been tricked, tried to uproot and destroy the linga. Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces were scattered. One such piece from the head of the linga is said to have fallen in present-day Surathkal (Sadashiva temple is said to be built around that piece). Case covering is believed to fell at Sajjeshwar; lid of the case at Guneshwar and Dhareshwar and the cloth covering the Atma-Linga at Mrideshwar (which later has been renamed as Murudeshwar).

After visiting Shiva Statue and Shani Temple, we went to Murudeshwar Railway station (Konkon Railway) to catch a train back to Bindoor. From Bindoor (Mookambika Road Station) we boarded a bus back to Mookambika.

After having a very big Cheese Paper Masala Dosa at Adiga’s (near to Mookambika Bus stand) we went back to Dharmapeedam guest house for spending the night.

PS: One interesting happened at Murudeshwar was; we met a teacher who taught Physics to Jithu back in his under graduation days at Victoria College, Palakkad. It was a surprise for both of them. She was very happy to see her old student after a very long time at an Arabian shore.


Me sitting in the tracks

Me, in front of Gopuram

Jithu, on the way back to Mookambika temple

Konkan railway's innovative service.
A big clock at Murudeshwar Railway station

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