We started from Gokarna at around 6 pm after we all had a variation of a nice cup of coffee, tea, and buttermilk. Reaching at around 8:30 pm to find that the temple closes at 8 pm, we made further plans to visit the temple in the morning.
The next day, at around 9 am, we had visited the temple.
General facts about the temple:-
- The temple is dedicated to worshipping Lord Murudeshwara considered to be one of the forms of Lord Shiva.
- It holds the second-tallest Shiva statue in the world.
- The figure of Shiva took 2 years to construct and it is built in such a way that the sun rays fall directly on it and make it look shiny all the time.
– Figure of Shiva
- The gigantic Gopuram at the entrance is believed to be the second tallest of all the Gopurams in the world and has a height of 237.5 feet. The Raja Gopura has 20 floors and people can also reach the top of the tower by lift.
– A closer look of the Raja Gopura.
– The 20 floors of the Raja Gopura
- It is located in Kanduka hill which is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on 3 sides; providing the great vistas of the sea.
-The sea from the walls of the temple
- The Temple is also known for its modern and exquisite architecture.
– The Chariot of Krishna and Arjuna
The Legend Associated with the Temple:-
According to the legend, Ravana’s mother was a Shiva devotee and was praying for the prosperity of her son by worshipping a Shiva Linga. Indira, the Lord of Heaven and lightning, stole the Shiva Linga and threw it into the sea, as he was jealous of the worship. Seeing this, she was distraught and went on a hunger strike as her worship was interrupted.
Ravana couldn’t bear to see his mother like that, and so he made a promise to go to Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and bring the main Atmalinga itself for her worship. He then performed severe penance at Mount Kailash, to gain the Shiva Linga from Shiva himself.
Meanwhile, Narada had requested Vishnu to change Ravana’s thoughts. This made Ravana ask for something else instead, despite all his effort to gain the Atma Linga.
Pleased by his efforts, Lord Shiva appears before him and asks him for his wish. Ravana, his mind being boggled, replies that he wants Parvathi. Shiva grants him the wish and gives him what he asked.
On his way back to Lanka, Naradha appears before him and shows him the Kali avatar of Parvathi. He also convinces him that the real Parvathi is not what Shiva gave him, but is in Pathala. He then frees Kali and sets off to Pathala to find Parvathi.
Assuming Mandodari to be Parvathi, he marries her and continues his journey to Lanka.
Upon his mother’s request for the Shiva Linga, Ravana shows the girl he married as Parvathi to his mother, who becomes shocked over the fact that he had married a king’s daughter instead of bringing the Atmalinga.
Ravana realizes that he had been tricked by Lord Vishnu and starts to worship Lord Shiva with even more devotion.
He even cuts his heads to make a harp with threads drawn from his skin and intestine. This made Lord Shiva appear again and this time and Ravana requests the Atma Linga as his boon. Lord Shiva agrees to give him the boon with the condition that it should never be placed on the ground. If the Atma Linga was ever placed on the ground, all the powers would return to Lord Shiva again. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka.
Narada, who came to know of this incident, realized that with the AtmaLinga, Ravana may obtain immortality and create 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 used to perform prayer ritual in the evening every day without fail. He decided to make use of this fact and came up with a plan to take possession of 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 AtmaLinga on the ground.
Ganesha called out thrice rapidly but Ravana couldn’t come within the specified time. Even before Ravana could return, Lord Ganesha placed the Atmalinga on the ground, tricked Ravana and vanished from the scene with his cows.
Ravana then chased the only cow, which was going underground. However, he managed to get hold of the cow’s ear, as the rest of the cow’s body had disappeared below ground.
Ravana, realizing that he had been tricked, tried to uproot and destroy it; Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces were scattered.
While Gokarna has a part of the Atma Linga due to its origin, he also destroyed the covering of the Atma-Linga and threw the case covering it to a place called Sajjeshwar. Then, he threw the lid of the case to two places, namely Guneshwar and Dhareshwar, while the cloth of the Atma Linga was said to have fallen at Murudeshwar, hence the name of the temple. The scattered parts are mapped out in the below picture.
After having a look at the exhibits that were located at the foot of the statue, we started our journey to Goa at around 10:30 am and we reached our hotel at around 5:30 pm.