Where the tallest Shiva statue in the world stands: Murudeshwar, Karnataka
Located about 80 km from the backpacker town of Gokarna in the state of Karnataka is the town of Murudeshwar, a well known pilgrimage town around the Arabian Sea belt; which is also famous for a giant statue of Lord Shiva.
There are multiple ways of getting to town. Travelling to Murudeshwar by bus is the best option for people coming from any place other than the Konkan Railway belt. Since only Konkan Railway trains halt at Murudeshwar railway station. There are plenty of state transport KSRTC buses that ply to Murudeshwar from cities in Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.
Since Murudeshwar is not a major junction, only a few trains stop here and travellers should keep this in mind if they plan to take the train to get here. Murudeshwar is predominately a holy, pilgrimage town. Most of the people in the town can understand and speak English and Hindi very well. So communication is not a problem in this town.
The town is well known for three things. The first is the Murudeshwar temple itself. The temple is built on the Kunduka Hill and is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Two life-size elephants which are constructed in concrete stand guard at the steps leading to the temple entrance.
The second is the Raja Gopura which is a 249 feet towering structure with beautiful art work. Raja Gopura is considered to be the tallest Gopura in the world. The third and arguably the most famous of them all is the 123 feet high statue of Lord Shiva. This towering statue of Lord Shiva can be easily spotted for a great distance and is present in the temple complex. It is the tallest statue of Lord Shiva in the world and is designed in such a way that the statue gets direct sun light and thus appears to be sparkling.
Murudeshwar also has a beach which attracts a lot of crowd in the evenings. The beach is not the cleanest on this belt but it has some water sport activities that keeps visitors interested. Murudeshwar is also the gateway for those who want to dive in the clear waters of the Arabian Sea. Diving groups organize trips to Netrani also know as Pigeon Island. Netrani is about 11 nautical miles from the town.
Murudeshwar also has a flea market, but don’t get carried away and expect anything much from this flea market because it will surely disappoint. The stalls in this market sell prayer offerings, clothes, jewelry, shells and plenty of toys.
The best way of getting around the town of Murudeshwar is by foot since it is a very small town and everything is within walking distance .
Accommodation in Murudeshwar is in plenty and to suit all kinds of travellers from the budget guest houses for backpackers to luxury hotels for the family traveller. Murudeshwar also has plenty of lodges that have large rooms only for pilgrims where you pay a small fee to sleep on the floor.
While in Murudeshwar it is advisable to stick to eating only vegetarian since the non-vegetarian food prepared in this town is not good at all. But the vegetarian dishes prepared here are very tasty and reasonable when it comes to pricing. A few of the must try dishes are the idli – wada and veg thali.
Murudeshwar is a town that can be visited all through the year, but the best time to visit is during the winter months from November to February. Winter is also the best season to go diving around Pigeon Island. Avoid travelling to this coastal during the monsoon since the place gets a bit too dirty and messy due to the heavy rains.
Murudeshwar is a must visit while travelling to Gokarna or Udipi. However, the town doesn’t entice a traveller for more than a day or two since the place does not have too much to offer. Murudeshwar is a must visit place for all Shiva devotees and lovers of history, ancient art and culture.