Monday, 26 December 2011

A Pilgrimage turned picnic- Murudeswara

We keep travelling at every given opportunity. We capped our travel calendar of the year 2011 in December with a trip to Murudeswara in Khatkal district of Karnataka state in India. It was a completely unplanned trip as we were at Sringeri on 4 Dec and had planned to return to Bangalore. We realized that few tourists were proceeding to Murudeswara which is at a distance of 150km and not more than 3hrs from Sringeri. As it is on the Arabian seashore my two boys were excited to go on the trip. So, there we were on NH13 by 11 am on 4 Dec moving towards Murudeswara in our family car. We got on to state highway after some while and were back on to NH 17 and a left from Indian Oil petrol filling station lead us to our destination Murudeswara.

Murudeswara is a temple of Lord Shiva and is popular for the 20 storied and 237 ft high Raja Gopuram. We had to strain our necks to get a complete view of the Gopuram. It is built on the Kanduka Giri hill surrounded by sea on all three sides. The temple premises are very clean and pleasant. The entrance of the temple invited us with two elegant elephant statues.

My sons liked the temple instantly as it looks very modern, clean and appealing. The main deity of the temple is Sri Mridesa Linga, or Murudeswara. The Linga is located 2 feet below the ground level and appears like a rock structure inside hallowed ground. Abhisheka, Rudrabhisheka and Rathotsava are some special rituals performed here at several occasions throughout the year as per the temple calendar for the year 2012 we purchased.

A huge, imposing and beautiful statue of Lord Shiva in meditating posture complements the raja Gopuram of the temple with its size. This towering statue is considered the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in the world and is of 123 ft high. This is located within the temple complex and supposed to have taken two years to make. The temple and statue both were built by a philanthropist and business man Mr. R N Shetty. The statue looks sparkling with sunlight reflecting and we were all very surprised at the size and beauty of it.

The next best thing that awaited us after the temple and the statue was the beach. It was surprisingly clean and well maintained despite the thronging crowds. It was bright and sunny day with the sea water being warm by mid day. We went on a boat trip that cost Rs 800; it was exclusive with the four of us and the two boat men on board. We sighted many penguins and tried our best to capture images, but they were so fast and so shy of company that we could not. The boatmen were two young chaps and very entertaining, they allowed my boys to do the steering for some time and over all it was a great experience.

It was almost 4pm by the time we returned from out boating and ready for lunch. We went to a close by restaurant and had delicious, spicy Konkan vegetarian food. And post lunch we were on our way back.