Sri Murudeshwara Shiva temple

Murudeshwara Temple: A Self-Guided  Tour

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Surrounded by the Arabian Sea on three sides, Sri Murudeshwara Temple resides on the hilltop of Kanduka in Bhatkal Taluk in coastal Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and thrives with tourists and devotees from across the world. This blog explains everything you need to know before you visit the temple including, its history, facilities available, special poojas, and more.

Sri Murudeshwara Shiva Temple Guide

Murudeshwara Temple History

The story of the Murudeshwar Temple finds its roots in the Hindu epic, Ramayana. Ravana, the Demon King, was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He regularly performed rituals and offered penance to attain immortality. Happy with his prayers, Shiva granted Ravana what he sought but on one condition: Ravana had to carry Atma Linga to Lanka (Now Sri Lanka) without placing it on Earth.

When Lord Ganesha and Lord Vishnu learned this, they knew if Ravana was successful he would wreak havoc on Earth. So the two crafted the perfect plan to trick Ravana. While Vishnu created an illusion of sunset, Ganesha disguised himself as a Brahmin. The two knew Ravana didn’t let the day end without offering his prayers to Lord Shiva through a ritual. Ravana saw the sun was about to set and was worried about his ritual. At this point, the Brahmin (Ganesha in disguise) encountered Ravana and offered to hold the Linga on a simple condition. Whenever the Brahmin calls Ravana thrice, the latter should appear before him. 

So, Ravana went to perform his ritual, but when he returned the Linga was already on the ground. Vishnu removed the illusion and it was day again and Ganesha turned into his original form. Realizing that he had been tricked, Ravana got furious and tried to remove the Linga from the ground with such force that it shattered and all its pieces got scattered. 

It is said, that one of the pieces flew and landed in a place called Mrideshwar which is today known as Murudeshwar. The temple is said to be the home to that piece of Atma Linga.

The Temple Tower Or Gopura

closer view of the Murudeshwara temple tower

The Temple Tower or Gopuram is the second tallest in India and was built in 2008 in a span of 2 years. The Dravidian style of architecture is evident in the most intricate detailing of the tower and also in the larger aspects of the temple. For instance, at the entrance, there are two giant elephant statues on either side, acting as guards to the temple. The 20-storey building is approximately 72 m high and accessible to the public but we can go only to the 16th floor.

You must remove your footwear before you enter the temple premises and walk barefoot to the Gopuram.

When you reach the 16th floor, you’ll see there are 4 windows in all 4 directions offering a panoramic view of the small town and the sea. Besides these, you can also see the Murudeshwar beach and the eagle eye view of the Shiva statue that stands tall amidst the Arabian Sea.

The Murudeshwara Temple

Murudeshwara temple inside

The Murudeshwar Temple houses the main deity, Murudeshwara or Sri Mridesa Linga. You will also see several other Hindu deities in the surroundings and see a golden chariot showcased inside the temple.

The Shiva Statue

Murudeshwara shiva statue

The Shiva statue behind the main temple is the second tallest in the world, standing at 37 m. When you go towards the right of the temple complex (outside the gate), a few flights of stairs will lead you to the Shiva statue located at Kanduka Hill. 

Halfway up the small hill, Rameshwara Linga is situated where devotees can do seva for the Linga. The statues of Lord Rama, his brother, Lakshmana, and Devi Sita are present behind the Linga. You can also visit the Bhukailasa cave next to the temple, which depicts the temple’s history (given below) in the form of statues. From here, one will get a closer view of the temple tower or Gopuram.

Murudeshwara cave temple

Surrounding the hill, a few statues, including a golden-colored sun chariot, depict Arjuna receiving Geethopadesam (teaching of Bhagavad Gita) from Lord Krishna, Ravana being deceived by Ganesha in disguise, Shiva’s manifestation as Bhagirath, descending Ganga are found around the hill among several others.


  • Temple darshan: 6 AM to 1 PM, 3 PM to 8:15 PM. The temple remains closed between 1 PM and 3 PM.
  • Raja Gopuram Elevator: 7 AM to 12:45 PM, 3 PM to 7 PM

Entry Fee

  • Free entry to the Murudeshwara temple.
  • Raja Gopuram elevator entry fee: Rs. 20 per person, Rs. 10 per child below 10 years (only cash is accepted).
  • Bhukailasa Cave entry fee: Rs. 20 per person, Rs. 10 per child below 10 years (only cash is accepted).

Best Time To Visit

Murudeshwara temple can be visited throughout the year. If you like to see the sunset on a clear day, you must visit the place during summer. During winter you can expect a misty sky that blurs the view. To avoid crowds, skip the weekends, holidays, and festival seasons.

Dress Code

Dhoti is not compulsory for men, and sarees are not mandatory for women. Men need not remove their shirts while visiting the Murudeshwara temple. Since the temple is a holy place of worship, you can wear ethnic dresses and clothes to get into the vibe. You can also learn more about temple etiquette before visiting any Hindu temple.

Special Seva List

You can get the temple priests to conduct special poojas for the deity, for an additional cost.

For the Shri Devara Annasantharpana Seva, all types of payments are accepted. 

AnnasantharpanaRs. 5001
One day AnnasantharpanaRs. 750

If one contributes Rs. 5001 one time, every year, a one-day Annasantharpana seva will be performed, and prasad will be sent to your address. If one contributes Rs. 750, any one day in a year, Annasantharpana seva will be performed, and prasad will be sent to your address.

Dining hall lunchtime: 12 PM every day

Where To Stay?

Murudeshwar being a tourist destination has numerous hotels in its vicinity.  The minimum price range in the area starts from INR 1000 per room.

We stayed at Aryan Residency, a decent, mid-budget hotel. However, if you’re looking for something more lavish, you can stay at RNS Residency, located near the temple, or at Mavalli Beach Heritage Home. There are no backpacking hostels in the area.


Where To Eat?

Hotel Indraprastha serves good vegetarian Indian food. There are also other vegetarian restaurants near the temple. Non-veg restaurants are not available in the region, as Murudeshwara is a pilgrimage site.

How To Reach?

By Air

Mangalore International Airport (Airport code: IXE, 178 Km) is the nearest airport to Murudeshwar temple. Direct buses and train services are available from Mangalore.

By Train

Murudeshwar railway station (Station code: MRDW, 2 Km) is the nearest station. Many trains that pass through halt for a few minutes here. This is the best and easiest way to reach Murudeshwar. From the railway station, you can either walk for 2 Km to reach the temple or hop on a tuk-tuk for Rs. 40 (one way), which will drop you near the temple or your place of stay.

By Road

Most of the buses will drop you at Murudeshwara highway. From there, you can walk for 2 Km or hop on a tuk-tuk for Rs. 40 (one way), which will drop you near the temple or your place of stay.

Note: There are only a very few bike rentals in Murudeshwar.

Network Availability

Both Airtel and Jio offer good 4G connectivity in Murudeshwar. You can rely on them.

ATM Availability

SBI ATM is located near the temple premises. Besides this, a couple of other ATMs are located on the Murudeshwara highway. Although most shops accept digital UPI payments, we recommend you carry a few bucks for the cave and temple tower elevator entry. Physical cash might also come in handy, in case of an emergency.

Other Activities To Do At Murudeshwar

Murudeshwara aerial view - backside

Besides being a pilgrimage site, Murudeshwar offers several other activities for tourists. So, you can explore the place at your own pace. Check out these 5 best things to do at Murudeshwar, a temple town in the coastal area of Karnataka.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is the Murudeshwara temple?

Although the Gopuram was built in 2008, the Atma Linga present here is said to be very old as the story dates back to the epic of Ramayana.

Are Gokarna and Murudeshwar the same?

No, Gokarna and Murudeshwar are two different coastal towns located 78 Km away. Murudeshwar is known for the Shiva temple, while Gokarna is known for its unique beaches.

Are there any direct buses from Murudeshwar to Gokarna?

There are only a very few direct buses from Murudeshwar to Gokarna. Instead of waiting for so long, you can hop on a bus to Kumta and then to Gokarna. Another alternative is to board the train.

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