Murudeshwar, the temple town with a vibrant scenic beauty and golden history. Murudeshwar is a town in Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district in the state of Karnataka, India. Murudeshwar is another name of the Hindu god Shiva. Famous for the world's second-tallest Shiva statue, the town lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea and is also famous for the Murudeshwar Temple. The temple is constructed using granite and depicts South Indian style of architecture. There are numerous sculptures including concrete sculptures of maidens in the complex of temple. Murudeshwar has a railway station on the Mangalore-Mumbai Konkan railway route.
Ravana, the asura king of Lanka, wished to have the all powerful Atmalinga of Shiva, so that he can become invincible and immortal by worshipping it. Pleased by his severe penance, Lord Shiva gave him the Atmalinga but warned him not to place it on the ground till he reached his destination.
Upset by the thought that Ravana would become more powerful by worshipping the Atmalinga, the Gods devised a plan to take it away from Ravana. The Gods knew that Ravana being a pious devotee of Lord Shiva was punctual in performing the periodical rites everyday.
As Ravana approached 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 AtmaLinga 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 AtmaLinga 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.
Before Ravana could return after completing his rituals, Ganesh had already placed the AtmaLinga on the ground. Vishnu then removed his illusion and it was daylight again, Ravana understood that he was tricked by the Gods. He became furious. He came to the Linga and tried to uproot it with all his might. But the idol did not budge even a liitle. The idol's shape now looked like a cow's ear. Hence, the place is known as Gokarna. [Go means Cow and karna means Ear in sanskrit.] The crest fallen Ravana was deeply upset and beat the boy on his head. In anger he pulled and threw the case of linga, which fell 23 miles away at Sajjeshwar. He threw the lid to the south 27 miles away at Guneshwara in the form of “Vamdev Linga”. He threw the cloth wrapped to the idol to south, 32 miles away at Kanduka hills on shore of sea. It took the form of “Aghora”at Murudeshwar. The thread winding the idol was flung to south at Dhareshwara, came to known as “Tathpurusha Linga”.
Shiva came on earth along with Parvathi and Ganesha and visited all these five places and worshipped the linga. He declared that these would be his Panchakshetras and those who worshipped lingas at those places would be free from all sins and their wishes would be fulfilled and ultimately reach the abode of Shiva.