Monday, August 10, 2009

Murudeshwar, Karnataka

We reached Murudeshwar at 8.00 pm and headed straight to the beach. After a sharp turn towards beach; a giant statue of Shiva came in our sight. It was be biggest statue that I had ever seen in my life. Overlooking the beach; the lord looked as if caring for the whole world. The beach was bustling with activity even at that hour. We sat for almost at hour on the beach; without speaking a word to each other. It was a kind of spiritual experience. We left and checked in with Gomes Yatri Niwas.

Giant Shiva Statue in the night

It is a nice place right across the beach. We went out had dinner and came back; then kept chatting for almost 2 hrs while enjoying nice see breeze.

After getting up in the morning we went for a stroll and saw fisherman with their catch. The auction was going on for the catch; as it was removed from the tiny boat. Kind of instant distribution and pricing system, I wondered about how fast they were in doing business.

We then went to see the temple. It has massive gopuram at the entrance and the temple is really well developed. This is one of the holy places of Shiva temple, along with four others as mentioned in my post for Gokarna. There is a chariot of Arjuna in the garden around. We then went again on the beach for a dip in the water and then had lunch. The beach is long, lined with coconut plantations. This place is well developed with facilities like speed boats and water scooter available

Gopuram at the entrance

Chariot of Arjuna

In case you visit Goa and have few days to spare then make it a point to see Gokarna and Murudeshwar. There are few homestays and you can have a relaxing holiday of 2 to 3 days here. These places are few hundred meters away from the temple and hence are pretty quiet and serene

Murudeshwar beach

This was our last destination along the coast and we started our return journey towards Mumbai by evening.

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Coming up next – Journey from Mumbai – Kolhapur -- Chikamagalur – Coorg – Wayanad – Palakkad – Alleppey…

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gokarn and Yana.

We left Goa towards evening. While leaving we saw some beautiful beaches in South Goa namely Betalbatim and Colva. These beaches are nice and secluded, with hardly any visitors. The area around these beaches is calm and quiet. If you are in Goa on a holiday and have a day or two to spare do visit these beaches. Normally not many tourists visit them; but that is precisely the reason why the surroundings are still lush green.


After Goa, we entered Karnataka. Instead of taking a break at Karwar we headed straight to Gokarna. By the time we reached Gokarna it was pretty late. The town was almost asleep. We could get dinner only at a small hotel. While myself and Naved opted for fish curry and rice; our driver Pintoo opted for his regular veg. meal. We also ordered prawns fry and as it was really soft (prawns being fresh) we ordered it once more. Post dinner the bill came and to our utter surprise it was Rs 120/- only. The place was really a run down but a lot of people were eating there. After dinner we checked in a hotel and spent our night.

The next day morning we moved on to Gokarna temple early in the morning. This is a very famous temple of Shiva (Mahabaleshwar). Normally Shiva lingam is above ground but here it is below ground and it is covered by stone cover called Kavach. The lingam is a pointed like an ear of cow and hence came the name Gokarna. They allow you to touch the lingam.

There is legend is that Ravana’s(King of demons) mother was devotee of Shiva and used to pray with a lingam made of sand on the sea beach. The waves used to destroy the lingam in high tide, so Ravana went for praying and penance for years; in order to please Shiva. Shiva being very kind gave Ravana, his atmalingam (lingam with Shiva’s soul).This caused panic among Gods and they sent Ganesha (shiva’s son) to bring it back.

While Ravana was returning to Lanka he reached Gokarna towards evening. It was time for his Sandhyavandana(evening prayer), and he was looking for someone to hold this lingam in his hand. As, Shiva had told Ravana that, wherever lingam is kept on ground for the first time it would stay there forever. Ganesha, went in disguise as a Brahmin boy, raising cows near this beach. Ravana, handed over lingam to him; ganesha tricked Ravana and kept the lingam on beach.
Later, Ravana was furious and he tried to remove this lingam from ground but nothing would work; hence it is called Mahabaleshwar (the one which is powerful than Mahabali). The lingam broke into pieces and four of them fell in the area around; which are namely Murudeshwar, Gunavanteshwar, Shejjeshwar and Dhareshwar. All these towns are pilgrim centers with Shiva temples.

Beside the temple Gokarna is a nice town to visit. Time seems to have frozen here; priests wearing traditional dhoti are moving around. The look is of very old village. On the way to temple is a wooden chariot; which is used for annual festivals. The wooden carved chariot is very beautiful. The temple complex is also very old and nice.

Entrance to the temple and Wooden Chariots

Gokarna beach is closer to the temple, besides at approx 1.5 km to the south of the temple is Kudle beach. It is small but secluded,; you can even walk upto this beach along the coast. Further South is Om beach; which is frequented by foreigners. There are a lot of beach shacks here where hippies and backpackers with meager budgets stay.
Om beach in the shape of Hindu OM symbol

Kudle beach
Though this town has potential to become tourist spot; there is not much leisure tourism here. Foreigners are here as it is cheap; but better off tourists don’t come here; Indian visiting are mostly pilgrims.


While we started towards Murudeshwar in the afternoon we decided to take a detour and visit Yana. We had heard that it is a nice place. So as we came closer to Kumta we took left towards Sirsi. On the way some 16 km inside deep forest is Yana. The tar road gave way to dirt track and we reached base of Yana through thick forest. We started climbing and after 50 mins we reached the spot. On the way we saw some rocks here and there. They were grey in shade and were completely out of place as if having dropped there.
Road in the forest
Rocks on the way
As we reached top, we saw two magnificent and giant rock formations. We were awestruck; this scene in front of us so beautiful; that the climb looked as really small investment.

Yana is natural wonder, where these two giant rock formations have sprung up; from nowhere on the top of mountains. It has probably happened due to molten lava or a meteor having struck the earth. The rock formations are huge; 120 and 90 meters high from their base. They are named as Bhairaveshawar Shikhar and Mohini Shikhar.

Giant Rock Formations of Yana
Mythological legend is that Bhasmasuara, was given powers by Shiva, to reduce to ashes, anything that he puts his hand on. As a result he became uncontrollable, to the extent that he wanted to put his hands on Shiva and then marry his wife. Shri Vishnu came to help of Siva. He took form of Mohini(beautiful dancer) and challenged Bhasmasura; to a dance competition. In this competition Mohini tricked him to put his hand on his own head as a dance step; and thus reduced him to ashes.
This spot is lesser known and rarely covered in any travel magazine but in my opinion it’s a must visit spot.

We climbed down somewhat tired and decide to take bath on tap which was flowing with natural spring water. The bath made us fresh we then had a cup of tea and moved towards Murudeshwar.

If you go to Goa and have 2 days to spare make it a point to visit both these places.

Coming up next Murudeshwar… enjoy reading and keep giving feedback.

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