It was a usual Friday evening…err..supposed to be. Daddu and Aju(my siblings–hiding their real names for the sake of PII protection :P) had cancelled the Mangalore plan making the Friday evening a gloomy one. But as spontaneous as it could be,we planned for Murudeshwar temple visit.
Murudeshwar is a town in the Bhatkal taluka of Uttar Kannada district in the state of Karnataka.Murudeshwar,also the name of Lord Shiva,hosts the world’s second tallest statue of Lord Shiva after Kailashnath Mahadev of Nepal and is situated on the coast of Arabian sea.The mythological story behind this temple is :Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva with devotion to get the AtmaLinga to Lanka.He received it with a condition that it should never be kept on the ground before reaching Lanka.However,on the way ,Sri Vinayaka tricked Ravana to keep the AtmaLinga in Gokarna .Ravana, realising that he had been tricked, tried to uproot and destroy the linga. Due to the force exerted by Ravana, some pieces were scattered and one such piece was thrown at Murudeshwar.
Murudeshwar is 190 km from Madgao,Goa towards Mangalore(that’s where Daddu and Aju were supposed to start from) and 156 km from Mangalore(that’s where I was supposed start).We had to finish the trip within one day which meant careful analysis of train schedule.We also had to keep in mind that it was the election day for Karnataka state elections.
I planned for getting in train from Surathkal(Madgao passenger at 06.38 am).From the past experience I had full faith in Almighty Indian Railways that it will never start at 06.38am. I got up at wee hours on a holiday to catch an express bus to Surathkal.But express buses could be seen nowhere,all thanks to elections.This made me little skeptical about the upcoming travel,but I went ahead with it.I got in a private non-express bus,which took 40 mins to reach Surathkal(INR 15.It usually takes 15 mins in case of Express bus).I reached Surathkal bus stop at 06.40 am. Got in an auto for station(INR 30).Station was fully crowded.I took ticket to Bhatkal(INR 35).Though the train goes directly to Murudeshwar,plan was to meet Daddu and Aju at Bhatkal. Train,as expected,arrived at station at around 7.00 am. As a pro at climbing in passenger trains,I managed to grab a window seat.A couple,probably laborers,sat next to me.I guess,both of them were travelling by the train for the very first time in their life.The lady tried her level best to interact with me with a pan stained smile and was highly disappointed after my “Akka,Kannada barudilla!”.She tried her hands on fan switches(she gave me a victory smile when fan right above our heads started successfully),window panes,the samosa from the vendors(also complaining that they give only 2 samosas for INR 20).I called up Daddu. Their train(Mangalore express 07.15am,INR 100/head) was delayed by 40 mins.
I reached Bhatkal at around 10 am on platform 1 and the Mangalore express reached the platform 2 at 10.10 am.By the time,Daddu and Aju could manage to reach platform 1 ,my dear passenger train left for Murudeshwar with me looking at it with three tickets from Bhatkal to Murudeshwar(INR 10/head) in hand 😦 .But Almighty Indian Railways came to our rescue. Karwar express( arriving Bhatkal at 09.51 am) was delayed by 30 mins and reached Bhatkal at 10.20 am.We got in the train,too late to realize that we still had passenger train tickets.The ticket master gave us a nice informative lecture.Luckily, Murudeshwar was the next station.It was a very small station,next to main road.You can see the Lord Shiva statue from the station itself.As expected ,there was a very less traffic.Switched on google maps,and started walking as per the direction looking for auto.Temple is 2 km from the station.We got in a mini bus(INR 10/head) and finally reached the temple.
At the entrance,we were greeted by a fish market.Oh yeah,you read it right! We can see the tall Gopuram at the entrance.The temple timings are till 1.00 pm and later re-opens at 3.00 pm. The temple was crowded. But we could complete darshan without any pushing-pulling.You get a breathtaking sea view and salty breeze from the temple.It was getting really hot with the Sun pouncing over our heads.An elevator has been installed for the Gopuram. Ticket charge INR 10/head for the 18th storey. You get a nice 360 degree view from the three windows.
The idol painting is currently in progress.After Gopuram,we moved towards the statue.Chubhti jalti garmi made us buy 3 watermelon cups from a local vendor(INR 10/cup).There is a murudeshwar bus stop,but is only for private tour buses.
There is Bhukailasa cave museum on top of the hill, just under the statue.Ticket is INR 10/head.The museum depicts the mythological story mentioned above using a number of life size figures. Some pictures below:
There is a huge Nandi statue in front of the Lord Shiva idol and Shanishwar temple next to the museum.
By now it was 1.00 pm and we were hungry.There is annadana inside the temple where they serve delicious temple food.We chose to go to Naveen beach restaurant which is next to the temple and provides perfect sea view .The service was good,though the prices are at a little higher side.There are various water sports activities available here.I had been to Murudeshwar three years back and have tried boating with six month lasting tan.Scuba diving is available at the Nethrani island,but is a half day activity.Some other time:P
I was really worried about our travel back to Bhatkal owing to Elections.However,we spotted tempo traveler at 5 mins walk from the temple(Info given by the watermelon guy).It was jam packed. Daddu is a bit taller than me with Aju being the tallest.We had our necks crammed up,back hurting and still managed to squeeze in and survive the adventurous 12 km drive to Bhatkal. I am really happy about my siblings being travellers and not the regular tourists. :D.We bought some yummy sweets at Bhatkal bus stop and hired an auto to station(INR 50).
Mumbai express(to Madgao at 04.12pm;INR 100) arrived on time.Not the same case with me.I took express train ticket for Bangalore express(to Mangalore at 04.35pm,INR 75) which followed IRST(Indian railways Standard Timing) and was 40 mins late. I kept the ticket in the back pocket of my jeans and started doing what I do the best..wander! Bhatkal station is surrounded by mountains and the view is quite peaceful.
The general compartment of the train would stop at section 15 of the platform so I started walking towards it.Suddenly,a kid came running from behind and held a ticket to me,”Akka,is this your ticket?”.I searched in the pockets.no ticket.I was so grateful,’ thank you so much’ and she ran back to her family.God bless that kid!!
Train arrived at around 05.10 pm.General compartment was overflowing.I had my one leg in and the train started.I was able to get my second leg in which involved mildly pushing one middle aged guy who looked like a maulvi. He screamed”Kaise jallhad log ho tum!” I could not stop grinning but it quickly faded away when I looked inside.It was not a normal compartment.Just a pair of 3 seaters. I got neither seat nor any hope of seat till Udupi.I was ,in fact,blessed with 15 by 15 cm of space to stand on my tiny little feet.Though it was damn crowded,with me being the only girl except for a few snoring ladies in the corner;there was not a single moment ,where I felt unsafe.At Udupi,I acquired few more square cm area and established my umbrella throne. Below is a video that I managed to capture.
I reached safely to Surathkal at around 7.20pm.