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A Temple Tour along Coastal Karnataka
India Discoverd Travel writing contest
A Temple Tour along Coastal Karnataka
Travelogue on Gokarna, Karnataka
Other places in this Travelogue:
Mangalore, Murudeshwar, Udupi, Sringeri, Dharmasthala, Subrahmanya
Posted on: Friday, August 08, 2008 at 23:37
Views: 7187 | Votes: 1 | Comments: 3  
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No matter where you go in India, you will find temples…lots of them. It is impossible to make a complete list of temples in any part of India. When you go to one temple, you can invariably find a dozen more interesting ones around. This is what we found when we planned a trip to coastal Karnataka. All we wanted was to see the main temples – Gokarna, Kollur, Udupi, Sringeri, Dharmasthala, Subrahmanya, and Kateel. But when I started searching on the net for details, it threw up such a vast network of temples that our 10 day plan seemed too short. Come, join me in my trip, and experience the magic of the temples in coastal Karnataka!

The Koti Teertham at Gokarna The Sajjeshwar Temple The Dhareshwar Temple The entrance to the Horanadu Temple  A New gopuram at Murdeshwar
We started our trip from Mumbai by bus to Kumta, a small village on the Mangalore route, from where Gokarna is an hour away by car. The Gokarna temple is an ancient one, and the Shiva lingam there is attributed to Ravana, who brought it from Kailas for his mother, but was thwarted by the Devas, who sent Ganesha and tricked him into keeping the lingam down at Gokarna. Here, the lingam is called Mahabaleshwara, and is twisted out of shape; as Ravana tried to wrench it out of the ground. In his anger, he hit Ganesh on the head, making a depression on the top of his head, and pushing his legs into the body. The idol of Ganesha here has a hole on the top of the head, as well as extremely short and disproportionate legs.

There are two sets of temples corresponding to this story-

It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana threw away the things in which he carried the lingam, and where they fell, they themselves became lingams. Together, they form the so-called Panchalingams- Mahabaleshwara - the main lingam, Sajjeshwar - the lid of the casket carrying the lingam, Dhareshwar- the string covering the lingam, Gunavanteshwar – the casket of the lingam, and Murudeshwar – the cloth covering the lingam.

There is another set of temples based on the episode of Ganesha receiving a thump on his head. There are 6 temples, all along the coast, where Ganesha is in a standing posture, with extremely short legs, and a depression on the head. These 6 temples are- Mahaganapathy at Gokarna, Idagunji Ganapathy, Hattiangady Ganapathy, Annegudde Vinayaka, Sharavu Mahaganapathy at Mangalore and Madhur Mahaganapathy near Kasargod.

Factfile - Information: How to reach, what to do etc etc..
How to Reach:

By Train : The nearest station is Gokarna Road, about 5 Kms from the temple. Autos and Cabs are easily available.

By Bus: All buses from Mumbai to Mangalore pass by Kumta which is the nearest point to Gokarna. The journey fromMumbai takes around 12 hours. Autos are ussually available, unless you reach there in the unearthy hours of the morning, as we did. In that case, you have to walk a little until you find a vehicle.
To visit all these temples, we started from Gokarna. Sajjeshwar is about one and a half hour drive towards Karwar, while all the others are in the opposite direction, toward Udupi. From Gokarna, Dhareshwar is an hour away on NH17 from there, Gunavanteshwar is another hour. Then we came to Idagunji, just half an hour away. Here the specialty is Lavancha or vettiver, and you can find Ganesha images made out of it. Raw Lavancha is also available. From Idagunji, Murudeshwar is just half an hour. Most of these temples are small ones, open from 6 AM to 12:30PM, and again from 5:00PM to 8:00PM.

Murudeshwar is a temple which has recently been re-developed on a grand scale, and is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are accompanied by children, or youngsters bored of seeing temples. There are ample means of accommodation, and, as the temple is on a beach, and water sports facilities are available, it is a good place to stay for a couple of days.

The famous temple of Mookambika at Kollur is a couple of hours drive from Murudeshwar. This is one of the important temples of the goddess, and is certainly worth visiting. The temple is open from 6AM to 12:30 PM and 5 to 8:30PM. It is worthwhile to keep aside an entire day for this temple, as there are other places nearby, also worth a visit. The moolasthanam, or the place where the Devi is said to have appeared first, is on the mountain. This is a rough jungle path, and only the temple jeeps are allowed there. A trip to this place takes about 4 hours, and costs about Rs.1500/-. The maranakatte, on the road to Udupi, is the place where the Devi vanquished the demon Mookasura, and is on the banks of the river Souparnika. These are all places which add to the aura and mystique of the temple, and are all worth visiting.

From Kollur, we went straight to Udupi, and decided to continue the rest of our journey from there.

Udupi is famous for its Krishna temple, which needs no introduction. What is worth a mention however, is that every morning, at 5:30 AM, when the temple opens, it is possible to have Viswaroopa Darshan of the lord, without all the decoration. After that is the Abhishekam, or the ritual bath of Krishna, both of which are wonderful experiences. The next time you visit Udupi, please do try to get up early and go to the temple to have this unique experience. The important temples at Udupi are the Chandramouleeswara Temple, the Anantheswara Temple, Raghavendra Mutt, and the Ambalapady temple. Other places to visit around Udupi are the Pajaka Kshetra, the birthplace of Madvacharya (12Kms), and the Vadabhandeshwara Temple at Malpe (7Kms).

The Annegudde vinayaka temple is an hour away from Udupi, and the Hattiangady temple, another half an hour from Annegudde. While you visit these temples, it is possible to catch a few more temples along the way- the new Sai Baba temple at Kodavoor, Gurunarasimha temple at Saligrama, Kotilingeshwara at Koteshwar, Kundeshwara Temple at Kundapura, Shankaranarayana temple at Shankaranarayana , and the Guddatu vinayaka temple near Kundapura. We were able to visit only a few of these temples, as they all close about 12:00Noon and open only at 5:30PM. But they are all interesting temples, from what we could see.

The next place we visited was Mangalore, which has 5 major temples- Mangalambika, who lends her name to the city, Gokarnanatha, a temple which has been recently renovated, and has a musical fountain too…, Sharavu Mahaganapathy, Venkatramana temple, and the Kadri Manjunatha temple, where, unlike most temples, the temple is on the foot of a hill, and the pond is on the hills….

The Madhur Mahaganapathy temple, the last of the 6 Ganesha temples, is near Kasargod, in Kerala. It is about an hour away from Mangalore. The temple is huge and impressive, but unfortunately, the temple was closed. Be sure to visit the temple either before Noon, or after 6PM

Factfile - Accomodation: Hotels, and Where to stay at Gokarna

GOkarna: There are a number of hotels and lodges at Gokarna. Among resorts, the Om Beach resort is conseidred the best. Visit their websote for further details :

Murdeshwar : Murdeshwar is an ecellent place to stay and visit all these temples. The RNS Residency and Naveen Beach resorts offer a number of ameneties, and they are right next to the temple as well as the beach. Check out their website at

Sringeri: Rooms can not be booked in advance, unless you know someone personally at the Mutt. However, once you land up at the place, they usually manage to find you a room. Besides, even if the rooms are full, there are a number of hotels outside the mutt
The Durga Parameshwari temple at Kateel is an hour from Mangalore, and is among the more famous temples. The temple, on a small island which splits the river into two, is a wonderful one I can never tire of visiting. The best time to visit this temple is in the monsoon, or soon after it, when there will be enough water in the river to make things more interesting.

There is one more Durga parameshwari temple at Bappanadu on the route to Udupi, which I have heard is interesting, but were unable to visit because of lack of time. On the same route is the Anantha Padmanabha temple at Kudupu, also said to be good.

On the route from Kateel to Sringeri is the new Annapoorneshwari temple at Hosanadu. This temple, though new, is extremely beautiful. It has inspired by the famous temple at Horanadu, and is an interesting one.

We now leave the coast and move inwards a little, towards the mountains, when we visit Sringeri. The great temple of Sharada and the seat of the Shankaracharya need no introduction. Having a bath in the Tunga River and seeing the goddess is sheer bliss, which cannot be expressed in words. Try it out to experience it first hand.

Around Sringeri, the Malahanikareshwara temple and the Kigga Rishyasringa Temple are beautiful, and autos are available to go there.

The Horanadu Annapoorneshwari temple is a 2 hour driver from Sringeri, and from there, the Kalaseshwara temple at Kalasa is just half an hour way. Both these are quite well known, and are superb!

The final two temples we visited were the Manjunatha temple at Dharmasthala and the Kukke Subrahmanya Temple. These were the only two temples where we encountered a crowd, because of the fame of these temples.

This completed our temple tour of the area, which was extensive, though not exhaustive. We had only a few temples on our list, but we found out a lot more, which is why I have mentioned them. We now have a desire to go back again, and see all the temples, but I am not sure we will ever be able to see each and every temple in the area. Big or small, old or new, each temple has a story of its own, and an aura of its own, giving us a divine experience.

Last but not the least, you don't need to only visit temples along this route. This coast boasts of some wonderful beaches. Gokarna's Om Beach has been much written about, and do make some time to relax on this wonderful beach.

Murudeshwar is one of the best tourist attractions in this area, thanks to Mr.R.S.Shetty who has taken up the development, and has converted a simple seaside temple to a beach resort. Boating and water sports are available on this beach, so make the most of it.

The coastline around Udupi has some of the most unspoilt beaches along this route. Just drive along the coast, and sto where you feel like it!

Malpe beach has a pier from where oating services are available. They even have a houseboat which makes regular trips to Manipal and back. Try to grab a ride on that.

There are so many places to see and things to do here... so go ahead, and try it out!
A view of the beach from Murdeshwar Temple An Image of Lord SHiva at Murdeshwar A view of the scenic route The VidyaShankara Temple at Sringeri Another sculpture at Murdeshwar
This Travelogue has 1 Votes Vote Now!  
+ Comments
Tripper Max said...Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008
Very interesting...your pics are beautiful..
Bob Symn said...Posted: Saturday, August 09, 2008
Really good to read...
Uriah Heep said...Posted: Saturday, August 09, 2008
promoting temple tourism, nice :)
This Travelogue has 1 Votes Vote Now!  

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