Lepakshi is historical ancient village in Anantpur District of Andhra Pradesh located at just 15 kms from Hindupur, 120 kms from Anantpur and Bangalore and 225 kms from Tirupati. Lepakshi is one of the key spiritual, cultural and heritage site of Andhra Pradesh, thus well-known tourist place and especially for one day trip from Bangalore. Shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Veerbhadra, Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Sri Ram and Durga are located in the same complex on a hillock – Kurma Saila – tortoise shaped hill in Lepakshi. Veerbhadra Temple is most important in all these shrines. Veerabhadra Temple also referred as Lepakshi Temple is solely dedicated to the deity of Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Lord. The rich notable architecture of Veerbhadra temple is very famous across India. It was built during the Vijayanagar period in 1530 BC by Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna – who were brothers and governor in Vijayanagar Empire. According to Skanda Puranas, it is one of the important temple Divya Kshetras, an important pilgrimage site of Lord Shiva.
The famous fresco paintings are particularly detailed in very bright dresses and colours with scenes of Rama and Krishna from the epic stories of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Large Nandi of 23ft in length and 20ft in height is carved from a single black stone, which is one of the largest monolithic Nandi in the world and major attraction near Lepakshi Temple at Basavanna Temple. The images on the pillars and walls of divine musicians, saints, dancers, Goddesses, 14 avatars of Shiva are the major attractive site for the tourist.
There are lots of tale associated with Lepakshi Temple wherein key legends are described here.
Lepakshi is the place where the bird Jatayu fell down after war against the Demon King Ravana who had abducted Ma Devi Sita. When Lord Sri Rama reached the spot during search of Goddess Sita, he saw Jatayu and said caringly, “Le Pakshi” – ‘rise, oh bird’ in Telugu, this is how this spot was popular as Lepakshi.
Another tale associated with Lord snake, the Naga of the Nagalinga was carved out of a single stone by sculptors while they were waited for their mother to prepare lunch.
The hanging pillar supported from the top is a surprise for the visitors where you can pass paper or thin cloth below which indicates the pillar is not supported by the ground.. It is also said that if anyone tried to move one pillar is then all other pillar will start move, what an engineering. To the south of the main shrine is a huge Nagalingam, standing on a granite block, shrouded by a seven-headed cobra, magnificently carved out of single rock which cannot be found anywhere in India. Right across the incomplete Kalyan Mandapa due to certain reason may be, one can witness a red mark in one of the walls which resembles an eye. Another attraction is huge footprint near Kalyana Mandapa and it is said that this is Goddess Sita’s footprint. Water from unknown source from underground constantly sipping and washing this foot in respect of Ma Devi Sita.
How to reach Lepakshi: It is very easily approachable through road via Hindupur. There is also availability of private – state buses and taxi – cab to reach the temple. APSRTC buses leave for Lepakshi every 30 minutes from Hindupur. The nearest railway Station is Hindupur railway Station at a distance of 12kms. The nearest Airport is Kempegowda International Airport at a distance of 68kms and Bangalore at around 100 kms.
PreviousVrindavan, Uttar PradeshVrindavan – Ancient City in MathuraVrindavan – Known as Best Sacred Places for VaishnavismBeautiful View of Kusum SarovarEntrance of ISCKON Temple in VrindavanIdol of Radha Krishna Inside ISCKON Temple, VrindavanPrem Mandir (Love Temple) is dedicated to divine love.Prem Mandir – Maintained by Jagadguru Kripalu ParishatBeautiful Sculpture of Krishna Dancing in Prem MandirAmazing Scultpure Lord Krishna and GopikasHoli is Celebrated Grandly at Vrindavan.
One of the oldest cities on the banks of Yamuna, Vrindavan is considered to be one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the devotees of Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna had spent his childhood in Vrindavan. The name of the city has been derived from Vrinda (meaning basil) and van (meaning grove) which perhaps refer to the two small groves at Nidhivan and Seva Kunj. Since Vrindavan is considered to be a sacred place, a large number of people come here to abandon their worldly life.
The city of Vrindavan hosts hundreds of Lord Krishna and Radha temples scattered throughout, the most famous ones being Banke Bihari temple and the world-famous ISKCON temple. The vibrant surroundings perfectly depict the playful and benevolent nature of Lord Krishna. Located along the waters of River Yamuna, the numerous temples set amidst the thick woods and lush greenery of Vrindavan are the major attractions here.
Current Status: The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site
Visit Timing: Sunrise to sunset
Entry: Entry to Agra Fort is allowed through the Amar Singh Gate only.
Agra Fort was built in the year 1573 under the reign of Akbar – one of the greatest Mughal Emperors. It took more than 4000 workers and eight years of hardship to complete the fort. Knowing the significance of its location, Akbar built the fort to make it the main residence of the Mughals. The fort remained as the main residence of the emperors belonging to the Mughal dynasty until the year 1638. The fort houses numerous impressive structures like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. In 1638, the capital of the Mughal dynasty was moved from Agra to Delhi, causing the Agra Fort to lose its status as the main residence of the Mughal emperors. The fort is separated from its sister monument Taj Mahal by just 2.5 kilometers. Often described as the walled city, Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the fort is a major tourist spot and attracts many tourists from all over the world.
History of the Fort
Agra Fort is known for its rich history. The fort has been owned by many emperors and rulers in the past, undergoing many changes in its appearance. It all began in the year 1526 when the first battle of Panipat was fought between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi of the Lodi dynasty. When Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi, he made the fort and the palace of Ibrahim Lodi as his home. He then modified the fort by building a huge step well (baoli) inside. The fort soon became an important monument to the Mughals. In fact, Babur’s successor, Humayun’s coronation took place at the fort in the year 1530.
Soon emperors from other dynasties started eyeing the fort and efforts to win over the same began. In 1540, Sher Shah Suri of the Sur Empire waged a war against Humayun and defeated him at Bilgram. Sher Shah Suri took over the ownership of the fort from Humayun and made minor changes to it, so as to suit his own architectural taste. The fort stayed with the emperors of the Sur dynasty for the next 15 years. In 1555, Humayun managed to recapture Agra and with it the fort as well. But a year later, Hemu Vikramaditya, the general and military commander of Adil Shah Suri (final emperor of the Sur dynasty) captured Agra. He pursued the fleeing army to Delhi and the Battle of Tughlaqabad ensued between him and Tardi Beg Khan, the military commander of the Mughals.
Tardi Beg Khan lost the battle convincingly and Hemu Vikramaditya crowned himself the king. However, on November 5 1556 and barely a month into the kingship of Hemu, Akbar, along with his army, marched into Delhi and defeated the forces of Hemu. The fort once again belonged to the Mughals, but was fast disintegrating. Back then, it was known as Badalgarh and was built with bricks alone. Realizing its historical and situational significance, Akbar decided to rebuild it with red sandstone.
During the reign of Shah Jahan, the fort was modified considerably and took the current form. Shah Jahan destroyed some of the edifices within the fort and rebuilt it as per his own architectural taste. During the early 17th century, the fort was captured by the Maratha Empire.During this period, the fort saw many owners including various Maratha emperors and their enemies which included a host of Mughal emperors. In 1761, the Marathas underwent a massive defeat at the hands of Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani Empire. The emperors of the Durrani dynasty made the fort their home until 1785. In 1785, the fort was regained by the Marathas under the reign of Mahadji Shinde. The Marathas then lost their battle against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War and with it the fort. The British then enjoyed the comfort of the fort until it was handed over to the government of India in 1947.
Layout of the Fort
The fort, when viewed from above, has a semicircular shape. The base of the fort faces the bank of the river Yamuna. The Agra Fort is enclosed by a double battlemented massive wall of red sandstone. This wall is about 2 kilometer in perimeter and is interrupted by graceful curves and lofty bastions. The walls of the fort are a massive seventy feet high. The fort stretches for almost 2.5 kilometers. It has four gates (one on each side). Out of the four gates, the Delhi gate and Lahore gate are the most prominent ones. The Lahore gate was later renamed as Amar Singh Gate. Akbar used the Delhi gate as his main entrance and the gate also served as a security against the invaders. There is also an inner gateway known as the Elephant Gate. The entrances were built in such a manner that the invaders found it difficult to enter the fort even with the help of war elephants. The Indian army still uses the Delhi gate for security purposes.
The fort has various palaces and halls. Among the palaces, the prominent ones are Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal and Shah Jahani Mahal. The Amar Singh gate leads to the courtyard. The magnificent Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is on the right hand side. A little further lay the royal pavilions, which houses the famous Nagina Masjid and Mina Masjid. The fort also has royal baths made out of marbles, which were used by the princesses. Also, places of worship and a private market place for the ladies were built within the fort. At the base of the fort, a secret passage was dug in an attempt to access it with ease, during times of emergency. Other attractions of the fort include a grape garden, a jasmine tower, a mirror palace (Shish Mahal), courtrooms and the ruins of Akbar’s once magnificent palace. It is said that the fort once housed five hundred beautiful looking buildings. Unfortunately, many of those buildings were destroyed at different time periods for various reasons.
Bricks formed the base of Agra Fort’s structure. Red sandstone was brought all the way from Rajasthan and that was laid on the external surfaces. Back then, the entire fort was built using the red sandstone. This appearance of the fort underwent a major change during the reign of Shah Jahan. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan was smitten by the beauty of white marble. Hence, he destroyed many structures within the fort, only to rebuild them using white marble. Shah Jahan was made to spend his final days in the Musamman Burj of the Agra fort, which was built by him.The Musamman Burj is located on the left of the Khaas Mahal. It is a beautiful octagonal tower with an open pavilion. It is said that Shah Jahan used to view the Taj Mahal from this very place.
When the British took over the ownership of Agra Fort, much more changes were made to the fort. They destroyed many structures and edifices with historical significances, citing political reasons and for raising barracks. The structures that managed to survive showcase the real complexity and workmanship of Mughal architecture. Fine examples of the Mughal architecture within the fort are the Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate and the Bengali Mahal. These structures not only represent Mughal architecture, but are also fine examples of Akbari architecture which is also known as Indo-Islamic architecture. Among these structures the Delhi Gate is considered as the most prominent for its workmanship and architectural design. Even today, it is regarded as one of Akbar’s masterpiece. Speaking about masterpiece, there is an interesting legend associated with the architecture of the Agra Fort. It is said that the royal rooms of the fort were built in such a way that they would remain cool even during the summer. The legend has it that the walls were made hollow and then filled with water from the river, so that they would remain cool.
Important Structures Inside the Agra Fort
• Jahangir’s Hauz – This is a monolithic tank, and was built by Jahangir. The tank was initially used for bathing. It is now a part of Akbar’s Bengali Mahal.
• Shahjahani Mahal – The Shahjahani Mahal is probably one of the earliest attempts of Emperor Shah Jahan to turn a red sandstone palace into a palace of white marble.
• Babur’s Baoli (step well) – Babur built a stone step well which took care of the water needs in the ancient fort of Agra. This was probably one of the earliest modifications made to the fort.
• Nagina Masjid – Nagina Masjid is a mosque which was built by Shah Jahan. The mosque was built using white marble only and was considered a private place of worship.
• Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience) – This hall was built by Shah Jahan. Interestingly, the hall was first built using red sandstone but was later shell-plastered, giving it a look of white marble.
• Ghaznin Gate – The Ghaznin gate actually belongs to the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni, one of the rulers of the Ghaznavid Empire. The gate was moved into the fort by the British for political reasons.
• Bengali Mahal –This palace was built by Akbar and was later modified by Shah Jahan. An interesting aspect of this palace is it is said to be housing secret buildings hidden underneath the palace.
• Akbar’s Mahal – The ruins of Akbar’s famous palace still remains in the fort. Akbar breathed his last in this very palace. The entire palace was built using red sandstone.
The Secret Within
Agra Fort has many secret subterranean apartments and edifices. It is said that the entire fort is interconnected through tunnels and other underground pathways. According to historians, the emperors who owned the fort during their respective reigns are said to have contributed to the secret tunnels for obvious reasons. One such known tunnel is located near the Water Gate, connecting the fort to the banks of river Yamuna.
The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall. Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees. The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history.
It is a Buddhist temple, situated in Kamptee, Nagpur District of Maharashtra State, India. The Temple Dedicated to Lord Buddha. The temple with its fascinating architecture, pictorial landscape and a tranquil atmosphere attract a large number of tourists and devotees. The Dragon Palace Temple is about 18 km from Nagpur city, on the Nagpur – Jabalpur road.
The Temple considered as a landmark of Indo-Japan friendship. As Madam Noriko Ogawa from Ogawa Society Japan financially contributed to the construction of this beautiful piece of architecture. Dragon Palace Temple also Known as the ‘Lotus Temple of Nagpur’.
The architecture of Dragon Palace Temple. A unique temple for worship and meditation. It has emerged as one of the most popular attractions for the people coming to Nagpur. It spread over an area of approximately 10 acres. Also, It comprises a magnificent Buddhist prayer center, which offers peace and serenity to its visitors.
The colossal statue of Lord Buddha is the idol that has been carved out of a single block of sandalwood. Also, It surrounded by verdant green, skilfully landscaped gardens with colorful flowers that spread a pleasant fragrance in the environs.
The walls of the temple have painted in the bright white color that symbolizes peace, clarity, and divinity. Also, Dragon Palace Temple of Kamptee was felicitated with the International Award for the best concrete structure of the world.
A stone pillar stands in the city of Nagpur, known quite simply as the Zero Mile Stone. Set up during the days of the British Raj, some say it marked the then geographical centre of India. Various distances have been marked on the pillar. There are other such pillars in the country which are living relics of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India — a cartographic or mapping exercise that mapped the contours of India. A survey pillar stands in North Parganas, Bengal. Started in 1802 by the East India Company, it was completed nearly seventy years later in 1871! In the process, four surveyors, including George Everest started and completed their terms!
In 1802, William Lambton began surveying India under the auspices of the East India Company. He was a young British officer, serving in the British Army against Tipu Sultan. Already having shown his acumen at surveying land in the United States, his proposal to survey the Indian Peninsula was accepted by Arthur Wellesley. Using rudimentary instruments, in April 1802, the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India began near Chennai, then Madras.
Using a flat plain as a baseline and topographic features such as hills, the land was surveyed. The process consisted of carefully constructing accurately measured triangles, hence the name ‘Triangulation’. At the end of 1806, it was found that the width of the peninsula was forty miles lesser than the previously presumed measurements! In places such as Tanjore, the pinnacles of temples were used for triangulation.
In 1818, he was joined by a young assistant named George Everest. By this time, most of India had fallen to the British and the Peshwa had been pensioned off to Bithur (Kanpur). The Great Trigonometric Survey could now proceed north. A few years later, Lambton, rather fittingly, died at Hinganghat while travelling from Hyderabad to Nagpur to continue the survey. In twenty years of non-stop work, he had surveyed two lakh square miles of the subcontinent!
The work then passed on to George Everest, who surveyed up to Sironj in today’s Madhya Pradesh, till ill health required him to be recalled to England. Another officer — Joseph Olliver — in his absence surveyed the country from Sironj to Calcutta. Everest returned after spending five years in England, with improved instruments. He resumed work north of the river Chambal. While peninsular India had offered hills, mountains as also flag staffs and coastal features for the survey work, no such help was forthcoming in the flat plains of Terai. Frequent sandstorms added to the trouble. George Everest surmounted this difficulty by erecting observation towers of stone, each thirty feet high. Over the next few years, the survey progressed by the usual painstaking methods and star observations towards the Shivalik hills. Dehradun was also covered by 1841. Two years later, owing to ill health, George Everest retired, but not before he had completely changed the face of carrying out the survey. He brought new instruments and devised methods of calculation superior to his predecessors. He improved on Lambton’s slow method of triangulation and thus, covered a huge swathe of the country.
Just like Col Lambton’s assistant had succeeded him, Col Everest’s assistant, Col Waugh took over the operations. The next five years were spent in calculating the positions and heights of the humongous Himalayan peaks.
Seventy-nine Himalayan peaks were thus covered. Thirty of these peaks were renamed, including Peak No XV, which was renamed to Mt Everest. The survey progressed simultaneously under other officers — from Mumbai towards Mahabaleshwar and south towards Goa . While all this was happening, the East India Company had managed to annex Sindh and Punjab, and Col Waugh readily took up the new survey as a brilliant opportunity. Starting from the already surveyed portion of Dehradun, he proposed to do a continuous survey all across Punjab to Attock, and from Sironj to Karachi. Together, it came to over fifty thousand square miles. From 1856 onwards, under a surveyor named Montgomery, the survey moved north from Sialkot once again into the Himalayas, in what is now PoK. A number of peaks were surveyed, including a certain high peak called Godwin — Austen, named after another British surveyor who surveyed lakes and glaciers in Tibet. Its ‘temporary’ survey number has also endured — Mount K2! In five years, ninety thousand square miles were surveyed with observation stations being set up in the snow and at heights over six kilometres! While the Trigonometric Survey was mapping the broader contours of the country, a Topographical Survey was making more detailed drawings of the interiors. A parallel Revenue survey, even larger in scale was carried out to delineate village and land holding boundaries. Col Blacker succeeded Col Waugh, and in his tenure, the coastline from Calcutta to Madras was surveyed. It had taken over sixty years since Col Lambton began his survey from the same point!
In the centre of all these lines of triangulation mapping the four corners of the country, stands a stone pillar – the Zero Mile Stone!
“God’s own country”, Kerala is indeed one of the most significant destinations that make India Incredible. From mesmerising hill stations to scenic villages Kerala has something every nook and corner that which can be explored. If it is to Kerala that you are heading for your short break then, grab your stuff, race-up your bike and let’s explore Kerala! To help you make the most out of this ride we have compiled the top 5 places that should give you a brief yet, the best picture of the state.
Best known as the Niagara Falls of Kerala, Athirappally Waterfalls tops our list. Situated on the Chalakudy River this prominent tourist spot is at about 1000 feet above the sea level. With its milky waters that gush down 8 feet, several small streams and forests this is one of the spot that would conquer the hearts of all.
On reaching Athirappally, it is not just the waterfalls that you should be visiting. Some of the major attractions that lay close-by and is worth the visit include the Vazhachal Falls, Charpa Falls and the Thumboormuzhi Dam and Butterfly Park.
2) Vagamon (or Wagamon)
A sleepy little town with picturesque beauty that is yet unmarred by the hands of commercialization, Vagamon lies at an altitude of about 1, 100 meters. The hill station which is located in Idukki district of Kerala is abundantly blessed by green meadows, enchanting pine forests, waterfalls, scenic landscapes, and greenery all around. The place’s altitude gives it the advantage of having pleasantly cool climate with temperatures between 10 degree Celsius and 23 degree Celsius. Vagamon’s terrain is ideal for activities like trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, etc. thus, making it a favourite spot among adventure travelers.
Major places of interest here include the Kurishumala Ashram – a place with its atmosphere filled with tranquility and divinity, Pine forests, Mooppanpara – a V-shaped canyon; well-renowned as suicide point is one of the best viewpoints in the place and the meadows.
Tip: The check-posts at Vazhachal and Malakkappara will be closed by 4 pm. So, try to clear them before 4 pm!
Perhaps there would be no other place as famous as Munnar! This mesmerizing hill station is one of the most visited destinations in the state or to say even in the country. A ride on your bike through the hair-pin bends, amidst the tea estates itself will give one the joys of a memorable trip. Hence, this is one place that will never go off the charts!
Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar lies at about 1,600 meters above sea level. The place has a wide variety of flora and fauna, breath-taking view points, waterfalls, green valleys, mist-clad hills and charming villages. Some of the must-see attractions at Munnar include Lockhart Gap, Top Station, Mattupetti Dam, Kolukkualai, the famed Meesapulimala, etc.
4) Valpara (or Valparai)
Valpara – another one of those charming places still untouched by the modern day make-overs. At an altitude of about 3,500 feet, Valpara is located on the Anamalai mountain range. With picturesque beauty and greenery all around this is one of the places that should not be missed. While exploring Valpara, these places could be the ones not to be avoided. Here are a few of them: Aaliyar Dam, Monkey Falls, Loam’s View Point, Sholayar Dam, Manampalli forest, and Tiger Valley.
Varkala is a coastal town belonging to the Thiruvananthapuram (also known as Trivandrum) district of Kerala. After exploring a breath-takingly beautiful waterfall and three mesmerizing hill stations, some time on the sun-kissed beaches will give the perfect conclusion to short getaway.
Being a coastal town, one of the major attraction that Varkala is famous for is its beaches. There are two major beaches here: the Varkala Beach which is also renowned by the name ‘Papanasam Beach’ and another one at Tiruvambadi. Other prominent sightseeing destinations include the Anjengo Fort, Varkala Tunnel and Kappil Lake.
It is not that there are no other places to explore. There are plenty of them. When the destination is Kerala would there be a limit to what and where to explore?! Here we have only picked the best 5. Now that we’ve had a quick trip, let’s ride! Or wait. Hold on! If you don’t own your sweet ride, here is a solution:
Based in Cochin (or Kochi),Caferidesis the first legal motorcycle rental service provider in Kerala. With a motorcycle fleet that include brands like – Royal Enfield, Harley Davidson etc, this motorcycle rentals Cochin, Kerala is now re-defining motorcycle tourism in Kerala!
So, take the one you own or rent one and off you go to explore Kerala.
Mahabalipuram is a small town situated in the southeastern part of Tamil Nadu, stretching between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake. It is a renowned representative city of our rich Indian culture and heritage. It is mainly a seaport, which lies 58 km away from the capital city Chennai.Mahabalipuram is a place that is famous for its temples and monuments, especially the very famous Shore Temple. It consists of three temples built in one single complex, that was constructed way back in the 8th century. Another famous temple is the Pancha Rathas.As the name suggests- they are a group of five temples sculpted in the form of chariots. The Descent of the Ganga is a giant rock with an open mouth in the form of sculpture. Some other popular tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram are Arjuna’s Penance, the Crocodile Farm, the Cave temples, the Indian Seashell Museum, Krishna’s Butterball. Along with these, there are innumerable monoliths, temples and stone carvings that are a testimony to the rich cultural heritage of India.Even though Mahabalipuram is a small town situated in the suburbs, it is well connected by buses and cars because of its immense popularity amongst Indian and even foreigners. These buses ply from different parts of Chennai, Chengal Pattu and Kanchipuram.The weather here remains cool and moderately humid throughout the year, which makes it possible to visit any time of the year, even though the best time to visit is between October and March. The town is well equipped with multiple accommodations according to the tourists’ choice and budget. Local restaurants, as well as multi-cuisine restaurants, are available for a culinarily rewarding trip as well. The local language spoken here is Tamil, although the locals are fluent in other languages like English and Hindi as well.
Murudeshwar temple is one of such temples which look quite contemporary though it belongs to the ancient era. The temple is dedicated to worshipping Lord Murudeshwara considered to be one of the forms of Lord Shiva. The temple is situated in India in the state of Karnataka. The temple has one gripping thing is that it is surrounded by Arabian Sea from three sides and the temple premises begins with a twenty storied Gopuram. Besides that the thing that makes it way more bewitching is the location of a huge statue of Lord Shiva which is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva in India.
The twenty storied Gopuram at the entry of the temple complex is around 237.5 feet tall and is called as Raja Gopuram. The temple has been built on a small hillock called as Kanduka. A list has been built for the convenience of the devotees which carries them to the hill top and to the top of the Gopuram. The most exciting thing about the temple is the scenic view of the Lord Shiva statue along with the breathtaking view of the seashore. At the foot of the temple is located a temple devoted to Shri Rameshwara. Next to the idol of Lord Shiva is the also present a shrine devoted to Shaneeshwara while below the Lord Shiva’s idol is a small cave. At the entry gate of the temple are the statues of two elephants which are believed to act as the guard to the temple. Within the temple premises is present a depiction of Lord Shiva giving the teaching of Geeta to Arjuna and beside that the depiction of Ravana giving the Atma Linga to Lord Ganesha. Except the principle sanctum, which still holds the same old flavour, the whole temple has been transformed in the contemporary style. The contemporary temple had been built by R.N Shetty, a philanthropist and businessman.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TEMPLE
It is believed that, Lord Shiva had given the Atma Linga to Ravan as a gift for his penance, which sits originally in the heart of Shiva. The temple features the cloth which covered the Atma Linga. It is also said that all the Gods, according to the Hindu scriptures attained invincibility and mortality after worshipping Lord Shiva.
Karnataka is believed to contain Lord Shiva’s Pancha Kshetra and Murudeshwar temple is one of the Pancha Kshetra of the state, and the four other being Dharmasthala, Nanjanagud, Gokarna and Dhareshwara.
The most noticing highlight of the temple is the mammoth statue of the Lord Shiva which has been built such that that the rays of the Sun first falls on the Shiva’s statue. This Shiva statue here at the temple Murudeshwar is the second largest statue of Lord Shiva, the largest being the Kailash Nath Mahadeva statue in Nepal.
Inside the main shrine of the temple is a Deep which is believed to be burning the way it burnt when the temple was built. In order to get blessing of the God for prosperity and good luck, people pour oil into the burning Deep and see their image into the oil.
The gigantic Gopuram at the entrance is believed to be the second tallest of all the Gopurams in the world and has a height of 237.5 feet while the tallest Gopuram is located at Srirangam temple in Tamilnadu.
HISTORY AND THE LEGEND ASSOCIATED
The temple itself has been named as per its significance, Murudeshwara refers to Shiva. The interesting story of the temple has been linked to the ear of Ramayana. As a result of the penance dedicated to the Atma Linga, Lord Shiva gave the power of invincibility and immortality to Hindu Gods. Consequently Ravana, the king of Lanka also tried wooing Lord Shiva by worshipping him so as to attain invincibility and immortality. When Lord Shiva appears before Ravana after looking at his devotion, and he asks Ravana to tell him, whatever he wants. Ravana then asks for Goddess parvathi and Lord thus gives Parvathi to Ravana.
On the way to Lanka, Narada muni deceits him into believing that the one who was with him was not Parvathi and the real Parvathi is in Pathala. Consequently Ravana went to Pathala and married a king’s daughter who believed was real Parvathi. After knowing that he has been fooled by Naryana, he again sits to meditate As a result of which Lord Shiva Appears. This time he asked Lord Shiva to bless him with the sacred Atma Linga and Shiva accepting his demand, gave him the Lingam but puts a condition before Ravana that if ever this Lingam will be kept on the ground all its powers will come back to Lord Shiva.
This made narada to realise that with Atma Linga in his hands, Ravana will create havoc on the earth by obtaining immortality and so he thought of approaching Lord Ganesha for help. While Ravana was on the way to Lanka, Lord Vishnu planned to remove the effect of the Sun’s light so as to make it appear as dusk which will compel Ravana to perform his evening rituals and he will have to put the Linga on the ground. While he was thinking of the curse of Atma Ling, a Brahmin boy approached him who was actually Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha had taken up the form so that he would put the Atma Linga on the ground while he goes for the evening rituals. Lord Ganesha’s plan worked and when Ravana returned he found the Linga on the ground. This made him furious and he understood about the plan and out of anger he tried destroying the Lingam. In the process he threw the case which was covering the Lingam to Sajjeshwara at a distance of 23 miles while the lid of the case he threw to Guneshwara and Dhareshwara situated at a distance of about 10-12 km. And the piece of cloth covering the Atma Lingam he threw to Mrideshwara which was later named as Murudeshwara.
Also, at Murudeshwara, saint Bhagirath awaits for Ganga to come on the earth from the hair lock of Lord Shiva.
BEST MONTH TO VISIT.
November to February
HOW TO REACH.
Nearest Road –165km from Mangalore and 455km from Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station –Murudeshwara station is only 2 km away from the temple.
By Air –the nearest airport from the temple is Mangalore International airport which is situated at a distance of about 165km from the temple.
Day Timing –Opens at 6am and closes at 8:30pm.
Lunch Timing –1 pm to 3 pm
Morning Puja –6:30am to 7:30 am
Afternoon Mahapuja –12:15 PM to 1 PM
Night Puja –7:15 PM to 8:15 PM
FESTIVALS CELEBRATED AT THE TEMPLE
Maha Shivaratri (February or March) and Karthik (November to December) Purnima is celebrated in the temple with full fervour and enthusiasm.
Nearby temples to Murudeshwara temple includes Sri Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna Idagunji Maha Ganapathi Temple and Kollur Mookambika Temple.
ampi is located in the Karnataka state of India. It is situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River, and is around 74 km away from Bellary, another tourist attraction around Hampi. It is recognized as the World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Hampi used to be an important part of Vijayanagara city (1343 – 1565), which was later ruined but this beautiful place commonly referred as the temple town still exists. It always remained a priority for different rulers because of its geographical location. It is covered by impregnable hills on three sides and Tungabhadra River flows on the fourth side making this place secure and also magnificent from the scenic point of view.
Paradise for wanderlust folks
Hampi is a house to many temples which makes it an important religious center. This place is worth visiting since it holds great significance archeologically and also architecturally. Moreover, it is wonderfully enclosed with lofty mountains and smoothly flowing River which adds up even more to its already present attractiveness. According to statistics, this is the most searched place on Google in Karnataka.
Tourist attraction in and around Hampi
There are many more sightseeing options in and around Hampi and those who pay a visit here quite surely visit the surrounding places also.
This temple was built in the 7th century and it was a small shrine back then but was developed later into a beautiful one by the Vijayanagra rulers who dedicated this to their Lord Virupaksha. For people living nearby, it serves as a center for their religious believes.
This temple is a dedication to Lord Vittala who was believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It came into existence in the 15th century and serves as a major attraction to tourists. There is a large stone chariot that reflects the architectural skills back then.
This Museum was established by the Archaeological Survey of India. When we talk about Hampi being a historical attraction, this Museum plays a vital role as it is a home to antiques and great sculptures. Most of the findings were carried on by British people and later in 1972, the antiques were shifted here.
This city is known for the largest single rock mountain in the world. It is 60 km away from Hampi and the second fastest growing city in Karnataka. Bellary fort is also a tourist attraction.
Before Hampi, Anegodi was the capital of the region. It is situated on the opposite bank of the river and is a farming village. The places to visit here are Anegodi fort, Chandramouliswara Temple Pampa Sarovar, and Bukka‘s aqueduct.
It is located 4km away from the heritage site and is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. There is a temple dedicated to him commonly called as the Monkey or the Hanuman temple.
It is situated at the southern part of the ruins. It is also a small village and famous for Ganigitti temple, Bhima’s Gateway and museum. This village also holds importance in history.
How to reach Hampi
Hampi can be easily reached by all the modes of transport thus, providing fine connectivity for the tourists.
There are two airports, nearest is in Hubli which is around 143 km away from Hampi and another one is in Belgaum which is around 720 km away. Tourist can easily fly on any of the airports. Cabs and taxies are available outside the airport that drops you to your destination.
This is the recommended mode to travel since Hospet Junction which is the nearest railway station is only 13 km away. There are many overnight trains available. Some of them are direct to Hospet Junction and there are other overnight trains available that will drop you to Hubli. Trains are cheaper and comfortable too. There are buses and rickshaw’s available outside the station to take you to Hampi.
There are daily buses available from Bangalore, Mysore and Gokarna to Hospet. From Hospet you can easily get a bus or cab to reach to Hampi. There are many private buses available that drops you to the village overnight. For those who wish to travel by car, pathway till Chitradurga is in excellent condition but the path from Chitradurga to Hospet is in hostile condition and must be avoided. For those who are traveling via Bangalore, the main highway from Bellary to Hiriyur is recommended.