About the place – Murudeshwara (also called Mrudeshwar, Murudeshwar, Mrudeshwara) has a religious significance, supposedly from Ramayana times (I have heard of a somewhat similar story about Deoghar – don’t know which version to trust). A sylvan beach by the temple, some beach-side eateries, beach activities (boat ride, snorkelling, banana ride, diving, eating fish fry etc – no bikini beach tan though), an island (Netrani) and some shopping (items made of local root) pretty much sums up the place. Ans yes, the name ‘RN Sheety’ reverberates everywhere you go in this town. A good weekend getaway from Bangalore during Oct-Feb.
How did I arrive here – I planned for a trip to Gokarna, but included Murudeshwara in the eleventh hour. So, there was no scope for making amendments to bus tickets. Thus, landed in Gokarna, took a bus to Kumta and then to Murudeshwara. A big gate welcomed me on my arrival to this temple-beach town. Hired an auto (in INR 25 for 3 km) and reached the places of interest – Murudeshwara temple, Shiva statue, Gopura, Beach, hotels, eateries and local market.
Where I stayed – at RNS Guest House. It has several sea facing rooms (probbaly 55). I was lucky in the sense that my room was at one corner of the building which gave me two balconies – with a breathtaking view of the sea lashing at the rocks on one side, meeting the horizon at another side and kissing the fishermen’s huts at the third.
What did I see – Temple, Gopuram and Beach
Murudeshwara Temple sits atop Kanduka Hill and surrounded by sea on three sides. Photography and/or Videography is not allowed inside the temple. The verandah/porch of the temple presents an exquisite view of the sea and a good opportunity to you to shoot. At the entrance to the temple lies the giant Raja Gopuram – a good 20 stories tall (249 ft) and guarded by life-size concrete elephant pairs on either side. This Gopuram, like its class elsewhere, is rectangular with ground level wooden doors – which is entrance
to a temple. This is the only gopuram which has a lift and devotees can go right to the top (however, the lift was closed when I went there). It was built under the guidance of Tamil sculptor S K Achar who built “Vivekanada Rock” in Kanyakumari along with his sons Dakshinamurthy and Swaminathan and a big team of 500 Tanjore-based sculptors.
Wikipedia page on Murudeshwara suggests that there is a fort behind the temple. However, none of the people I asked (and I asked plenty of them) knew anything about the fort.
The Beach has visibly two parts – one flanked by the tourists (not large in numbers though) and the other visited by only those who want some ‘private’ space. The beach presents the best example of how the RN Sheety brand has marketed itself in this once sleepy hamlet. The beach is flanked by RNS creations – the Gopura, the statue of Lord Shiva, RNS Hotels (guest house and residencies) and eateries. On the beach, a good 500m from the temple, you’re on your own except for a few children of the local fishermen. While on a km walk on this stretch, I encountered a group of kids pushing a boat for a fisherman. Took a video and some shots of the boat, fisherman and the kids. Boat Ride is also available at the beach (INR 40 for a 20 min ride). The ride gives the view of the temple and the Shiva statue from the back. Watching the sun going down the horizon was resplendent.
What did I eat – Veg dinner and breakfast at Naveen Beach Restarant(excellent view of the beach while you eat), non veg lunch at Naveen Beach Resort (only place where you can ‘drink’) and ‘Bangda’ fish fry at a beach-side stall.
Take an evening bus from Bangalore to reach Murudeshwara early next morning. RNS group has a good portfolio of hotels where you can stay – RNS Guest House (08385-268990, INR 650) , RNS Residency (268901-03, INR 1100 onwards)and Naveen Beach Resort(260415, INR 1700 onwards). Visit the Temple and the Gopuram at the entrance. Take a walk at the beach, and if you want some privacy, move ahead by half a km from the temple. The spot near the Shiva statue will give you a good sight of the town – with its beach, hills, palm/coconut trees, eateries, boats and hotels in a single charming frame. Go for boat ride. And if you are an adventure enthusiast and are not constrained by pocket, go to Netrani Island – for snorkelling, diving, banana ride. For next day. move on to Kumta (for some sandalwood crafts shopping) or to Gokarna (for beaches and an ancient temple).