India 21 January: Karnataka, Murdeshwar - Karnataka, Kinnigoli

Peace Run India - Karnataka

Our morning started at the sacred town of Murdeshwar.

Murdeshwar is another name of Hindu god Shiva and has the world's second-tallest (123 feet) statue of Shiva. Underneath this statue there is a museum with statues that describes a mythological story linked to this town. The story goes like this...

The Lanka King Ravana wanted to attain immortality by obtaining the Atma-Linga (Soul of Shiva). Since the Atma-Linga belonged to Lord Shiva, Ravana worshipped Shiva with devotion.

Pleased by his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. Ravana asked for the Atma-Linga. Lord Shiva agreed to give him the boon on the condition that it should never be placed on the ground before he reaches Lanka. If the Atma-Linga was ever placed on the ground, it would be impossible to move it. Having obtained his boon, Ravana started back on his journey to Lanka.

Narada, who came to know of this incident, realised that with the Atma-Linga, Ravana may obtain immortality and wreak havoc on earth. He approached Lord Ganesh and requested him to prevent the Atma-Linga from reaching Lanka. Lord Ganesh knew that Ravana was a very devoted person who performed prayer rituals every evening without fail. He decided to make use of this fact and came up with a plan to confiscate the Atma-Linga from Ravana.

As Ravana was nearing Gokarna, Lord Vishnu blotted out the sun to give the appearance of dusk. Ravana now had to perform his evening rituals but was worried because with the Atma-Linga in his hands, he would not be able to do his rituals. At this time, Lord Ganesh in the disguise of a Brahmin boy accosted him. Ravana requested him to hold the Atma-Linga until he performed his rituals, and asked him not to place it on the ground. Ganesh struck a deal with him saying that he would call Ravana thrice, and if Ravana did not return within that time, he would place the Atma-Linga on the ground.

Ravana returned to find that Ganesh had already placed the Atma-Linga on the ground. Vishnu then removed his illusion and it was daylight again.

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. Among them he threw the cloth covering the Atma-Linga to a place called Mrideshwar in Kanduka-Giri (Kanduka Hill).

Mrideshwar has been renamed to Murdeshwar.

Those who knows Mahabharata (India's famous epic) would know this statue. It depicts the scene when Lord Krishna recited the verses of Gita to Arjuna.

This is called Dosa, South India's famous breakfast meal.

The roof of this temple made up of pure gold.

This is a 20 storied temple built on the Kanduka Hill which is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Arabian Sea. It is dedicated to Shiva.

Local tourists dressed in traditional south Indian dress.

We then travlled to a nearby town called Kollur and visited another ashram called Dharmapeeth.

This was a unique place build by Sri Tathata for Meditation. In ancient times many sages meditated in this area.

The local priest blesses the torch.

and many volunteers held the torch.

Many western devotees were present and were very keen to know about the Peace Run.

Finally there was some French connection. For the rest of the day we travelled towards Mangalore and arrived at Devdas ashram at Kinnigoli for the night.