Mahabaleshwar Temple of Shiva Gokarna

Mahabaleshwar Temple in Gokarna is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination situated in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka State, India.  The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, where the  Atmalinga which is considered as a Paranalinga “Reality of God” is worshipped, facing the beach of Arabian Sea. Even a glimpse of the Shiva Linga at Gokarna is considered to bestow blessings. Mahabaleshwara Shiva Temple is considered as “Dashika Kasi” and holds the same significance as Kashi and Rameshwaram. It is also one of the seven scared and important “ Muktishetras or Mukthistala” (after the death of close relatives, Hindus perform final ritual for peace of the soul) in Karnataka. Mahabaleshwar name is illustrated from Ravanan, unable to lift the Linga from the ground, called “Mahabala” meaning “you are too strong”. The Lingam then formed into a crooked shape and a piece of the Lingam thrown away by Ravana, sanctified the Murudeshwar temple and is the principal deity.


Mahabaleshwar Temple is encircled with 5 feet high stone wall. The temple is divided into 2 - the inner room known as the God chamber and the outer room is the central hall. It is well-known among 7 Siddhi Kshetras. This place is also called Rudra Bhoomi. Goddess Uma is fondly called ‘Thaamira Gowri’ as she remains in the form of a river and marriage obstacles are removed by taking bath in this river and worship Lord Shiva. There is a man-made tank called Kotitheertha that is used for immersion of idols and ritual bathing.

Mahabaleshwar Temple of Shiva Gokarna Karnataka

Architecture

The temple built-in Dravidian architectural style, with granite stones. The Atmalinga enshrined on a “Square Saligrama Peetha” (pedestal) can only be seen from a small hole at the centre from where only the top of the Atmalinga is visible. Also there is an exquisitely carved stone image of Lord Shiva in standing posture which is 1500 years old. It is considered that any Shiva temple facing west is more auspicious and powerful. The temple here was set on fire by Portuguese commander in 1714, but the rangamantapa (theater hall) was later re-constructed. The temple also has a vast complex with 108 Thirthas and 108 Kshetra.

Festivals

Shivaratri festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm every year in the month of February. Festival is celebrated for 9 days attracting millions of pilgrims. Brahmotsav is celebrated on the 8th day of Mahashivaratri.  During this festival, Rathayathra is held with images of Shiva and other deities are installed and ceremoniously pulled through the town. There are 2 Rath (Chariots) made during this festival

Tripuradahana Festival is an enactment of Lord Shiva burning the three worlds celebrated during Karthika Pournami. Mahavadyam 14, Phalguni 2, Kruthika 15 are the 3 festivals where they erect 4 float-raft together and place Mahabaleshwar with Koteeswar vigrahas to perform float-utsav on the Kotitheertham. Ashtabandana Maha Kumbhabhishekam performed once in 12 years as Sastras mentions holy cleansing once in 12 years. Only during this auspicious day the devotees are allowed to have a full vision of Atmalinga.

Timings

Temple darshan timings are from 6.00 AM to 12.30 PM and evening from 5.00 PM to 8.30 PM.

How To Reach

Gokarna is well connected by Govt bus services and private services from Mangalore, Bangalore, Karwar and Goa.

Konkan Railway passes very close to Gokarna. Only passenger train stops at Gokarna Road 10 km away from main town. Express trains stop at Karwar (60 km), Kumta (23 km) and Ankola (25 km).

Panaji Airport in Goa is the nearest airport about 155 km from Gokarna.

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