Nestled in a tiny and remote village of Gokarna, is the famous Mahabaleshwara temple which enshrines the Atmalingam which Ravana acquired from Kailash. Gokarana is in Northern Karnataka and one would find a number of idyllic beaches around the temple . The beach very near to the temple resembles Cow's (Go) ears (karna) hence the name for this place is Gokarna.Cows are worshipped here and they move freely inside and outside the temple. The temple is 1500 years old. It is also one of the mukti sthalas in Karnataka dedicated to Lord Siva.
There is a huge Ganesha idol here, outside the main temple of Mahabaleshwara. The idol has a deep cut on the forhead. The legend of the temple is similar to the one I have narrated earlier like the Vinayagar at Rock fort temple,Trichy. Here also it is believed that Ravana , instead of Vibeeshana in the other story ,wanted to take the idol of Siva to his kingdom . As the Gods wanted to prevent it ,Ganesha came in the form of a small boy and when Ravana wanted to perform his evening prayers, he handed it over to Ganesha instructing him not to keep it on the ground but hold it in his hands. Ganesha, who was there on a mission duly kept it on the ground and the Sivalinga got rooted to that place.When Ravana returned he was furious and hit Ganesha, a cut appeared on His forehead. It is still visible even today
The Sivalinga here remains concealed in the ground and devotees are allowed to worship the Sivalinga and one can feel the tip of the Lingam by one's hand and offer worship. Once in 40 years only the Sivalingam gets exposed when the Kumbabhishekam is performed.The Amman has a separate sannidhi inside the main temple.
Here one could see the tribal women selling flowers for worship and I really got fascinated by their costume known as ghetti and I could also see some magnificent craft work made of palm fibre. The last two pictures depict this.
|Gokarna can be reached by bus from Karwar (60 km). The nearest railhead is at Kumta, 32 km away.|
Gokarna is 290 Kms.from Mangalore and from Goa it is 160 Kms.
There are good hotels in Karvar and some resorts in Gokarna itself.