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The Mahadev Temple Gokarna

The Mahadev Temple, Gokarna is located in the Indian State of Karnataka. Atmalinga or better known as Shiva Linga is the main deity in the temple facing the beach of the Arabian Sea. The Shiva Linga is considered to have immense power and whoever get the chance to view it, is blessed with lots of happiness. The temple is regarded as pious as the Shiva temple in Kashi and Varanasi, and therefore people often call it as South Kashi.

The temple is situated in the North Kannada District or Uttara Kannada on the west coast of India. The holy town of Gokarna has a green environment and the temple is close to the Arabian Sea on the shores of Karwar Coast. The temple town of Gokarna is close to national highway 17. This highway runs from Mumbai to Mangalore and runs parallel to the Western Ghats of India.

The story of this temple is linked with Ravana, the notorious king of Lanka. The name of the Gokarna town has also been linked to the notorious king. Ravana’s mother was a strong devotee of Lord Shiva, she used to worship Lord Shiva so he can shower happiness and prosperity on her son. Indra, the ruler of Heaven, did not like this idea and to break this habit he threw Shiva Linga into the sea.

When Ravana’s mother’s worship to Lord Shiva was interrupted, she went on a hunger strike. Ravana then promised his mother that he will bring the main Atmalinga. When Ravana was bringing the Atmalinga to the place where his mother can worship, he had an urgent call of nature, so he put the Shiva Linga down. It is this place where he had placed the Shiva Linga.

History and Architecture

The builders of the temple used the Dravidian architectural style. The Atmalinga is placed on a square platform made out of granite stone. Only the top portion of Atmalinga can be seen by devotees through a small hole in the center. An image of Lord Shiva carved out of stone is believed to be nearly 1500 years old. Lord Shiva is shown in a standing position in this image.

Religious Practices

Most of the devotees, who come here to offer their prayers, have to get their head shaved first, and then take a bath in the Arabian Sea. These people must be fasting at the time of coming here. Before going to Mahadev temple, devotees must first go to Shri Maha Ganpati Temple. After offering all the prayers, devotees come to the main spot and offer their prayers.

In the month of February, Shivaratri is being celebrated in this temple. Devotees turn up to this place in thousands of number. A Rathyatra is also taken out during this time. This procession starts from the Maha Ganpati Temple and circles the entire city and end at the main temple.

How to Reach

The national highway 17 that connects Mumbai to Mangalore is very near to the main temple. People, who want to come to this temple can simply take this highway and come from Mangalore, which is 252 Km from here. People who are coming by air can land at the nearest airport which is at Panaji, Goa approximately 150 km from Gokarna.

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