Mahabaleshwar Temple

History

Shri Samsthana Mahabaleshwara Deva temple enshrines the Atma Lingam of Lord Shiva is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the holy town of Gokarna is Situated on the west coast of India in North Karnataka or Uttara Kannada district, India. There is a legend, where Ravana's mother, a stalwart devotee of Lord Shiva, used to worship Shiva Linga to bring prosperity to her son. Indra, God of Heaven,  stole the Shiva Linga and threw it into the sea being jealous of the worship. So she went on a fast-unto-death to exhibit her displeasure. Seeing this, Ravana promised her mother that he would go to Mount Kailas-the abode of Lord Shiva-and bring her the main Atma Linga for worship. So Ravana did a severe penance in worship of Lord Shiva for the atma linga. When Lord Shiva offered a boon, Ravana requested for Atma Linga, being impresed by his penance Shiva took out the Atma Linga from his own heart and gave it to him but with a condition that it should not be placed on ground. Being a Brahmin Ravana wanted to offer his evening religious prayers, so he requested Ganesha, who appeared before him as a Brahmin boy to hold on to the Atmalinga till he returned with strict instructions not to place it on the ground under any circumstance. Ganesh said he would call his name three times if he cannot make it he would place the Linga down. Ganesha called out thrice rapidly for Ravana. However, Ravana could not make it within the specified time so Ganesha placed the Atmalinga on the ground, tricked Ravana and vanished from the scene with his cows. Ravana then chased the only cow, which was going underground. However, he managed to get hold of the cow's ear only, as the rest of cow's body had disappeared below ground. It is this ear now seen in a petrified form, which has given the name 'Gokarna' to the place, meaning "Cow's ear". Ravana, unable to extract the Atma Linga from the ground, so it is called Shiva Mahabala and hence the name Mahabaleshwar for the city. The deity here is about 1500 years old. The coastline of Gokarna is lined with beaches and hills which only add to the gorgeous specter that the city is. The temple has a small hole in the sanctum sanctorum from where devotees can see the top of the Atma Linga. 
 

Address

Koti Teertha Road, Kotiteertha, Gokarna, Karnataka 581326

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