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Shri Mahabaleshwar temple enshrines the Aatma Lingam of Lord Shiva.  The legend is similar to Lord Ranganatha's prevention by Ganesha when Vibeeshana was taking the Vigraham to Sri Lanka.

Legend has it that King Ravana undergoes severe penance after learning about the (horn Linga) Prana Linga at this place - seeking boons to take the same to Sri Lanka to make his kingdom prosper and remain an unconquerable fortress.  After learning his plans, Triloka Sanchari Narada feels that if the Shivalinga is taken to the Island, Devas would lose power.  Narada visits Indraloka, narrates the consequences and pleads to Indra to prevent Ravana's mission at any cost. Indra, accompanied by Devas, at once reach Kailash, by which time, Ravana receives the Praana Lingam and embarks on his mission back to Sri Lanka with the gifted Shiva Lingam.  Lord Shiva, laid down a condition to Ravana that "this should not be kept on the ground until it reaches the destination and you should take it by a walk.  If grounded for any reasons, you cannot take it back again".  

Lord Vishnu - with an idea to grab the Shiva Linga, knowing that Ravana do not delay or postpone performing daily austerities of Sandhyavandanam (the evening prayers stipulated for a Brahmin), calls Lord Ganesha and tells him "you act as a bachelor and roam around Ravana wherever he goes.  Once Sandhyavanada time approaches, Ravana will give the Shiva Linga to you to hold it until he finishes his religious duty, at that time, you lay down  a condition saying "if i am not able to bear the pain of weight, I will call you 3 times and if you do not turnaround I will keep it down".  Lord Vishnu then places His Chakra (discus) between earth and space, thus making it like 'evening'.  Devas inject the power of three worlds on the Shiva Lingam.  Unable to bear the pain, Lord Ganesha shouts three time to Ravana.  As he did not turn up despite warning, He keeps down the Lingam which remains rooted to the ground.  Because of the force with which it was thrust, the Lingam goes down piercing through the seven underworld (sapthapaathala) and remains rooted strongly.  Devas rejoice. Ravana finishes His Sandhyavandanam and came to know about this Boy's act and got outraged.  He was furious by the Boy's act and tapped His head in anger.  He then laid down 20 hands and tried to remove the Lingam with all his force.  Unable to even shake an inch, he departs to Lanka in despair.  Devas summons Devachirpi - the Sculptor of Deva Loka and requestim him to build a temple around it.  Lord Ganesha dwells in standing posture.  Lord Shiva is called "Mahabaleshwar and Goddes Parvathi is called "Taamragawri and she runs in the form of river as well as remains partially in human form".  This holy place is called Dakshina Kashi and considered most sacred to Hindus and considered to be next in sanctity to Varanasi.


The legends retold here that due to the force thrust by Ravana, the Shivalingam stayed fixed and this action is said to have caused the Lingam to the shape of Cow's ear, thus earning the name Gokarna. Also this place is served as a womb for Sri Rudra, it is called Rudra Yoni and Aadi Gokarna.


Once upon a time, when Lord Brahma was in deep penance, there appeared a Lady from His right-hand.  She was blessed by Brahma that She would unite with Rudra soon.  She set out to meet Sri Rudra and came to know He was in Gokarna.  She went to Gosinga Hills (this is called Tamra Parvath), She descended here and begun Her penance with dedication.  Sri Rudran showed interest in knowing Her history and mission.  Brahma, at once, appeared in front of Him, narrated the story and conducted the marriage.  The marriage event place is called Vaivashika Parvath (Kalyana Giri).  Since She roamed in Tamra Parvath and Her name was Gowri, this place was name after "Tamra Gowri".  After the marriage, She appeared in both Human and River Form.  She dwelled east facing not far away from Lord Shiva.  She circumambulate Rudra Yoni and merge with sea near Pithrasthali.  Devotes take holy bathe in the river, performs enshrined respects to the departed souls, according to Puranas, this actlifts the departed souls from Hell to Heaven. Those who bathe and worship Lord Shiva on a Full Moon (Poornima) day, He/She is relieved of past sins.


  • Shivararthi festival for 9 days celebrated attracting millions of pilgrims and devotees 8th day ofMahashivaratri festival is Brahmotsav.

  • Tripuradahana - an enactment of Lord Shiva burning the three worlds is performed during  Kruthika Poornima (Karthigai Pournami). Devotees decorate their houses, light lamps and  draw "Rangoli" in front of their houses.

  • Kamadhenu Utsav - Chithirai 18 (Mesha Masam), Datheeshigo Utsav (Shravan 9), Seemollanga Manotsav (Ashvini 10), Ganga Vivaahotsav (Ashvini 14), Gowri Vivaahotsav (Vruschikam 1). All these three are very important festivals.

  • Big chariot is drawn during Shivarathri Brahmotsav while small chariot is drawn during First  Vishaka Amavasya, Mahavadyam 11 to 30, Ratha Sapthami days.

  • Mahavadyam 14, Phalguni 2, Kruthika 15 - during these 3 days, they erect four float-raft together and place Mahableshwar with Koteeswar Vigrahas and perform float-utsav on the Kotitheertham. On this festive occasion, devotees line up lip up lamps added with fire-works on the tank's banks.

  • Festivals for other deities are performed between 5th and 10th Kruthika month.  Besides this, upon the request of devotees, small-chariot is drawn sponsored by individuals.

  • Panchamrutha, Baalapanchamrutha, Ekadara, Rudra, Shatarudra, Maharudra, Athirudra, Vilva Archana, Koti Archana are conducted and allowed by temple authorities based on special request by visiting devotees.
  • Morning 6:00 am temple opens, closes at 12:30 noon Evening 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm
    For all temple rituals and other religious performance activities may contact : Administrator, Shri Samsthana Mahabala Deva, Gokarna, PO : Gokarna Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India - Email: and phone: +91-9449595208, temple Telephone: 08386-256167, 257167.   
    How to Reach and Where to Stay

    You can reach from Karwar : 60 kms, Kumata: 32 Kms, from Bangalore: 460 Kms, from Mangalore: 225 Kms, from Konkan Railway station 10 kms. To Book your train,

    Private buses also ply and details are as follows :-

    SRI KUMAR, Private Bus: 2+1 sleeper, 7.15 pm from Gokarna and reaching at Bangalore at 6.30 am - Ph: 9449710485
    SRL Travels, Lalbhag West Gate, RV Road, Bangalore : Ph: (080)26677142, (080)22975440
    Route: B'Lore, Shivmoga, Sagar, Honnavar, Kumta, Gokarna.

    VRL, 2+1 Sleeper, 7.30 pm from Jayanagara 9th Block, B'Lore (080)22971272 -
    VRL, 2+1 Sleeper, 7.15 pm from Gokarna
    VRL Travels, Rathbeedi Gokarna,

    You can also get direct buses to Gokarna from Ankola or Kumta or take tempos. Buses from Karwar at  7 am, 8 am and 4 pm available.  Direct bus from Goa (5 hours) availabel at 8 am.

    There is a direct bus leaving to Mangalore (about 253 km) at  7 am and from Bangalore and Mysore varieties of buses available. 

    TRAIN   book your ticket through internet----->

    Train services from various destinations - check and book now......



    Konkan Railway passes very close to Gokarna, Express trains do stop at Karwar, Kumta (23 km) and Ankola (25 km).  The passenger train stops at Gokarna Road (10 km).  Buses available from Gokarna at 11 am to meet the train going to Margao at 11.30 am.  Gokarna Road Station is 9 km from the town of Gokarna. 


    Gokarna International (088386 56622),

    on the main road, has modern rooms with hot water and a nice balcony for Rs 250/300 up to Rs 750 for an A/C deluxe room. It overlooks a palm tree grove. It is a good place. Checkout time up to 4 pm. Recommended. 

    OM LODGE (56445) has basic rooms with bath Rs.175 and A/c Rs.400

    KSTDC’s Hotel Samudra (TEL: 56236),

    On a hill overlooking the sea 2km from town, has clean rooms with bath for Rs 150 for a double and Rs 250 for a room with four beds.

    New Prasad Nilaya (56250, 57135), about half a 
    km from temple, is a modern place with clean rooms with bath for Rs.200 and 250.  Hot water available.


    PREMA - this is a decent pure Veg. eatable place, located across from the Main Shiva temple

    HOTEL PAI - Main Street has good, competitive vegetarian meals and Dosas/snacks.

    SHRI RAGHAVENDRA : Good veg. food

    HOTEL VINAYA : on the Main street, veg. food.

    VISHWA NIWAS : Recommended for breakfasts

    SHRI SHAKTI COLD DRINKS: Car street, near temple, Fresh Juice, homemade cheese, breads and cakes

    Places where you can eat
    Lodging Details