Faith Envy at Murdeshwar

 Shiva the Destroyer

Shiva the Destroyer

When I asked my European friends who also spend time in India about Murdeshwar, home to the second largest statue of Shiva in the world, I didn’t get the enthusiastic, excited reaction that I was expecting. Naturally, I recognize that we all see things differently and no matter what their response might be, I had to see it for myself.

My friends compared Murdeshwar to an Indian Disney Land mentality and complained that it was new and lacked the splendor of antiquity. I enjoy an outing and am not so critical. Feasting visually upon the second largest statue of Shiva in the world was enough for me to want to go there. My friends who hadn’t been there before and I got off to a late start. We were on Indian time and not in any particular hurry. After a few rickety bus rides we arrived at the junction that leads you to the temple town of Murdeshwar, which is one of the many names for Lord Shiva. This area is on a slope, surrounded on three sides by the magnificent Arabian Ocean in the state of Karnataka. The origins of this place is a complicated story mentioned in the Ramayana. I’m not sure that I completely follow what happened here but a piece of the covering of the precious and sacred, Atma-Linga, landed here, where the temple complex and statue now stand.

Raja Gopura

Raja Gopura

Tall was the theme. We arrived in the nick of time as the elevator to the top of this enormous tower was soon closing.  The views of both the all mighty Shiva, the Destroyer and the view of the sea in two directions were spectacular.

Beach Activity

Beach Activity


As fantastic as the views were and the Shiva statue impressive, it was the people who captivated my attention. When I studied my photographs from this day, there were very few of the statue and the surrounding buildings.

I love it when I am one of the sole foreigners around. My adrenaline starts pumping with eager anticipation and my eyes take it all in with pleasure.

Shiva Looks On

Shiva Looks On

The mood was a curious upbeat mix of holiday makers and the devout. No one is shy or subtle in the display of their faith, causing me to ponder my Western skepticism that always leads to faith envy.

In my next post I will share with you more of the people I photographed while visiting Murdeshwar, another remarkable and outstanding adventure in India.





About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
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6 Responses to Faith Envy at Murdeshwar

  1. Dr.V.Sridhar says:

    Being an Indian ,never had opportunity to visit these sacred places.Through your lovely photographs and narration ,I felt as if I am visiting the place. Appreciate your feelings inspite of being a foreigner and your thoughts on intensity & sincerity of different faiths.Thanks for this visual treat.

    • ninagrandiose says:

      I hope that you will have a chance to visit Murdeshwar one of these days. Over these many, long years, India has been so accepting and kind towards me that I very much want to repay this generosity of spirit in any way I can. In part, my blog is a tribute to India and my long standing love and admiration for Mother India. Thanks for your response.

  2. These are great pictures. Travelling around India is a wish I hope to fulfill soon!

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Oh, Mandeep, I do hope that your wish is fulfilled soon. It is a most rewarding experience. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  3. I think it’s interesting that many foreign visitors to a country are more positive towards the old than the new. It’s often like the want time to stand still, instead of enjoying the development as well, particularly in a country like India. I enjoy you photographs very much, and look forward to seeing the photos of people. 🙂

    • ninagrandiose says:

      I agree completely; we can’t hold back the hands of time and it is best to embrace it. At least India’s progress retains its own unique qualities. Thanks for your response.

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