Gokarna - Sri Mahabaleshwara Dev Temple
Sri Samasthana Mahabaleshwara Dev temple is simply called as Sri Mahabaleshwar temple. This temple is located in Karwar district, Gokarna. This is in the borders of north west Goa and overlooks the Arabian sea. <a href="/Gokarna-Sri-Mahabaleshwara-Temple" title="Click to view a local node." class="freelink freelink-path freelink-internal">Gokarna</a> is a temple town which means Cow’s ear. The story goes that Lord Shiva emerged from the Cow’s ear, which is Mother earth. This town is exactly located in the ear shaped confluence of two places – Gangavalli and Aghanashini, and hence the name.
Legend holds that this west coast was reclaimed from the sea due to the great sage Parasurama who threw his axe into the ocean creating a vast amount of land from Gokarna to the southernmost tip of India. According to Bhagawat purana, this place was the home of two bothers namely, Gokarna and Dhundhakari. This place became famous due to the association of Atma linga with Ravana. Stala purana states that Ravana obtained the Lingam from Shiva for installation in Lanka.
Lord Narada saw him carry the divine lingam to Lanka, and realized that Ravana would become invincible if he would take it to Lanka. Hence he prayed to Lord Vishnu who blotted out the sun. Ravana who was a devout bhakta of Shiva, stopped here for his prayers. But since the lingam was in his hands he was unable to perform the evening prayers.
But the boon had a condition that if the lingam was placed on the ground, then it would get stuck. Now Lord Ganesha came to the aid and suggested to Ravana that he would carry the Lingam in his hands, as Ravana offers his prayers. Ravana noting that Lord Ganesha looked pious and innocent, he gave the Lingam to Ganesha stating that in no condition should he place the Lingam on the ground. Lord Ganesha agreed to this, but said that he would keep the Lingam on the ground, if Ravana did not heed to his call for a third time.
When Ravana started offering his prayers, Lord Ganesha called out to him and subsequently placed the Lingam on the ground. Lord Vishnu removed the illusion of nightfall. Now Ravana opened his eyes and realized that he had been tricked. He became furious and thumped Lord Ganesha on his head and tried with force to remove the lingam from the ground, which however remained firmly embedded. Hence the cloth covering the lingam fell on Kandukagiri hill in Murudeshwara (54kms) and here it was worshipped as Aghora Lingam.