Gokarna – the gorgeous beach town with incredible religious significance


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November 29th 2019
Published: November 29th 2019
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It dates back to the Treta Yuga – the age of Ramayana. Ravana was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and prayed to Shiva for several years for immortality and invincibility. Shiva being Bholenath (the one who is easy to please) blessed Ravana by giving him the Atma Linga (Soul of Shiva) with a condition that he must not place the Linga on the ground until he reaches Lanka. Ravana was elated and began his journey back to Lanka.

Seeing what happened, the Gods realized that if Ravana indeed became immortal and invincible, there would be no end to his atrocities and hence requested Lord Ganesha to help. Ganesha disguised himself as a young Brahmin boy and appeared in front of Ravana. At the same time, Lord Vishnu had blocked the sun’s rays with the help of his Sudharshan Chakra to make it appear like dusk was approaching. Since Ravana would preform his Brahmin rituals religiously, he realized that it was time for his evening prayers (Sandhya vandana). At the same time, Ganesha appeared in front of him and looking at the young Brahmin boy, Ravana asked him if he could hold the linga for him until he finished his prayers. Ravana told the boy that he must not keep the linga on the floor. Ganesha agreed but said that if he is not able to bear the weight, he would call out for Ravana thrice and if he did not return he would keep the linga down. When Ravana started performing the rituals, Ganesha called out softly to Ravana and left the linga on the ground and ran away. When Ravana returned, he was shocked to see the little boy missing and the linga on the ground. He tried to lift the linga but in vain- the linga could not be moved and sat still. Ravana then tried to apply all his strength but that ended in the linga shattering into smaller pieces. Ravana flung the lid, covering, casket and cloth in rage and it landed in 4 different places. Each of these turned to lingas when they landed on earth. These 4 places are located around 1-2 hours from the Atma linga (Mahabaleshwar Gokarna temple) – and these 5 places are together known as the Pancha Kshethras!


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