Mahabaleshwara Temple

Top choice in Gokarna

This is a profoundly spiritual temple, built of granite by Mayurasharma of the Kadamba dynasty and said to date to the 4th century. It's dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindus believe it brings blessings to pilgrims who even glimpse it, and rituals are performed for the deceased. A gopuram (gateway tower) dominates the complex, while inside a stone statue of Nandi (Shiva's bull) faces the inner chamber, home to Shiva's lingam. Foreigners may enter the complex but not the inner sanctum.

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