Karkala is a peaceful little town of Karnataka. It is located in the Udupi district of the state, very close to the Western Ghats. The town formerly called Pandya Nagari during the Jain rule and then was rechristened as Karikallu then finally as Karkala. The word Karkala literally means Black Stone.
It is a lush green town located in the Western Ghats and is well known for a number of natural and historical landmarks. Karnataka offers bike hiring services in major cities like Bangalore and those who wish to go on a road trip to Karkala can get bikes on rent from Bangalore bike rentals and ride all the way to the town, feasting their eyes on the beautiful scenery on the sides of the boulevard.
The town is a famous pilgrimage site of the Jains and has about 18 Jain temples. The most famous temples are Chaturmukha Thirthankara Basadi, Hiriyangaddi Neminatha Basadi and Anekere Padmavathi Basadi. Another major attraction of the town is the 42 feet monolithic statue of Bhagawan Bahubali at Gommateshwara betta which is located at a distance of 1 km from the town. This is the second tallest statue of Karnataka and is highly revered by devotees. Devotees can pick up two-wheelers on rent in Bangalore and visit the town by road. Scooters on rent in Bangalore are also available for those who prefer scooters to bikes.
Mahamastakabhisheka statue is bathed and anointed every twelve years. The devotees come from all over the world to attend the ceremony and the he huge statue of Lord Gommateshwara is worshiped by pouring thousands of pots of milk, ghee, sandal, saffron, flowers etc. The statue was last anointed in 2014 and will now be anointed again in Feb. 2026.
Many sites of the town are under the care of Archeological Survey of India. The Padutirupathi temple dates back to 14th century when the Jain Bhairarasa Odeyars ruled Karkala. Another important site here is the St. Lawrence Shrine or Attur church, which was built in the 18th century when the Christians fled Tipu Sultan. The church is dedicated to St. Lawrence and is much revered by the Catholics in India.
Apart from historical monuments, Karkala also has a number of picturesque lakes which add to the beauty of the town and attract tourists along with pilgrims. Some of the most famous lakes of the town are Ramasamudra Lake, Kamala Kere, NagarBavi, Anekere, Sigadi Kere, Matadha Kere and Shivathi Kere lakes. The beautiful lakes are like mesmerizing and add to the beauty of the town ten-fold.
The small town of Karkala is a perfect blend of spirituality and scenic beauty, attracting thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all over the world. The festivities during the anointation of Mahamastakabhisheka are grand. People get a chance to connect with the divine and oneself in this peaceful town. Tourists can avail the facility provided by bike rentals in Bangalore that allow the riders to hire two-wheelers ranging from scooters to bikes. They also offer fancy bikes like Royal Enfield on rent in Bangalore to suit the needs of the stylish bikers.