Jainism is a widely practised religion in Karkala. Hence one finds an abundance of Jain temples, signs and statues.
Karkala is famous for the statue of "Gommateshwara" also known as the "Gommata". This colossal statue is carved out of a single stone. At a height of 42 feet, it is the second tallest statue in the state of Karnataka the first being at "Shravanbelagola" in Hassan. The Gomateshwara statue is said to weigh around 80 tons.
This statue is situated atop a huge granite rock. One has to climb a few steps to get to the statue. The view is described to be one of the most magnificent. With the backdrop of picturesque lake Ramasamudra, the Gommateshwara statue stands out because of its mammoth structure.
It is believed that the statue was erected in the year 1432 AD by King "Veerapandya" who was then the reigning king.
Once in every 12 years, the festival of "Mahamastakabhisheka" takes place wherein this statue is bathed with Milk, Water, Saffron Paste and thereafter is sprinkled with "Sandalwood Powder", "Turmeric", and "Vermillion". People attend this festival in hoards. The upcoming "Mahamastakabhisheka" will take place in the year 2014.
Karkala is 40kms away from Udupi. Although a small town, it is well connected from Udupi and Mangalore.