Malai Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills (as it is also known) is located in the Kollegal Taluq of Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka, at an attitude of 3000 feet. It lies at a distance of 210 km from Bangalore and 140 km from Mysore. There are about 77 hills around the Eastern Ghats near MM Hills.
On the North East of MM Hills flows the river Kaveri and the river Palar flows to the South.
Male Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills – Overview
The Sri Mahadeshwara temple located on the Malai Mahadeshwara Hills is very famous. It attracts pilgrims from all over South India. This temple is specially linked with Saint Mahadeshwara who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. There are several legends associated with Saint Mahadeshwara and his deeds are sung as an epic by the local villagers.
The region of MM Hills, apart from being a pilgrimage center, is also a nature reserve. It is a dense forest surrounded by the Kaveri and Palar Rivers.
Male Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills – Mythology
It is believed by the local tribals and villagers that Saint Mahadeshwara was an incarnation of Lord Shiva who came down to earth to destroy an evil king, Shravanasura. He is believed to have performed many miracles and he rode on a tiger. His legend is recounted as an epic in seven parts by the locals in the Janapada folk style. The story bears a resemblance to the ancient Indian Epic Ramayana.
Malai Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills – Mythology
Historically, Saint Mahadeshwara is believed to have lived in the 15th century. It is believed that he came here to perform meditation. People believe he is still continuing his Tapas inside the temple in the form of a Linga.
The Janapada singers of his legend belong to the Kuruba community. The singers are known as ‘Devara Gudda’ or God’s children. Also as ‘Kamsaleyavaru’ as they keep time with the bronze cymbals known as Kamsale. They are initiated into the art form when very young and are expected to lead a disciplined life.
The temple owns a major portion of the surrounding land and also owns lands in neighboring villages. The temple itself was built by a rich landlord of the Kuruba tribe, Junje Gowda.
Poojas at the Temple First Pooja: 5.30 am Rudrabhisheka: 6.00 am to 8.00 am and 10.30 to 12 noon. Archana: 6.30 pm and 8.00 pm.
Sankashta Chathurti Poojas are performed on New Moon and Full Moon day of every month. Deepavali and Maha Shivaratri are very famous here.
For devotees and pilgrims there is Dasoha Bhavana, where Anna Dana (free food) offered through out the year. One can find accommodation and lodging at guest houses at MM Hills. There are many temples and shrines nearby MM Hills.
How to Get to Male Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills
Male Mahadeshwara Hills is a famous tourist spot, and it is well connected through bus routes. There is frequent bus service from Mysore, which is well connected by rail to the rest of India.
Male Mahadeshwara Betta or MM Hills – Facts
The Malai Mahadeshwara forest reserve has an area of approximately 39361.45 ha. It is rich in wildlife and houses species like the Indian Bison, sambhar, spotted deer, sloth bears, leopards, wild dogs and even a few tigers.
The dense forests, mainly deciduous variety, are famous for its sandalwood and bamboo trees. Rightly, the forest is a host for more than 2500 elephants (pachyderms love to feed on bamboo shoots).
This makes it an attractive destination for tourists and nature lovers too, apart from pilgrims.