Temple: Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is in Melukote town, Mandya district in Karnataka.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple – Overview
The Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple is a famous temple that has more religious than architectural significance. Also known as Thirunarayanapura, it is located on top of the rocky Yadugiri hills. This shrine is very ancient, though the temple complex is just around 1000 years old. This temple is a Vaishnava shrine, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This is an important pilgrimage site, especially for those belonging to the Sri Vaishnava community.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple – History and Mythology
This temple is very ancient. According to tradition, Lord Rama himself came here with his son Kusha and worshiped Lord Narayana here. For this reason, the processional idol, Sampath Kumara, is also known as Ramapriya. The main deity of the Shrine is Thirunarayana or Cheluvanarayana Swamy. The Devi in this temple is known as Yadugiri Nachiyar.
Sri Ramanuja, the great Vaishnava Acharya, stayed in Melkote for 12 years, and gained many followers, including the Hoysala King, Vishnuvardhana. During this time, the processional idol of this temple had been lost for some time. Realizing that the idol was in the possession of the Muslim emperor in Delhi, Muhammed Shah, Sri Ramanuja decided to go there and get it back.
Muhammed Shah was greatly impressed by the saint and granted him permission to take it back. So, the idol came back to Melkote. This temple has been revered and worshipped by several succeeding dynasties, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara kings and the Mysore Maharaja. They have all made contributions to the temple in terms of grants, jewels, funds for temple maintenance etc.
The daughter of Muhammed Shah, a young girl, was playing with the idol, as a toy. She was so attached to the idol that when Sri Ramanuja took it back, she followed him, unable to bear separation from her beloved doll. When she reached the temple at Yadugiri and saw the idol installed there, she collapsed in front of it and breathed her last. Sri Ramanuja moved by her unconscious Bhakthi in being so involved with the idol of Nayarana had an idol of her installed at the temple. Even today she is worshipped along with the main deities as Bibi Nachiyar. Her figure can be seen at the foot of the main idol and also beside her beloved SSampath Kumara, the processional idol.
How to Get to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Melkote is just around 150 km from Bangalore and 50 km from Mysore. As the temple is a prominent pilgrimage center, it is well connected by bus routes. A special time to visit would be during the Vairamudi Seva during March-April.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple – Facts
- The most famous festival here is the Vairamudi Seva during the month of March-April, the processional idol, Selva Pillai or Sampath Kumara is taken out in procession wearing a Diamond Crown.
- This temple has an idol of Sri Ramanuja, one that he himself is believed to have created.