Town: Chamundi Hills
Temple: Chamundi temple
The Chamundi Temple is on the Chamundi Hills, Mysore district, Karnataka.
The Chamundi or Chamundeshwari Temple is one of the most famous temples in Karnataka. It is a 1000 year old temple dedicated to Devi Chamundeshwari, a form of Durga or Devi Parvati. Located on top of the 3000 ft high Chamundi Hill, this temple is one of the most prominent
landmarks of Mysore. The temple can be reached by a flight of a 100 steps or by road.
Chamundi Temple – History
This ancient temple is thought to have been built around the 12th century by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. The shrine might probably be even older. This temple has been added to and extended by other dynasties, like the Vijayanagara and Mysore Maharajas. Chamundeshwari being the family deity of the Mysore Maharajas, they have expanded the temple and made several other contributions to it. Maharaja Dodda Devaraja set up a flight of 1000 steps up to the top of the hill.
Chamraja Wodeyar IV is said to have worshipped here in 1573. It is believed that he was saved from a lightning hit miraculously owing to the blessing of the Goddess. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar II built the huge Gopuram, the Temple Tower and presented the Nakshatramalika jewel with sanskrit verses inscribed on it.
Chamundi Temple – Mythology
The story of Devi Chamundi is narrated in Markandeya Purana. There were two Asura brothers, Sumba and Nisumba, who, strengthened by the boons received through severe penance, began to harass the Devas and the people of the earth.
The Devas prayed to Devi Parvati, who took the form of a beautiful young maiden and came down to Earth. The Asura brothers were smitten by her beauty and sent emissaries to try and entice her to come to them. When this failed, they tried force. But the young maiden killed the generals sent by the Asuras. Two of the generals were named Sandan and Mundan.
The Goddess took the ferocious Warrior form of Kali and destroyed them. As she killed Sandan and Mundan, she was called Samundi or Samundeshwari. Later this became Chamundi or Chamundeshwari.
Mahishasura Mardhini the one who vanquished the demon Mahishasura, Chamundeeswari, or Durga is the fierce form of Shakti. A colorful gigantic image of the demon, Mahishasura greets visitors as they reach the summit of the hill. During the reign of Dodda Devaraja, this statue was built, along with the steps leading up the hill.
Nandi On Chamundi Hills
Lord Shiva’s Bull, a monolith is found at the 800th step on the hill. It is over 15feet high and 24 feet long. One can find several idols of Nandi nearby. There are many shrines dedicated to Shiva Mahabaleshwar and Lakshmi Narayana.
During the Dasara festival, on Vijayadashami, the Jumboo Savari, traditional Dasara procession goes onto the streets of Mysore city. Idol of the Goddess Chamundeshwari which is placed on a Golden mantapa, on the top of a decorated elephant. Balarama, the elephant has been performing this great venture from the past 9 years.
The Goddess Chamundeshwari is worshipped by the royal couple and other invitees. The summit of the Chamundi hills offers a panoramic view of Mysore’s landmarks like the race course, the Lalitha Mahal palace, Mysore Palace, Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes.
Chamundi Temple- Architecture
The temple is set on top of the Chamundi Hill. You can climb up a flight of 1000 steps or drive up a hill road. When you reach about halfway up the hill, you will come across a small Shiva Temple. The prominent feature of this temple is the huge 15 foot Nandi with beautiful necklace of bells on his neck. When you reach the summit, you will be greeted by the fierce figure of Mahishasura, another demon who was destroyed by the Goddess Durga. Then you will be greeted by the imposing temple tower. The Chamundi Temple is built on a square plan, with a Dravidian Gopuram.
This tower is decorated with beautiful sculptures. There is a statue of Lord Ganesha over the doorway. The silver plated doorway is decorated with various forms of the Goddess. The doorway leads to a mukha mandapa and a Navaranga. The Antarala mandapa has an idol of Ganesha on one side and Bhairava, a form of Lord Shiva on the other side. There is a statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar with his three wives here. The Sanctum has a beautiful eight-armed idol of Devi Chamundi in a seated posture.
How to Get to Chamundi Temple
Chamundi Hills is just 12 kms from Mysore city. You can get a bus from Mysore. Special times to visit are during Dussera celebrations and after Dussera during the Annual Rathotsava.