Melukote is one of the holy and sacred pilgrimages of South India located in the Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district. Cheluvanaraya Swamy Temple is one of the iconic temples of Melkote. This place is rich with Natural & Environmental beauty attracting hundred & thousand’s of pilgrim’s every day. Every minute at the divine pilgrimage succumbs you to a sanctified, ambrosial, transcendental and a pure blissful aura around.
Cheluvanaraya Swamy Temple is one of the most important shrines of the Sri Vaishnavas, which was established by the Sri Vaishnava pontiff Sri Ramanujacharya. The temple is known as Dakshina Badri. It is said that one’s Badri Yatra is incomplete without visiting this place.
Cheluva Narayana is the name of the main, worshipped, processional deity here. It is said that Lord Krishna, Balarama and many other gods have worshipped this idol. Hence the deity is known by many names like ‘Ramapriya’, ’Thamar Uganda Thirumeni’ and ‘Chella Pillai’ – which means to say Lord is considered as the son of Ramanujacharya.
The propagator – Sri Ramanujacharya
The temple is an important Ramanujacharya Shrine. It follows Pancharatra Agama (one of the religious texts that describe practical and theoretical concepts) propagated by the Vaishnava Guru Sri Ramanujacharya. The Narayan idol was given powers by Ramanujacharya himself. The temple every year celebrates the Tiruvadirai Abhishekam to Lord Sri Ramanujacharya along with the Mahabhishekam to Narayanaswamy.
Pilgrims from all over India and abroad participate in the spectacularly magnificent utsavam – Vairamudi, which is the procession of Cheluva Narayanaswami’s idol adorned with a diamond crown. The main temple for the occasion is decked up in the most fascinating, charming and dazzling way you could ever think off.
Most popular Brahmotsavam’s are the Vairamudi (Diamond Studded Crown), Krishnarajamudi and Rajamudi. Also, you have numerous sevas offered to the lord like the Kalyanotsava,NagavalliMahotsava, Sreemanmaharathotsava, Teppotsavam, Dolotsavam, which are indeed a visual treat!. Being a part of this would immerse you in the ocean of devotion and souls sunk in the sublime divinity of ultimate Narayana.
Interesting stories of the Mudis’s (crown) obtained from Puranas and history say that Vairamudi, the diamond crown was brought by Lord Garuda himself to the Supreme Lord Narayana. Krishnarajamudi was given by Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Rajamudi was given by Raja Wodeyar. The temple owns another crown, which is believed to be older than the other two gifted gold crowns to the lord, by a person whose identity is not known. All three crowns are currently in the custody of the Government and are brought to the temple on special occasions.
Strange but true
Idol of a Muslim princess, Bibi Nachiyar, is found near the feet of the diety. Lord Narayana himself came in Ramanujacharya’s dreams and said that the idol is in the palace of the Muslim king who lived in Delhi. When Acharya travels all the way and does not find any, he prays and calls the lord saying “Shelvapillai Vaarum Enri” (Beautiful Perumal come) and idol comes from the Princess room and sits on Ramanujacharya’s lap. As the Princess was deeply in love with the idol, and couldn’t live without it, she rushed behind Acharya. But unfortunately, on the way back to Melkote, the princess died. Saddened Acharya feels she was very lucky enough to have died next to God. So he then places an idol of the princess at the feet of the Lord, which can be seen even today at Melukote.
The Puliyogare and Thuni Thengol are famous prasadams of the shrine. The prasadam here is phenomenal and hence popularly known as the ‘Melkote Puliyogare’ or the ‘Iyengar Puliyogare’ worldwide; as prepared by the Iyengar community who are the temple priests of the town.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is over 1000 years old. The carvings, the intricacy and the manifestation of the engravings on the temple are simply commendable. Every godly sculpture standing erect here holds high the ethics of Hinduism and prove being a piece of historical evidence to the generations to come.
The Temple is an ultimate masterpiece of crafstamanship when it comes to its sculptures and pillars built in the Dravidian Style of architecture. The temple architecture incorporates a large pond constructed near the foothills. Just next to the main steps of the temple is the very famous pond called the Pancha Kalyani. It is a pond built of stone and is in the shape of a stepped well which includes a huge mantap called the Bhuvaneshwari mantap. The main deity of the temple is placed in a square structured platform in the main sanctum of the temple.
Raja Wodeyar is said to have been one of the exceptional devotee of Cheluva Narayana. On one of the pillars of navaranga of the temple, there is a bas-relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar, standing with folded hands, with his name inscribed on the base. According to a legend, Raja Wodeyar was observed entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord on the day of his death and was seen no more thereafter.
The temple is richly endowed, having enjoyed the special patronage of the Rajas of Mysore, who then handed over the temple to the Brahmins at Melkote and the same traditions have been practiced to date. And from the lithic records of the period, the existence of Tamil influence and Vaishnava worship in the area are still evident. Hence, Melukote is a must visit to any religiously inclined devotee.
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