Karnataka is abundant with temples having miraculous powers and significant legends to back them up. It is, therefore, a common sight to see millions of faithful devotees eager to get a glimpse of the deities behind these awe-inspiring legends. The Chamundeshwari Temple at Mysuru is one such temple because of rich heritage. Here bring to you a few facts which might make you plan your visit to this temple right away!
A Royal Effort
Initially, the chamundeshwari temple was small, but over the past few centuries, as a result of the aids and development made by the Mysore Maharajas, it has become a big temple. The original shrine is thought to have been built in the 12th century by Hoysala rulers while its tower was probably built by the Vijayanagar rulers of the 17th century.
Saying no to sacrifices
In keeping with the times, there were certain rituals which adapted to the changing society. In the ancient times, human and animal sacrifices were often made at this chamundeshwari temple but were stopped in the 18th century.
Chamundeshwari temple is A Shakti Peetha
The Chamundeshwari Temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha and one among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas in the world. It is known as Krouncha Pitham as the region was known in Puranic times as Krouncha Puri. It is said that the hair of Sati Devi fell here.
A Thousand Steps
Proving your devotion is no simple task and neither is climbing a massive 3000 feet tall hill. In order to reach the chamundeshwari temple on top of the hill, a thousand steps were made for the devotees to climb all the way, in the year 1659.
The Art and Architecture
The architecture of the Chamundi temple has a quadrangular edifice constructed in accordance with the Dravidian style. It has the main door, an entrance, the Navranga Hall, the Antharala Mantapa, the Sanctum Sanctorum, and the Prakara. An enchanting seven-tier pyramidal tower is located at the entrance and a small tower can be seen on top of the sanctum sanctorum. Onto the tower at the entrance are placed seven golden urns.
House of Various Gods
The Gopuram of the temple has an image of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, on the silver-plated doorway. On stepping inside the temple, a small statue of Lord Ganesha can be found. After walking a few steps, a flagstaff of the Goddess, her footprints and a small statue of Nandi can be seen in front of the sanctum sanctorum. An image of Lord Hanuman can then be seen close to the holy chamber.
The twin Dikpalakas – Nandini and Kamalini are also present at the entrance. Before the sanctum sanctorum, a statue of Lord Bhairav, a manifestation of Lord Shiva, is also visible. The sanctum sanctorum houses a stone image of Durga in a seated pose. Legend has it that the image was enthroned by the immortal Rishi Markandeya. An image of Sri Chakra, which symbolizes the Great Goddess herself, is also worshipped in the temple.
The Nandi Statue
In the premises of the shrine, there is a statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Lord Shiva. It is a beautiful, gigantic, black granite statue of Nandi on the 800th step on the hill in front of a Shiva shrine situated quite close by. The statue is 15 feet high, 24 feet long and is seen wearing a garland of exquisite bells around its neck. This colossal Nandi is one of the largest in India!
The famous statue of Mahishasura
Before the temple of Chamundeshwari, a huge statue of the demon Mahishasura is located holding a sword and a serpent in his hands. It is said that after killing the demon, the Goddess resided atop the Chamundi Hills where she is worshiped till date with reverence and devotion. The goddess is also known as Mahishasura Mardini meaning She who slew Mahishasura.
The temple is famous for the celebrations of festivals like Aashada Shukravara, Navaratri and Ammanavara Vardhanthi. In the month of Ashadha, Fridays are considered particularly auspicious. Another festival celebrated during this month is Chamundi Jayanti. This day is celebrated on the anniversary of the consecration of the utsava Murthy of the goddess by the Maharaja of Mysore.
The most important festival that is celebrated here is Navaratri. Mysore Dasara is celebrated as the state festival of Karnataka, called Nadahabba in Kannada. During Navaratri, the Goddess is decorated in 9 different ways to depict nine different aspects of the goddess. On the 7th day of Navaratri, valuable jewels donated by Maharajas are brought from the District Treasury of Mysuru and offered to the Goddess Chamundi.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Chamundi Hills and the Chamundeshwari temple is at dawn. At 6 am from October to December, the view is amazing and the air is refreshing.
What are you waiting for? Make time for Mysuru. Get planning and get going!