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Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysuru

Sri Anjaneya Swamy of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple
Chamundi Hills, Mysuru

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Rajagopuram of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysuru. The place known popularly as ‘Mysore’ is officially renamed as Mysuru. This is the third largest city in the state of Karnataka. It was the capital of erstwhile Mysore State. It is located in the foothills of the Chamundi Hills about hundred fifty kilo meters southwest of the present state capital Bangalore. The city is more popularly known for its cultural activities and celebrated as the cultural capital of the State.

The name Mysore is corrupt form of “Mahishuru”. This place was once ruled by the demon Mahishasura. Maa Sri Chamundeshwari whose abode is Chamundi hills slay the demon and brought him under Her feet. Since this place was ruled by Mahishasura it is called ‘Mahishapura’, latter it became ‘Mahisuru’. Even now Royal family of Mysore uses the name ‘Mahisuru’.

It is interesting to note that the abode of Maa Sri Chamundeshwari is called ‘Chamundi Hills’ and the city called ‘Mahisuru’ is in the foot of Chamundi hills.

Wodeyars of Mysuru

The Wodeyar dynasty was founded as a feudatory principality in 1399, which grew into the Kingdom of Mysore. The Wodeyars ruled that kingdom almost uninterruptedly between 1399 and 1947; they ruled initially as representative of the Vijayanagara Empire (1399–1565), then as independent rulers (1565–1761), then as puppet rulers under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan (1761–1796) and finally as allies of the British crown (1799–1947). The Wodeyars of Mysore is the only Indian Royal family in the 5000-year-history of India to have ruled a kingdom for more than 500 years.

Chamundi and Chamundi hill

Chamundi Hill is about thirteen kilo meters from Mysuru. Atop Chamundi Hills the famous Sri Chamundeswari Temple is located. ‘Chamundi’ or ‘Durga’ is the fierce form of ‘Shakti’. She is the slayer of demons, ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ and also ‘Mahishasura’, the buffalo-headed demon.

She is the Kula devatha [patron deity] of the Mysore Maharajas and the presiding deity of Mysore. For several centuries they have held the Goddess Chamundeshwari, in great reverence.

Kula Devatha and other Deities of Mysuru

For Mysuru Wodeyars Maa Chamundeswari is the kula devatha – family deity. As is the practice of the Vijayanagara Samrajya Sri Hanuman is the protection or a guardian deity of the territory. Even before Wodeyars came here the locals were worshiping Sri Ganesha as the deity who removes all obstructions. Therefore it is no wonder that all these three deity had gained importance in worship during the rule of Wodeyars.

Sri Chamundeswari Temple at Hills

statue of Mahishasura, Chamundi Hills, Mysuru. Chamundi Hills which is about 3500 feet MSl is the abode of Sri Chamundeswari. The hill and the temple look glories from Mysuru and make a picture perfect scene. The spectacular scene is that the temple is the jewel of the hill and hill is the jewel of Mysuru.

Temple for the Goddess is very old and initially it was a small shrine. After Wodeyars had come to rule with Mysuru as the capital, the native temple got all the attention of the rulers. As they adopted the deity as their ‘kula devata’, the importance shown by the Wodeyars towards the temple had increased many folds.

Apart from the Chamundeswari temple there are a few more temples atop the hills like Mahabaleswara temples. The monolith statues of ‘Nandi’ and that of ‘Mahishasura’ are also an important spots for the devotees. The ‘Chamundi Village’ is located close to the temple.

The main temple

The main temple which is very ancient had under gone lot of improvement in thousand years. All the rulers had contributed towards development of the temple premises. Most importantly the work done by Krishna raja Wodeyar III for this temple is great. He built a mammoth seven tired rajagopuram with seven golden kalasam for the temple and contributed jewels and chariots for the Goddess.

The temple is of a quadrangular structure. It consists of the Main Doorway, Entrance, Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapa, Sanctum Sanctorum, and Prakara. Cupola [Vimanam] atop the Garbhagraham with golden kalasam is very attractive.

As one enters the compound of the temple queue will move along the compound wall. On the right side one could see one of the three ‘sampige’ trees in the courtyard of the temple. They are nearly two hundred years old and their roots are watered by the daily offerings poured over the Goddess. They have never failed to give flowers every day of every year, since time immemorial. They have given at least two flowers - one for local worship, and the other for a Mysore palace shrine, sent by a special envoy.

The queue turns to right for entering the main temple complex to have dharshan of Sri Chamundeswari. On the left side on the compound wall one could see a statue of Sri Anjaneya.

After having dharshan of Sri Chamundeswari and when circumambulation [pradhashanam] of the temple is made, prayer could be offered to Sri Anjaneya before exit from the complex.

Sri Anjaneya sannathi of this kshetra

It is the practice to offer prayer to Sri Ganesha first and Sri Anjaneya last. Here also one would offer their prayers to Sri Ganesha, then Sri Bairava, then Sri Chamundeswari in the main temple. And after exit from the main temple make circumambulation of the temple. Before final exit from the complex offer prayers to Sri Anjaneya which is embedded in the compound wall itself.

Why Sri Anjaneya sannathi for this Devi kshetra

Sri Anjaneya Swamy of Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, Chamundi Hills, Mysuru. It is said that Sri Anjaneya had been installed here in 1827 when Krishna raja Wodeyar III had built mammoth seven tired rajagopuram with seven golden kalasam atop for this temple. There was a reason for the same. It is said that around 1600 S ri Raja Wodeyar I intended to build a gopuram and for that purpose erected four large pillars, or door-posts here. For reasons better known the Lord he could not go further. Therefore when Sri Krishna Raja Wodeyar III wanted to build a rajagopuram he had them removed and also installed Sri Anjaneya abetting the main rajagopuram for protection of this kshetra.

Sri Anjaneya at Chamundeswari Temple

The main deity of this kshetra Sri Chamundeswari who is the tutelary of Mysuru and its ruler is south facing. The Sri Anjaneya who is the guardian of this kshetra is facing north. Lord Sri Anjaneya is housed in a decorative niche. The housing had been decorated as a mandapam.

Lord Sri Anjaneya Swamy of this kshetra is about four feet tall made of hard granite stone. He is in a walking posture and the carving is of ‘ardha shila’ type. Lord is seen walking eastward with His left lotus foot in the front. His both feet adorns nupuram and thandai. His right lotus foot is seen slightly raised from the ground. Lord is wearing kaupeenam and holds a small knife in the hip. His left hand adorning keauram in upper arm and bracelet in fore-arm is seen resting on the left hip. In this hand He is holding the stem of sowgandika flower. The flower which is in full blossom is seen above His left shoulder. He is wearing three malas as ornaments, one of which has a pendent adorns His bosom. With His raised other hand He showers blessings on His devotees. The tail of the Lord rises above His head, end of which is adorned with a small beautiful bell. Lord is wearing ear-studs which are touching His shoulders. Small crown adorns His head. His eyes are glowing and emitting karunya on the devotee. With such bright radiant eyes Lord of the kshetra is a figure that mesmerises the devotee.



Savior and protector of this kshetra and destroyer of evil “dasagrivakulaantakaayan” is waiting to wan away our bad and negative thoughts and bestow great sprit of goodness on us. Let us get revitalised after dharshan of Lord here.


Ed [January 2018]



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