Chamundeshwari Temple


Mysore derives its name from Mahishasurana ooru meaning Mahishasura’s village. The hills that guard the city are Chamundi Hills which are capped by the 11th-century temple of goddess Chamundeshwari- the deity of the Mysore Royal Family.

Goddess Chamundeshwari is a form of Durga and Goddess Kali. She is also described as ‘Mahishasura Mardini’ for having killed the buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. Approaching the top point of Chamunda Hill, one can see a huge statue of demon Mahinshasura springing into view.

A long and unending series of 1000 steps leads to the temple. In the midway of this attraction in Mysore, a 16-foot monolith of Nandi Bull, Lord Shiva’s mount, garners visitors attention.

It remains decorated with garlands of flowers bestowed on it by devotees. This revered place of worship is located 13 Km from the center of Mysore city, approximately 1000 metres above sea level.

Initially the temple was a small one, but over the past few centuries, as a result of the patronage and expansions made by the Mysore Maharajas it has become a big temple. In the olden days, human and animal sacrifices were regularly made at this temple, but were stopped in the 18th century.

The temple has a quadrangular structure. The Gopura or pyramidal tower at the entrance is intricately decorated in the Dravidian style and has a small statue of Lord Ganesha on the doorway. The doorway is silver-plated and has the images of Goddess in different forms on it.

As one passes through the main gate, on the right hand side is a small statue of Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles. Climb a few steps and there is a flagstaff, the footprints of the Goddess and a small statue of Nandi, facing the sanctum sanctorum.

In the sanctum sanctorum is the stone statue of the Goddess that is decorated everyday and is worshipped by a number of priests.

The Mysore Maharajas have made a number of valuable gifts to their family deity. In the room in front of the sanctum sanctorum, there is a beautiful 6-foot statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. He is standing with his hands folded in his religious clothes, with his three wives; their names are carved on the pedestals. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar repaired this temple in 1827 and built the enormous tower on it. He also gifted the temple with a large wooden chariot known as the Simha Vahana, which is now used during the Rathotsava or car festival.

On top of the sanctum sanctorum is a small tower or Vimana that can be seen from outside the temple. During the 10 daylong Dasara festival special prayers are offered to the Goddess. The Vedas are chanted in the temple and various music performances are held here. After Dasara, on the auspicious Ashwayuja Pournime, a Rathotsava or car festival is conducted during the Jathra or annual festival on top of the hill. This is followed by Theppotsava (floating festival) that is held in the night.

All these festivities attract devotees by the thousands.





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