Location: Mysore, Karnataka
Altitude: 1046 meters above the sea level
Chamundi hills are located about 13kms from the city of Mysore. The hill gets is name from Goddess Chamundeshwari, who is the patron deity of the Mysore royal family. The Goddess is enshrined in a temple located on the hill top, which can be reached either by road or by climbing 1000 steps from the base. Half-way up the hill is a gigantic 4.8 meters tall statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Lord Shiva. Also, close to the temple is a gigantic and colourful statue of Mahishasura, the demon King vanquished by the Goddess.
Legends and Mythology
According to a legend in Devi Purana, Mysore was rule by the buffalo-demon Mahishasura. Hence, the place was called Mahishuru (now Mysore), the city of the demon king Mahisha. Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva incarnated as Chamundi (also known as Mahishasuramardini) and killed the demon King on top of the hill. After killing Mahishasura, the Goddess resided on the hill top where she is worshipped even today with reverence and devotion.
Chamundi hill has a prominent influence on the ecology and the local climate of the city of Mysore. The hill also acts as a repository of biodiversity and serves as a watershed. The role of the hill in groundwater recharging was well recognized by the Maharajas of Mysore, who developed lakes (including Karanji Lake, Devikere Lake, Dalvoy lake and Lingambudhi Lake), tanks and ponds around the hill. These water bodies once served as the main water source to most of the villages around Chamundi.
But in recent times, the hill and its ecosystem have come under extreme pressure due to rapid urbanization and land encroachment. Many unauthorized structures, including large residential layouts have developed around the hill. This has greatly deteriorated the general environment of the city.