Sri Chamundeshwari Temple is about 13 kms from Mysuru, which is a prominent city in the Indian state of Karnataka. Sri Chamundeshwari Temples is famous not only in India but also abroad. situated on top of the Chamundi hills is the famous temple of Sri Chamundeswari.
‘Chamundi’ or ‘Durga’ is the fierce form of ‘Shakti’. She is the slayer of demons, ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ and also ‘Mahishasura’, the buffalow-headed demon.
She is the tutelary deity of the royal family of Mysuru, the Mysuru Maharajas, and the presiding deity of Mysuru. For several centuries they have held the Goddess, Chamundeswari, in great reverence in India.
Lying on the western side is the shrine of Sri Chamundeshwari, one among the eight hills. In the earlier days, the hill was identified as ‘Mahabaladri’ in honour of the Hindu God Shiva who resides in the ‘Mahabaleswara Temple’. This is the oldest temple on these hills.
Goddess Chamundeshwari is believed to be an incarnation of Mothe Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A large number of devotees from all over the country and from abroad visit the temple every year. They believe that the Goddess fulfills their desires and aspirations.
Sri Chamundeshwari Temples rises to a height of 3,489 feet, and is visible from a distance itself while traveling towards Mysuru. There is a good motorable road to the top. Bus facilities are available to visit the hills. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular bus services every day for the convenience of pilgrims and others.
A temple of great antiquity with over 1,000 years in existence, it was a small shrine initially, and over the centuries has become a big temple as is seen today. It assumed significance after the Mysuru Maharajas, the Wodeyars, came to power in 1399 A.D. Great devotees and worshippers of the Devi, Chamundeswari became their family deity and thus assumed religious prominance.
The crowning glory of Mysuru, Sri Chamundeshwari Temples is an enchanting place surrounded by mesmerizing scenic beauty. In the forest, there are varieties of trees, birds and animals. While going up the hills, a bird’s eye view of Mysuru can be seen and several prominent places too can be spotted. It offers a spectacular view when the Palace and its surroundings are illuminated during the Dasara and other special occassions.
Some of the places that can be spotted from the hills are the Mysuru Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace, which houses the ITDC hotel, Dasara Exhibition grounds, Race Course, Kukkarahalli Lake, St. Philomena’s Church, and Krishnarajasagar at a distance.
Besides the Chamundi and the Mahabaleswara temples, there are a few more temples atop the hills. While proceeding towards the Chamundi Temple, the statue of ‘Mahishasura’ attracts the visitors. The ‘Chamundi Village’ is located close to the temple.
The temple is of a quadrangular structure. Built in Dravidian architectural style, it consists of the Main Doorway, Entrance, Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapa, Sanctum Sanctorum, and Prakara. There is a beautiful seven-tier Gopura at the entrance and a ‘Vimana’ (small tower) atop the Sanctum Sanctorum. Atop the ‘Shikara’, are seven golden ‘Kalashas’.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III repaired the shrine in 1827 A.D and built the present beautiful Gopuram. Blessed by the Goddess, Krishnaraja Wodeyar, an ardent devotee of the Mother Goddess, presented to the temple a ‘Simha-vahana’ (A lion-shaped vehicle) and other animal cars and valuable jewels. The cars are used even now for processions on special religious occasions.
The tower at the entrance has a small image of Lord Ganesha on the doorway. The doorway is silver-plated and has the images of the Goddess in different forms. On either side of the doorway are the images of ‘Dwarapalakas’ or door-keepers.