Chamundeshwari Temple – At the Top of the Chamundi Hills

Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore is one of the most revered and popular temples in the city of Mysore. Nestled at the top of the Chamundi Hills, the temple is devoted to Goddess Chamundeshwari (Chamundi) as the main deity. The historical significance, magnificent architecture, and natural bliss of the surrounding make Chamundeshwari Temple a must-visit while exploring Mysore.

Chamundeshwari Temple – A Quick Glance

Chamundeshwari Temple
Chamundeshwari Temple
Address: Chamundi Hills, Mysuru (Mysore) 570010, India

Timings: 7:30 am-2:00 pm, 3:30 pm-6:00 pm, 7:30 pm-9:00 pm

Visit duration: 1-2 hours

Famous for: Religious significance, Shakti Peetha

Main deity: Goddess Chamundeshwari

Entry fee: Free

Best time to visit: October during Dussehra

Chamundeshwari Temple – An Overview

The famous Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas and is among the holiest pilgrimage destinations in South India. Built at the top of the Chamundi Hills, the temple is with 1,008 stone-cut steps.

The main deity worshipped in the Chamundeshwari Temple is Goddess Chamundeshwari or the incarnation of Shiva’s consort, Parvati. The temple was initially constructed as a small shrine. However, under the patronage of the Mysuru Maharajas, it grew in size and ultimately stands as what it is currently.

The Architecture of Chamundeshwari Temple

The Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore is built in the Dravidian style of architecture featuring a structure in a quadrangular shape. The imposing entrance and the 7-tier gopuram are crowned with seven gold Kalashas. There is a Vimana (small tower) at the top of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, and a small image of Lord Ganesha is placed at the main entrance hall. The doorway, where Lord Ganesha is placed, is plated in silver and is covered with a number of images of different forms of the Goddess Chamundeshwari.

Within the Antharala or inner chambers, a 6-foot tall statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III stands along with the statues of his three wives. There is a big idol of the demon Mahishasura housed in the temple with a cobra in one hand and a sword in another.

A stone statue of the Goddess in a seated posture is placed in the sanctum sanctorum. She is portrayed with 8 arms and a beautifully adorned appearance.

Legend of the Chamundeshwari Temple

The Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore has several legends and mythological stories. Among them, the most popular one is about a buffalo demon named Mahishasura who lived in the area (hence the name Mysore). He prayed for years and asked for a boon which was granted by Lord Brahma that no man could kill him ever.

With this boon granted, he started to harass humans, demi-gods and gods across the universe. There was a loophole in the boon and all the Gods assembled in heaven to take shelter of Goddess Parvati to come to the rescue. She was bestowed with power and strength from different Gods to make her strong enough to fight the demon.

It was here where she took the form of Goddess Chamundeshwari and the battle lasted for 10 days before the demon Mahishasura was defeated. The victory over the evil was fêted and is still celebrated as the festival Dussehra all across the country.

The Dussehra fair at Mysore is one of its kinds and the biggest Dussehra fair in South Asia.

History of Chamundeshwari Temple

The background of the temple dates back to over 1,000 years, to say the least. Initially constructed as a simple and tiny shrine, the temple gained popularity due to the divine blessings of the Goddess Durga. The major significance and attention were received after the Maharajas of Mysore, the Wodeyars, came to power in 1399 AD. However, the credit of the major contributions for the temple construction goes to three different dynasties including Hoysala, Vijayanagar and Mysore rulers.

The original shrine within the temple was constructed back in the 12th century by the Hoysala rulers and the 1,008 steps that lead to the top were added as constructional expansion much later in the 17th century, precisely in 1659. The steps lead up to the 3,000-foot summit of the Chamundi Hill. The towers were also built by the Vijayanagar rulers of the 17th century.

 In 1827, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III repaired the steps and also added several jewels, vehicles and other embellishment and decorations in the temple that are used on special religious occasions in the present times.

Attractions near Chamundeshwari Temple

There are several other spectacular spots near the Chamundeshwari Temple. The major ones include Mahabaladri, Narayanaswamy temples and Mahishasura and Nandi Bull statues.

While climbing the Chamunda Hills, you can also spot the Lalitha Palace or the Lalithadri Palace which belongs to the Mysore royal family. It was used as a summer palace or for a short vacation whenever they visited the hills or climbed up to pray in the temple. Built on the hilltop, it offers an amazing aerial view of the entire Mysore city and beyond that. The milk-white Lalithadri Palace was constructed during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.

Chamundi Hills adorning the majestic Chamundeshwari Temple

Chamundi Hills is an imperial sight to behold the moment you enter Mysore. Standing at a height of about 3,489 feet above sea level, it can be viewed from all the corners of the city. Precisely, these hills stand about 800 feet above the Mysore city level.

The reference of the Chamundi Hills can be found in the ancient Hindu scriptures including the Skanda Purana. The names of the places like Trimuta Kshetra can be spotted in these literary works, which is surrounded by eight hills including Chamundi Hills as a major one.

In the ancient days, the hills were known as Mahabaladri named after the Mahabaleshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is among the oldest temples on the hills. Later, the hill was renamed as Chamundi Hills after the Goddess Chamundi.

How to reach Chamundeshwari Temple

Chamundi Hills is visible and prominent while travelling towards Mysore. The hills are 13 km (8 mi) away from the main city and can be easily accessible via road which is connected through Mysore as well as Nanjangud.

Tourists can avail bus services (frequently available), or may hire a taxi or a private car to reach atop. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) ply excellent bus services exclusively to reach the top of Chamundi Hills and it takes around 20 minutes (or less) from the Mysore main city.

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