On the city map of Mysore, draw two lines, one vertical and one horizontal through the center of the city (the palace). The right bottom quarter of the map is the greenest part of the city. Chamundi Hills is at the center of this quarter.
Chamundi Hills is the prime landmark of Mysore city, visible almost form anywhere in the city center. The hill has very close association with the founding of the city. In fact, the very name of Mysore is associated with the hill.
This time around when we visited Mysore, we chose to stay at “The Windflower” Resort – located at the foot hills of Chamundi. The best time to visit this wonderful temple is early morning when the first rays of sun grace the hills. I have visited this temple many times right from my childhood days and have seen the transformation that this place has gone through. The access roads have become much better, but the place has commercialized over the years and has lost a bit of the serenity that existed in the 80’s.
- Darshana and Pooja Timings: 7.30 AM to 2 PM; 3.30 PM to 6 PM and 7.30 PM to 9 PM
- Abhisheka Timings : 6 AM to 7.30 AM and 6 PM to 7.30 PM | Friday 5 AM to 6.30 AM.
- Dasoha (free meals) is arranged to devotees daily 12.30 PM to 2.30 PM
How to Reach the temple:
- If you have your own vehicle you can drive down to the temple. It takes around 30 minutes to reach from Mysore Bus stand.
- You can hire a cab – there are many local cabs that you can hire from the city
- The best way to reach Chamundi hills if you do not have your own vehicle is to take the bus services. KSRTC bus facilities are available every 20 minutes from Mysore city bus stand to Chamundi hill.
Note: Chamundi Hills are declared as NO PLASTIC ZONE. Devotees should not bring plastic carry bags and throw the plastic wastes in the hill area.
The Mythology around the temple
According to mythology, this was the domain of the demon called Mahishasura (the Buffalo Demon). A boon made Mahishasura so powerful that no man can kill him. Unable to stand his atrocities, people prayed to the goddess to save them from Mahishasura. Goddess Shakti, the personification of cosmic energy in the feminine form, took the avatar (form) of the fierce goddess Chamundeshwari. She killed the demon and saved the people. Because of this act the goddess is called Mahishasuramardhini, the slayer of demon Mahishasura. The hilltop is the place where her shrine is located. The mythology continues – according to some beliefs, the Chamundi hills is in-fact in the shape of the fallen demon !!
The history of the temple
The temple was roughly made around the 9th century AD. During those days, the hill was known as Mahabaladri, denoting the location of Mahabaleshwara (Shiva) temple, the most prominent temple of the time. The shrine of the consort, goddess Chamundeshwari, was located nearby. Later the Wodayar kings (the last dynasty to rule Mysore, before independence), treated goddess Chamundeshwari as the guardian deity of the royal family.
The road leading to the temple. You will find many small shops all along the pathway selling incense sticks and other items used in the temple.
The hill was renamed as Chamundi Betta (Chamundi Hills) during the 17th century. Also the small shrine of Chamundeshwari got expanded into an imposing temple, thanks to the royal patronage over the centuries. Obviously, the most important attraction is the temple of Chamundeshwari with its imposing Chola style tower. This temple is located at the highest point in the hill. Next to it are a few more (older) temples, notably, the Mahabaleshwara temple.
A little before the temple, close to the parking lot and the Chamundi bus stand is the brightly painted status of Mahishasura. For tourists, this is a must do place for a group photograph, Mahishasura included !! I was a 5 year old kid when we visited Chamundi temple for the first time and still remember clearly the photo that we took. Further down is the imposing statue of Nandi (Bull), the mount of Lord Shiva. This 5 meter tall (16 feet) Nandi of Mysore is the 3rd largest Nandi in India.
We usually spend a couple of hours at the temple and hand around for another hour or so absorbing the serene and divine atmosphere around the temple. It would be a good idea to block half a day during your trip to Mysore to visit the beautiful Chamundi Temple.
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