Chamundeshwari Temple of Mysore is a landmark of the temple architecture of Karnataka. You can get a sight of the Chamundeshwari Temple from a distance as the Chamunda hills rise to a height of 3489 feet. Located in close proximity to the Mysore Palace, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari, also known as Goddess Durga. Goddess Chamundeshwari, the fierce incarnation of Shakti is the deity of the Mysore kings for hundreds of years.
The Chamundeshwari Temple is considered one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas and is known by the name of Krouncha Pitham; Shakti Peethas refer to the sites on which the body parts of Goddess Sati fell when Lord Shiva was carrying her and wandering through different places in deep morose. It is believed that the hair of Goddess Sati fell at the site where the Chamundeshwari Temple has been constructed. It is named after the name of the place; the site was known as Krouncha Puri during the Puranic times. The deity is seated on a lion with a trident in her hand, which is pierced into the demon Mahisasura. The buffalo lies in the body of the asur.
The Chamundeshwari Temple was built during the Hoysala rule in the 12th century. The temple is enormous and there are 1000 steps to reach the hilltop to the temple. The Chamundeshwari Temple comes with a seven-storied Gopura. The interiors of the sanctum are spectacular with numerous intricate carvings. While the statue of Goddess Chamundeshwari is said to be made of gold, the entrance gates are made of silver. The Chamundeshwari Temple is a quadrangle structure, built in the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple can be segregated into different parts, like the doorways, Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapa and Prakara. The Gopura consists of a small tower, known as Vimana while the Shikaras come with glittering golden Kalashas. The inside of the entrances of the Chamundeshwari Temple is adorned with images of Lord Ganesha, while the images of Dwarpalakas, that is, doorkeepers seem to guard the goddess.
There is also a Kalbhairab temple within the temple complex, dedicated to Kalbhairab, another incarnation of Lord Shiva. The Kalbhairab temple also features a huge granite statue of Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Shiva. With a height of 15 feet and length of 24 feet, this idol is adorned with bells.
History and Legend of Chamundeshwari Temple
The temple is the oldest temple in the hills of Mysore. It is not only a bearer of the rich cultural history of South India but also has several myths revolving around its foundation.
- It is believed that demon Mahisasura tortured the people of Mysore and hence the goddess rose to her power to destroy the evil forces and relieve the people.
- The temple had been built almost 1000 years ago and was the home deity of the monarchs of Wodeyars.
- The place where the temple is located was known as Trimuta Kshetra, meaning a place surrounded by eight hills. The Chamunda Hill lies at the western part of the group. It is believed that Lord Shiva used to reside at the Mahabaleshwar temple and hence this hill was named as Mahabaladri.
- The deity of Devi Chamundeshwari is in a seated posture with eight shoulders, known as Ashta Bhujas. This deity is considered to be very old, being established by sage Markandeya.
- It is believed that when Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was blessed by the Goddess Chamunda, he decided to build the beautiful Gopura in 1827 AD. He also gifted a Simha Vahana, that is, the vehicle of the goddess along with other animal vehicles to the temple.
- The proof that the temple was revamped by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III lies within the temple complex. There is a large 6 feet statue of the king in religious apparel along with his three wives, Ramavilasa, Lakshmivilasa and Krishnavilasa within the shrine.
Significance of the Chamundeshwari Temple
Being one of the oldest shrines of Mysore, the Temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Chamundeshwari Temple holds a significant place in the religious facet of Karnataka.
- It is believed that Goddess Chamunda, the slyer of demon Mahisarsura and Chanda, Munda fulfills all the wishes of the devotees.
- The route to the Chamundeshwari Temple is through dense jungles and hence, visitors can view breathtaking natural beauty and is a great bird watching area.
- Visitors can get a panoramic view of Mysore from the Chamunda hilltop. The Mysore Palace looks imposing when lit with lights during the festive season of Dusshera from the hilltop.
- The statue of Mahisasura near the Chamundeshwari Temple is an amazing piece of architecture.
- The Chamundeshwari Temple is also important due to the small footprints of the goddess that is found within it, along with a flagstaff.
- The rare images of Anjaneya, Nandini, and Kamalini also enhance the importance of the Chamundeshwari Temple.
Chamundeshwari Temple Timings
A strict schedule is followed at the Temple for worship and offerings.
- Time for visiting Devi Chamundeshwari is from 7.30 am to 2 pm in the morning, again from 3.30 pm to 6 pm in the afternoon and again from 7.30 pm to 9 pm in the evening.
- Abhisheka Timings are from 6 am to 7.30 am in the morning and again from 6 pm to 7.30 pm in the evening on all days except Fridays. On Fridays, the timing is from 5 am to 6.30 am.
Chamundeshwari Temple Food Timings
- Free meals are served at the Temple and the meal is known as Dasoha.
- After worshipping the goddess, laddu is offered to the devotees. Cleaning drinking water is also available for visitors.
- Plastic bags are not allowed within the temple complex to keep the hill areas and the waters clean.
Festivals celebrated at the Chamundeshwari Temple
Temple is one of the important shrines of Mysore and hence are marked with major religious celebrations.
- Navaratri Festival: Navaratri is celebrated to mark the success of the goddess in demolishing the demon and hence is an important affair. Devotees line up at the Chamundeshwari Temple to offer their prayers during the festival. This festival is also known as the Mysore Dasara festival.
- Rathothsava Festival: 10 days after Dusshera, this festival takes place. On the auspicious day of the full moon, known as Ashwayuja Purnima, this car festival takes place. The deity of goddess Chamundeshwari is mounted on the vehicle. A representative of the royal family of Wodeyar draws the chariot in a symbolic manner following the rituals and then the vehicle along with the deity is taken around the Chamundeshwari Temple.
- Theppothsava Festival: Thousands of devotees gather at the Chamundeshwari Temple to witness the pious celebration of Theppothsava, which means the floating festival. The festival takes place in the night and the deity of Devi Chamundeshwari is taken round the Devi Tank on a boat. As lights fall on the crystalline waters of the tank, a magical environment is created.
Poojas and Rituals at Chamundeshwari Temple
- The worship of the goddess is a glamorous affair at the temple. Multiple priests are engaged in the worship of the deity. The royal family donates gifts to the temple to maintain the pomp and show of the shrine.
- Coconuts, fruits, and fresh flowers are the popular ingredients in the worship of goddess Chamundeshwari.
- Ashada Shukravara, that is, the first Friday of the Hindu lunar month is considered auspicious and devotees folk here to check out the special puja.
- Devotees may also request for special sevas like homas, abhishekas, and utsavas by intimating the temple committee prior to two days.
- Devotees can also offer saree to the goddess by 30 days prior intimation to the Chamundeshwari temple committee.
How to reach: Road, Rail, and Air
- By Air: The nearest airport to the Chamundeshwari Temple is the Bangalore airport. You can get direct buses and taxis to Mysore from here.
- By Train: The Mysore Junction is the nearest railway station to the Chamundeshwari Temple. You can get trains to the city from the other towns and there are auto-rickshaws, cabs, and buses available for your next part of the journey to the Chamundeshwari Temple.
- By Road: Though located at an elevation, the Chamundeshwari Temple is connected with a proper motorable road. There is also a different route to the Chamundeshwari Temple through the Nanjangud side. There are buses available to the Chamundeshwari Temple from all parts of the Mysore city. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plies buses to the temple every day with a time gap of 30 minutes from the City Bus Stand. You may also hire cabs to the temple; it is a 10-12 kilometers drive from the Mysore city.
Hotels in Mysore: Where to stay
The Chamundeshwari Temple committee maintains a guest house for the devotees. This 20 room guest house comes with decent amenities. Mysore is an important city of Karnataka and hence tourists can find both deluxe and budget hotels easily near the Chamundeshwari Temple. Radisson Blu Plaza, The Viceroy Comforts, Ginger Mysore, United 21 Mysore, Pai Vista, and Royal Orchid Metropole are to name a few.
Where to eat
There are several vegetarian restaurants around the Chamundeshwari Temple. From hot dosas to piping hot coffee, you can get both authentic South Indian and other types of dishes out here. Visitors can also enjoy pizzas at the nearby food joints. Vinayaka Mylari, The Foodie Restaurant, Hotel RRR Restaurant, Little Woods and Corner House are some of the popular restaurants near the Chamundeshwari Temple.
Mysore is known for its beautiful palaces and sacred shrines. Some of the other temples worth visiting the city are:
- Narayanaswamy Temple: Located near the Chamundeshwari Temple is this temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Cheluva Narayana Swamy, also known as Tirunarayana. The inscriptions on the pillars of the shrine are invaluable.
- Prasanna Krishnaswamy Temple: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple houses 40 bronze statues of gods and goddesses. The murals which adorn the walls of the temple are jewels of the Mysore painting school.
- Lakshmiramana Swamy Temple: Dedicated to Lord Nambinarayana, this ancient shrine has interesting facts revolving around it. The temple is also famous for its beautiful statues.
- Mahabaleshwara Temple: Also located at the Chamundi Hills, this temple is in close proximity to the Chamundeshwari Temple. Dedicated to Mahabaladri, this temple is impressive with images of Sapta Matrikas, Nataraja, Parvathi, and Bhairava.
The Chamundi Village located near the temple is also an attraction of the place due to its unique lifestyle and simplicity.