Mysore in Karnataka, India, famous for its palaces of rich history also boasts of temples that have great historic significance. The Chamundeshwari Temple at Mysore sits atop the Chamundi hill overlooking Mysore city in all its splendour. The temple is located 13 kms away from the city of Mysore in Karnataka. It is accessible by local buses.
The temple is rumoured to have been built in the 12th century and is named after Chamundeshwari, a divine form of Goddess Durga. The Maharajas of Mysore worshipped the deity which is a fierce form of Ma Durga. This Goddess is revered for having killed the demon Mahishasura. A tall standing figure of Mahishasura can be seen on the approach road to the temple. (It is also a popular figure for photographs by tourists.) Pilgrims and devotees have faith that the Goddess helps them fulfil their wishes and gives them power and strength.
The Chamundeshwari temple is most frequented during Dassara, an auspicious Hindu festival. During this period, the temple is adorned with lights and can be seen from far and beyond around the city. The entire hillside appears as if sparkling jewels of lights have been placed by the Gods.
Best Time to Visit and Puja Timings:
On a busy day, devotees can pay a sum of Rs. 30 that gives direct access to the temple inside. Devotees can also use a normal queue to enter the main area for prayers. The time taken would depend upon the number of people. There are many shops that offer flowers quite near the temple base.
Special puja’s are conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays. A grand aarti begins at 7:30 am every day. Special aartis can also be conducted. There is also a facility for the Archana puja from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. During the Dassara festival, devotees can attend special pujas.
The Rathotsava is another important feature held during this period. For this reason, a large number of devotees throng to the holy site at this time of the year. During the Dassara festival, special prayers are chanted with Vedas. Devotees can also witness traditional Indian music festivals. The Dassara festival also signifies the victory of the Goddess over the demon, thus, the victory of good over evil. After the Ratha festival, a Theppotsava is conducted throughout the night.
About the Temple:
The temple is an important place of worship for the Goddess of Shakti. This temple is considered to be one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. Our legends mention that the Shakti Peethas are the holy seat of Shakti. When Lord Shiva carried the corpse of Sati Devi, the hair had fallen here. This is referred to as Chamundeshwari Goddess.
Legend has it that the demon, Mahishasura harassed the people in this region. Goddess Parvati, took the form of Chamundeshwari in order to slay the demon. After his destruction on the hill, it is said she continued to live there.
The temple has a high gopuram. The intricate carvings are very attractive and are most photographed. The temple has beautiful silver doors. Built in the Dravidian style architecture by the Hoysalas from Mysore, the shape is quadrangular. After going through the main doorway, one would notice a Ganesh statue. The main area of the sanctum sanctorum is well looked after by the priests. You will also notice a tall statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in traditional attire. A Simha Vahana, which is a wooden chariot, is displayed during the rathotsava. The deity of the Goddess is made of gold.
How to reach Chamundeshwari Temple:
You can hire a cab or take a comfortable AC bus from the Mysore bus stand. It takes barely 30 minutes (Rs. 25 one way) and there are plenty of buses to take you back to the city. Alternatively, you can also climb a flight of 1000 stairs. These will take you to the summit of the hill. A beautiful granite Nandi statue is a major attraction which you will encounter on the 800th step. This statue rests before a Shiva temple. This route is picturesque and is more fulfilling for devotees. Besides, it offers a breath-taking view of Mysore city!
Prasad in the form of laddoos are available at the entrance. (Rs. 40 onwards.)
7:30 am to 2:00 pm. 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
If you wish for a historic experience combined with a feeling of great devotion, a visit to the Chamundeshwari temple should definitely be on your list!