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Sri Chamundi Temple




Mysore, Karnataka



One of the landmarks of Mysore

Best time to visit


October and March

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The temple of Sri Chamduesvari, on the 1, 067 m high Chamundi Hill is one of the landmarks of Mysore. Located about 2-3km southeast of the Mysore city centre in the state of Karnataka, it is dedicated to Durga Devi or Goddess Chamundi (avatar of Parvathi, Shiva's consort) for celebrating her victory over the demon Mahishasura. The goddess was the tutelary diety of the Wodeyars, the ruling dynasty of Mysore.

The original temple, dating back to the twelfth-century was built by Hoysala rulers, while its 40m-high tower was probably built by the Vijayanagar rulers of the 17th century. Legend has it that Mahishasura (from whom the city got its name), a demon was killed by Goddess Chamundi here. There is a giant statue of Mahishasura near the temple which mainly attracts the children for its colorfulness and its size. In the olden days, human and animal sacrifices were offered in this temple that were formally banned in the 18th Century.

There are several images of Nandi images (the bull mount of Shiva) in the Nandi hills. The best known of these is the magnificent Nandi on the 800th step. It was created during the reign of Wodeyar King, Dodda Devaraja (1659 - 1672). Like those in Lepakshi and Thanjavur, this Nandi attracts a lots of tourist. Carved from a single piece of black-granite, it is over 5 m high and 7.6 m long adorned its neck with exquisite bells. The Nandi is tended by his own priest.

The Wodeyars lavished gifts to their family diety. In 1573, Chamaraja IV, while worshiping there, escaped from being struct by lighting. He was then offering gifts to the Goddess. Krishnaraja III built a gopura and gave a gold jewel, called the 'Nakshatramalikae' which had thirty Sanskrit verses inscribed on it. There is a statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and his consorts in the temple. This 6-foot-tall statue standing with his hands folded in his religious clothes. He also built the enormous tower and gifted the temple with a large wooden chariot known as the Simha Vahana, which is now used during the Rathotsava or car festival.

This imposing four-sided temple built on the summit of the Chamundi Hills can be reached on climbing the 1000 steps built by the Maharaja Dodda Devaraja. Today there are fine metalled raods all the way upto the temple. Small shrines, dedicated to Chamundi and Hanuman among others, line the side of the path. The temple is dominated by a seven-storey, 40-metres-high gopura or pyramidal tower which is decorated with intricate carvings in the Dravidian style.

A fine example of Dravidian temple architecture, the temple has large silver gates and golden idols of goddess in different forms. A small statue of Lord Ganesha is adorned on the right side of the doorway. Major attraction of the temple is the idol of the Chamunda Devi which is made of solid gold wearing a garland of skulls. Laddu a very tasty food is one of the most important offering and prasadam given to devotees at Chamundi Temple. Also, from the top of hill one can have a panoramic view of Mysore.

Chamundi temple is also famous for the Dussera of Mysore During the 10 day long Dasara festival (September-October) special prayers are offered to the Goddess. The Vedas are chanted in the temple and various music performances are held here. After Dasara, the annual festival dedicated to the goddess Chamundeshwari is held and people congregated in large numbers atop the hills to participate in the festivities. A Rathotsava (Chariot festival) is conducted during this time. This is followed by Theppotsava (floating festival) that is held in the night.

Non-Hindus can also visit the temple.

Cameras are not allowed inside the Temple.

Timings : Open 8 am to noon and 5 to 8 pm.