Sri Chamundi Hills

Sri Chamundi Hills are the abode Sri Chamundeshwari, the tutelary deity of the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore, and the presiding deity of Sri Chamundeshwari temple.

Mysore, now Mysuru, gets its name from rather curious circumstances.  It was originally known as Mahishuru, for it was ruled by the asura, Mahishasura, who was killed by Goddess Chamundeshwari.  Mahishuru became Mahisuru, then Maisuru, later Mysore and finally Mysuru.  Mysore city was the capital f the Wideyars, feudatories of the Vijayanagar Empire.  The hills are almost 1,000 metres above sea level. A motorable road leads to the top of Sri Chanmundi Hills.  It can also be accessed by walking over 1,000 steps, said to have been built by Maharaja Dodda Devaraja in 1659.  The shrine was said to have been first constructed by the Hoysalas in the 12th century, and extensively removated by the Vijayanagar monarchs in the 17th century.  The seven-storeyed Rajagopuram was added by Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1827.  He also presented to the deity the Nakshatramalika ornament, a star shaped necklace, with Sanskrit verses iscribed on it.  On the 800th step is a huge granite nandi, 4.54 metres (15feet) tall and 7.27 metres (24 feet) long.  In front of the nandi is a small Shiva shrine.

Sri Chamundeshwari Devi is regarded as the incarnation of Durga, a fierce form of Shakti.  The idol of Sri Chamundeshwari, in the sanctum, is said to be made of pure gold.  She appears resplendent, sitting on a golden throne, smothered by flowers and jewellery, gifted by monarchs and commoners alike.  The doors of the sanctum are made of silver.  Besides jewellery, the Wodeyars of Mysore had gifted the deity the golden throne shaped like a lion.

According to the Markandeya Purana, two asuras, brothers Sumban and Nisumban, harassed the devas.  The gods prayed to Parvati for succor.  She then assumed the form of a beautiful maiden and approached the asuras.  Bewitched by Her beauty, and smitten by love, the asuras implored the maiden to marry one of them.  She replied that she would marry the man who defeated Her in battle.  Amused by Her strange condition, they dispatched Dumralochana to plead on their behalf.  Dumralochana was reduced to ashes by the Goddess.  The asuras then sent Sandan and Mundan to fight Her.  From th maiden's forehead emerged Kali, who exterminated the two asuras.  Since the emanation from Parvati slew Sandan and Mundan, the devas named Her Samundeshwari, which later became Chamundeshwari.

Over the entrance, below the gopuram, is Sri Ganesha, in relief.  On the opposite side is a mandapam, built by a Muslim couple.  Nea the car park is a huge, colourful statue of Mahishasura, the asura, whom Parvati slew, ad came to be known as Mahishsuramardhini.

How to get there

Chamundi Hills are 13km from Mysore city. Plenty of buses, including AC Volvos carry devotees up and down.

Accommodation:

Mysore has rooms to suit all budgets, though there are rooms on the hills too.

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