Chamundeshwari, Mysore’s deity

Surrounded by 25 sq. km of reserve forest considered to be a repository of bio-diversity, the Chamundi hill provides the much-needed green cover for Mysore. Situated 800 ft. above Mysore, to the south-east on the outskirts, Chamundi hill got its name from Goddess Chamundeshwari, the guardian deity of Mysore.

Home to leopards and a variety of birds (about 140 species), the Chamundi hill region is known for its tropical forest trees, colourful flowering plants and almost a billion-year-old rocks. The centuries-old hill temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundi has ever been the  main tourist attraction in Mysore. Said to have been built in the 12th century by Hoysalas, the hill shrine was under the patronage of Mysore rulers in the early 15th century. The Wodeyars, who ruled Mysore for more than 500 years (1399-1947), made huge contributions to the overall development of Chamundeshwari temple, the hill deity being the family deity of Mysore Maharajas.

The seven-storey Gopura, the temple tower decorated with carvings and sculptures, was built in the 18th century during the reign of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III who also made royal offerings to the presiding deity, an exquisitely done wooden chariot Simhavahana, and a precious Nakshtramalika (ornament) with the inscription of Sanskrit verses in praise of Chamundeshwari. The idol of the presiding deity is made of gold, while the Mahadwara of the shrine silver and  plated doorway got done in 1952.
During the ten-day Dasara festivities elaborate pooja, Vedic discourses and grand Utsavas are conducted at Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill, for Mysore Dasara begins and concludes with one or the other special pooja being held at the hill temple.

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