Where the royalty once prayed

Where the royalty once prayed

Temple Treasures: The Mysore Palace complex has as many as 12 temples. Photo by S V Upendra Charya

Once frequented by members of the royal family, most of these temples are located within the highwalled enclosure of the Mysore Palace. Patronised by successive Mysore Maharajas, some of these Palace temples were built during the 14th and 15th centuries.
Within the Palace complex, there are as many as 12 temples. The Lakshmiramanaswamy temple is the earliest founded temple. This fact has been known from the inscriptions on the temple. Built in 1499, King Narasa Nayaka patronised the temple by making annual grants to ensure regular poojas and maintenance. King Narasa Nayaka was the father of  Krishnadevaraya, the great Vijayanagar Emperor.

Nambinaryana is the presiding deity of Lakshmiramanaswamy temple with separate Poojagriha (cells) for deities of Lakshmi and Venugopalaswamy. The temple has an exquisitely  done mantapa dating back to the times of Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar (1638-1689). Apart from the Prakara (main hall) there is a small  statue of Raja Wodeyar.

The temple’s Mahadwara Gopura (entrance tower) was built during the reign of  Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617). After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the coronation of five-year-old Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was held at the Lakshmiramanaswamy temple, as no other suitable venue for the official function. could be readily found. It was during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, that the15th century Raja gopura of the temple was renovated in 1851. Located to the northeast of the palace fort is the Trineshwaraswamy temple which is known to have been existed decades before the crowning of Raja Wodeyar. The statues of Kanteerava Narasaraja Wodeyar and Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659-1672) can be seen at the temple’s south entrance.

Renovation of 16th c temple
Located at the palace fort gate (south), Shwetha Varahaswamy Temple has inscriptions to record the offerings made by Chikkaraja Wodeyar (1672-1704). This 16th century temple is believed to have been rebuilt by Dewan Poornaiah in the early 18th century as desired by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Built in the Hoysala style, Shwetha Varahaswamy temple is famous for its structural design and wall paintings.

The idol of Varahaswamy sculpted in Tamilnadu was originally installed at Srirangapatna temple and the deity was brought back and reinstalled at Mysore Palace temple in 1809. Next to the main temple situated inside a high walled compound, there is a small but separate temple dedicated to the deity of Ambujavalli.

Built in 1829, Prasanna Krishnaswamy temple is another popular temple of the palace complex. The main deity is Ambegalu Krishna (crawling Krishna) but the temple has numerous bronze and stone images of different gods and goddesses. The holy shrine of Sage Atreya, the rare mural paintings of Krishna Leela, the statues of the king and his consorts can also be found at this temple built and patronised by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III.

Legend has it that when  this temple dedicated to Bhairava (Lord Shiva) was flooded, the temple got the name - Kodi Bhairava Devasthana. (Kodi refers to flood). Kodi Bhairavarava temple was earlier next to the Devarayasagara or Doddakere, and had to be relocated inside the Palace complex due to extension of the Palace fortified area.

Refuge for Wodeyar forefathers
Another legend that revolves around the temple is that the forefathers of Wodeyar kings, Yaduraya and Krishnaraya, found the temple a safe shelter as the brothers worked out a strategy to fight their enemy, the Karugahalli chieftain.

There are other temples dedicated to deities of Bhuvaneshwari, Gayathri, Someshwara and Mariyamma surrounded by popular Kote Anjeneya, Kote Ganapathy and Kote Venkataramanaswamy.

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