According to the ancient books like, Vishnupurana and Brahmavaivartha Purana, Lord Sri Vishnu took several avataras to teach his devotees lessons of life. Apart from his ten great incarnations he also appeared in several forms like Venkateshwara, Varadaraja, Ranganathaswamy or Hayagriva.
But in Mahima Ranganathaswamy, he has appeared in the shape of a round shaped small stone, which is unique. The temple, dedicated to this form of the lord is situated near Dobbspet on Bangalore-Tumkur Road. The temple is situated on a small hilltop, and can be reached after climbing 300 steps. The name of the village is also Mahimapura and can be reached either from Mahimapura Cross near Dobbspet or from Neelamangala as well.
Get down at Mahimapura Cross, and turn right after the Cross. From Neelamangala, one needs to travel six kilometres on Tumkur Road and then reach Mahimapura Cross. The village is half a kilometre and the Mahima Ranganatha Hill is about one kilometre from there.
The legend says in ancient time the garuda, who was the vehicle of Lord Vishnu ate the corpse of a rakhsasi or demoness by mistake. But he realised his mistake and came to the hilltop to do penance and please the Lord. According to another legend, Garuda’s mother was Vinata and sage Kashyapa was his father. Just after his birth, he asked his father for food. It disturbed his father, who told him to go to the Mahimapura Hill. Garuda came to the hill and ate the corpse of a rakhsasi. Repentant, he began a rigorous tapasya. Lord Sri Vishnu was pleased with his dedication and devotion and appeared on a small round-shaped stone, like a mound of jaggery, which has been worshipped ever since. The idol also called Nirakara (formless). Garuda is said to built a small temple of the lord. Now, a small idol has been installed in the sanctum sanctorum. However, there are idols of Vaishnava saint Ramanuja, Anjaneya and Garuda. The idol of Garuda is placed near the entrance of the garbhagruha.
The history of the temple is not so well known. The small temple appears to be a Hoysala structure with beautiful carved stone pillars on the mukhamantapa. The idols of Lord Vishnu are carved on it but a recent whitewash has obscured the beauty of the idols somewhat. From the top of the hill, the breathtaking views are the other attractions. The majestic Shivagange hill, the surrounding jungle, the trees and the birds will make one forget the climb. Good for a short trip. The hill can be visible from the main road. The temple opens everyday at 10 am and closes at 1:30 pm. There is no pooja in the evening because according to the popular belief, the divine sages worship here in the evening. The small Anjaneya Temple below the hill can be visited. Here, an idol of Sri Hanuman can be seen carved on a rock.
How to reach there
Travel on NH4 on the Bangalore-Tumkur Road and take right turn on Mahimapura Cross before Dobbspet and reach the village of the same name. The hill is situated here. Bus services from Majestic bus stand to Neelamangala and Dobbspet are available. Be sure that the bus stops at Mahimapura Cross. Otherwise, get down at Dobbspet and hire an auto. From Neelamangala, hire an auto to reach the village. The place is about 45 kilometres from Bangalore.