Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cheluvanarayana Temple, Melukote

Melukote has been on my travel bucket for long. But as luck would have it, while I finally made it to Melukote, it wasn’t a totally fruitful trip. This was the longest road trip for our 11-month old and as it turns out – the most difficult. It was extremely difficult to keep leash on our hyper-active and restless little angel. She can be quite a handful in such occasions and that takes a toll on her mother too who was all but drained-out by the time we reached Melukote. My mother-in-law is another person who can’t undertake long road trips even if the end result is visiting a famous temple. As a result when we reached Melukote, we visited the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple and returned back to Bangalore. The idea of climbing some 200-odd flight of stairs uphill to visit the Yoga Narasimha Temple did not find appealing enough for my wife and mother-in-law after such a long journey.

The Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is built on the foothills of Yadugiri and is situated about 145 kms from Bangalore and about 50 kms from Mysore. The temple is dedicated to Thirunarayana or Cheluva Narayana. On the top of the hill there is a temple for Yoga Narasimha. There is also a beautiful stepped tank at the base of the hill. It believed that the famous Srivaishnava Saint Ramanujacharya resided here for about 12 years in the 12th Century, thus making it a prominent place for Srivaishnava Sect and also home to the Academy of Sanskrit Research.

The exact year of construction of the temple is not known. But it is believed to have existed even before Ramanujacharya retrieved the lost metallic image of the presiding deity. It is also believed that Ramanujacharya using his influence and stature was instrumental in rebuilding and renovating the temple. Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana who was a follower of Ramanujacharya had taken refuge here for a brief period during the Muslim invasion of Dwarasamudra. Glimpses of Hoysala art are also very evident here. But it is not nearly as magnificent as any of the full-fledged Hoysala temples in the area.

For those who enjoy long drives, this is a good place to drive down to. The final stretch of 32 kms after exiting the Bangalore-Mysore road is also pretty good for most part. There are some winding stretches of well-carpeted roads when you can glide at 100 kmph. The village atmosphere, green paddy fields and the fresh air make the drive even more pleasurable.

Getting-there: Take right after Mandya town and follow the road for some 30-odd kilometers.

Must-Do: Visit both temples (Cheluvanarayana and Yoga Narasimha) and the Stepped Tanks
Must-Don't: Littering and Vandalism.

My Rating: 5/10


  1. Am still laughing....Zipping on the mysore road, and for 2-3 hours..and finally staying there for few minutes. But nevertheless a wonderful temple town indeed. The Temple at the top of the hill, and also at the bottom, the stepped pond, Twin sisters pond, and half built temple is also famous visiting spot (remember the climax temple structure in the tamil movie Padayappa). Nice write up about the history of the temple. Way to go. Dont worry alemaarigalu team will make a visit there!

    1. Haha.. Well some trips are meant to be that way. Some day soon I need to get to that temple on the top of the hill and also the Pushkarani.

  2. Replies
    1. The pics are now uploaded. My blogger is behaving a bit strange. Doesn't open half the times, and finally when it does it does all sorts of crazy stuff, like for example the white background for the text. Phew!

    2. Wow - those pillars!

      Try pasting the text into a notepad, and re-copying it from there and pasting it back here, you might get rid of the white background.
      I hope that works.
      You have a happy Sunday.

    3. Yeah the pillars were exquisitively carved, but otherwise there wasn't much to the temple. The one on top of the hill is better. Must cover that some other time.

      I had tried that too, but no luck. But anyways, the new posts seems to be ok... thats a relief.

  3. Yet to visit the temples of Melukote. Nice post!

    1. It's a reasonably short drive from Bangalore. Worth visiting. The final 35 kms after getting off the highway is a really good ride. Lush green fields, fresh air and good roads.

  4. Even though I was Bangalore for more than 2 years, I had missed Melukote, inspite of planning it on a couple of weekends. Thanks for taking me there