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