Sri Chamundeswari Temple is situated on Chamundi Hills which is about 13 kms from Mysuru,Karnataka. Chamundeshwari temple is one of the Shakti Peetha .It is said that the hair of Devi fell here.
As per legend, an Asuran (demon) called Ramban wanted a son and he started his penance standing in a fire in a forest. Agni devan ( Fire God) appeared before him and asked him what he desired as a boon. Ramban said that he wanted a son who should be strong,all the worlds should respect him, he should be able to change his appearnce, he can not be killed by devas other asuras nor humans. Agni devan granted his wish saying that whichever female Ramban meets first, she will bear his son and disappeared.
Elated Ramban was walking out of the forest when he first met a female buffalo(Mahishi) and as per his boon, the buffalo delivered him a son with human body and Buffalo head. That son is Mahishasuran
Later this Mahishasuran started a penance atop a hill called Maha meru. He undertook a severe penance for 10000 years. Brahma appeared before him and asked his wish. Mahishasuran said that he wanted a boon by which no one will be able to kill him and he should live forever. As Brahma said he could not offer that, Mahishasuran said that he can be only killed by a woman whom he loves.
With his boon he created a big chaos,troubling all the sages,Devas and became unstoppable. All the Devas approached Brahma,Siva and Vishnu. They all decided that only force that can destroy him is Adi Parasakthi and all of them prayed to her. She appeared as Chandi,Chamundeshwari,Maha Durga and promised to take care of him.
One day Mahishasuran started wreaking havoc in Sage Katyayana's ashram challenging him saying that no one can defeat and kill him. The sage prayed near a Vilva tree for Goddess Parasakthi.Parasakthi appeared from the Vilva tree and destroyed Mahishasuran. Since she came because of Sage Katyayana , she is also called as Katyayini.The place was called 'Mahishasur' which later beacame as Mysore.
As per another legend relating to Sakthi Peetha,Daksha ,Father of Sati (reincarnation of Goddess Sakthi) performed a yajna in order take revenge on Lord Shiva. Daksha invited all the deities to the yajna and ignored Lord Shiva and Sati. In spite of this insult,she expressed her desire to attend the yajna.Shiva asked her not to go but Shiva half heartedly permitted her to attend.Sati went to the yajna. Sati did not get respect at the yajna. Added to that, Daksha insulted Shiva. Unable to bear her father's insults towards her husband Shiva, she jumped into the fire and immolated herself.
Anguised at the death and insult of his wife Sati, Shiva in his Virabhadra avatar destroyed Daksha's yajna, cut off Daksha's head and later replaced it with that of a male goat(and later he gave him life).Virabhadra anger did not subside. Gods prayed to lord Vishnu. He came there and started fighting him.In grief, Shiva picked up the remains of Sati's body, and performed the Rudra Tandava,(the celestial dance of destruction). All the three worlds could not bear the fury His dance. To bring Shiva back to control, Maha Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra that cut Sati's corpse into pieces.The various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the India and its subcontinent and formed sites which are known as Shakti Peethas today. Her portion of hair fell at the place where Chamundi Hills is now and became to be known as Krounja Peetham.
The Temple :The temple is situated atop the Chamundi hills above 1000mtrs MSL. This temple was originally built by Ranadheera Kaandrava Narasaraja Wodeyar.He built 1008 stone steps path for the devotees to reach the temple. Halfway to the hill is statue of big bull Nandi, the vahana of Lord Shiva, which is 5 mtrs tall and 7.6 mtrs long, carved out of a single piece of black granite. From that point,you can have a panaromic view of Mysuru. This temple is patronised for centuries by Mysore rulers, it was renovated during the time of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1827 and he built the big temple Gopuram. There is a summer palace for the Mysuru royal families to stay here.
You can walk the 1000 steps or can drive till the temple through the road.
Temple is built in Dravidian style. There is a beautiful seven tier Gopuram with beautiful idols on it. Atop the the tower there are seven golden ‘Kalashasams’.The temple has a huge praharam and halls such as Navaranga Hall, Antharala Mantapam.There is a beautiful Dwajastambam (flagstaff), and a small statue of Nandi, facing the sannidhi.The Karpa Griham (main sannidhi) has a beautiful Vimanam. On either side of the sannidhi's door are images of Dwarapalakas.
The moolavar is ambal Mahishaswara Mardhini (Chamundeshwari) with Ashta Bhujam (eight shoulders) kolam,in a seated posture.She is beautifully draped in silk and adorned with golden jewels.It is said that this idol was installed by sage Markandeya.
The temple has sannidhis for Mahaganapathi, Anjaneya swami. There is a sannidhi for Nagadevadas too.
The Navarthiri festival is celeberated here as Dusserah for 10 days. After this festival,the annual festival is very famous here.Devotees in large number and the the Royal family participate in this festival. Apart from these there are festivals like Sri Chamundeswari vasantotsava Chaitrapadya day
, Kritikotsava Kartika Poornima day,Sri Chamundeswari mudi utsava Asvauja Krishna Panchami day and other festivals are celeberated.
Temple location The temple is situated atop Chamnudi hills about 13 kms from Mysuru.
Temple Timings The temple is open from 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM, 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM with one and half hours break from 6:00 pm for abhishekam and alanakaram.
How to reach? The nearest Airport is Mysuru. Bangalore is the nearest International airport. Mysore junction is well connected rail head. There are plenty of cabs,autos and local buses from Mysuru city to the temple. You can walk from the Nandi temple to Chamundi temple through the steps in 15 minutes or can drive till the temple.
Where to Stay? There are lot of good hotels available in Mysuru. Accommodation is available in the temple too.