Melkote is an important pilgrim center that about 51 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore. It lies in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district. According to mythology, the Melkote was known as Narayanadri, Vedadri, Yadavadri, Yathishaila and Thirunarayanapura as the temple of Narayanaswamy is built on granite rocky hill that comprises some of the oldest rock formations on earth known as Yadavagiri or Yadugiri overlooking the Cauvery valley. Melkote is very well known for various famous temples and a festival called Vairamudi.

It is a sacred pilgrim centre for Sri Vaishnavas. Legend has it that in the early 12th century was the time of great rivalries between Shaiva and Vaishnava sects in South India. Vaishnavas were persecuted by the Cholas, who were the rulers of Tamilnadu at that time. Sri Ramanujacharya, the leading preacher of Vaishvism had to escape from Chola rule. He was allowed to live in exile at Melkote by then Hoysala ruler Vishuvardhana. Influenced by Sri Ramanujacharya, Vishuvardhana who was Jain converted to Vaishnavism. During 14th century, defeat of Hoysala Kings against Muslim forces saw the destruction of Melkote. The town was plundered by the invaders. It was later restored during Vijayanagar rule.

Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple

The principal temple is a square building of large dimensions but very plain, dedicated to Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Tirunarayana. The utsavamurthi, which is a metallic image, representing the deity which is called Cheluvapille Raya or Cheluvanarayana Swamy whose original name appears to have been Ramapriya. According to a legend, this metallic image was lost and was recovered by Sri Ramanujacharya.

The temple has a beautiful gopura. There are shrines of Ramanuja, idols of Alwars and Yadugiriamma in the temple. The temple has rich endowments, and has the most valuable collection of jewels as it had the special patronage of the Mysore Maharajas. The Mysore King Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617 A.D.) presented a Gold Crown set with precious stones known as Rajamudi. Tipu Sultan donated a Nagari and elephant to the temple. The Mysore King Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1799-1831) presented a Crown set with precious stones known as Krishnarajamudi. There is another Crown in the temple called Vairamudi. All these three crowns are used to decorate the utsavamurthy during the annual jatra usually held during March-April visited by lakhs of devotees.

Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple Timings

08.30 am to 12.30 pm, 04.00 pm to 06.00 pm and 07.00 pm to 08.30 pm
Saturdays and Sundays morning pooja will be from 08.30 am to 01.30 pm


Yoganarasimha Swamy Temple

On the top of the hill is an impressive temple of Yoga Narasimha Swamy. There are numerous legends and myths attached to this place. It is believed that Rama, Krishna and Balarama worshipped here at different timezones. Yoganarasimha Swamy Temple infrastructure boasts of a large pond called Kalyani. The beauty of the steps leading to water and the mantapas built all around are such that it has been captured in many Indian films.

Yoga Narasimha Swamy Temple Timings

Nithyakatle 09.00 am to 10.00 am
Abhisheka 10.00 am to 11.00 am
Darshan 11.00 am to 01.00 pm
Evening Darshan 05.30 pm to 08.00 pm
During Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 11.00 am to 02.00 pm and 05.00 pm to 08.00 pm


Sanskrit Pathsahala

The temple premises houses the oldest Sanskrit Pathsahala in India that dates back to 1853. The School continues to provide instruction in Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy.


Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary

Melkote is also the location of the Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. This Sanctuary was created on 17th June 1974 mainly to protect the wolf. Other mammals found in this sanctuary are jungle cat, leopard, bonnet macaque, langur and pangolin. It is also an ornithologist's paradise, with numerous species of birds indigenous to the area.


How to Reach Melkote

Melkote is 133 kms from Bangalore, 51 kms from Mysore and 35 kms from Srirangapatna.
KSRTC Buses ply regularly from Mysore. Alternatively, one can catch a bus that goes from Mysore to Tumkur (and onwards) and get down at a place called Jakkanahalli Cross. Melkote is around 6 km from there.

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