Chamundi Hill is a perfect half day excursion from Mysore for anyone spending any significant time in and around the city. To reach the summit of the hill you have two options; either drive straight up to the summit, or alternatively park near the bottom of the hill and scale the 1,000 or so steps that will lead you up to the top.
On my visit I decided to drive straight to the top and then walk down the steps, anyone visiting the hill should attempt some of the steps for reasons you will see shortly 🙂
The main attraction on the summit of the hill of the Chamundeshwari Temple. Having past a huge statue of the demon Mahishasura and a long line of shop stalls, you soon come to the temple itself.
The Chamundeshwari Temple is thought to have been originally built in the 12th century by Hoysala rulers, while its tower was probably built by the Vijayanagar rulers in the 17th century. It has of course been remodelled many times since.
It is entered through a gopura topped with a pyramidal tower, the doors within this gate and inside the temple itself have embossed silver panels depicting different goddesses. The sanctuary accommodates a richly attired Chamundeshwari, which is the focal point for the annual Dasara/Dusshera celebrations. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the temple complex.
Remember I mentioned those steps and how they should not be missed out ? About 800m distance from the temple along the flight of steps down is a Nandi monolith, the highlight of any visit here I think.
This is the third largest Nandi in all of India, sculpted out of a single boulder in 1659. Measuring 7.5m long and 5m high, it’s an impressive sight ! The Nandi is seated, and decked with ceremonial bells and garlands.
On the road leading to the base of Chamundi Hill, about 3km southeast of Mysore, is the Lalitha Mahal. Designed in 1930 as a private royal guesthouse, it’s a hugely impressive building which is now a hotel (and quite an expensive one I suspect!).
It is open to non-residents, and well worth considering as a place for a buffet dinner one evening. The twin banqueting rooms that are still used for dining are roofed with stained-glass vaults, and the staff here seem more than happy to show you around.
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