Monday, March 09, 2009

Melukote

This was my 12th visit to Melukote, but I had always taken the same road via Pandavapura or Maddur. But, this time it was from Sharavanabelagola. And only then I realized, I had missed so much. Aaaaah, this route is just heavenly. Contoured land, hilly terrain, greenery, dotted with ponds with huge Lotus. I have never ever seen a huge PINK LOTUS, except in a Photo or a Calendar which has Goddess Lakshmi. How much I wanted one for myself and I still continue to….. But, be warned in the 30+ minutes drive, we never ever saw one human being or vehicle.

Melukote is a small temple town cocooned between ancient rock formations known by Yadugiri, overlooking the Cauvery valley. Melkote became religiously and culturally important from 12 th century AD when Ramanujacharya spend around 12 precious years of his life in Melkote. The Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple and the Yoganarasimhaswamy temple overlooks the town of Melkote and it is around these temples that the pilgrimage is centered. Melkote is home to the oldest Sanskrit School in India dating back to 1853 situated within the temple premises.

My memories of Melokte dates back to Std 5. My first Scout and Guide camp, where I got to spend 3 day at Melukote. Exploring the temples, mantaps, tanks, hills, caves. Those exhausting days filled with morning jog, flag hoist, treasure hunt, cooking ended with camp fire. I literally know every nook and corner of the town. There it was still standing immune to the stride of time. This town just has 2 streets. The residents are mostly priests or from priestly families. The houses are old looking and nothing is modern here. Its quiet, peaceful and easygoing. People are friendly and hospitable, but you ought to be treated as untouchables, when they don’t obviously spot their trademark symbol on your forehead, and as they continue to suffer from ‘we-belong-to-superior-caste-complex’.

None can be a better guide to Melukote than me. Headed straight to Raya gopura.

Raya Gopura


A movie buff ought to identify this. Since, everyone from Rajkumar to Aishwarya Rai has danced here. I love these unfinished structures. On the other side is the Sankrit Research Institute. I can't relate falling-in-love to writing-on-structures.


There are steps, not easy though, but anyone adventurous can reach the top of the gopura, from where you can get a view of the entire Melukote.



Akka Thangi Kola

There are a pair of pond further down Raya Gopura. Interestingly the water of Akkana kola is sour-salty and that of Tangi kola is sweet. You are allowed to taste them. And to date only the sweet water is used at the temples.


The preist having his afteroon nap, the guard and people interested to taste the water.


Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple


The temple is richly endowed having been under the special patronage of the Mysore Rajas, and has a most valuable collection of jewels. As early as 1614, the Mysore king Raja Wodeyar who first acquired Srirangapatna and adopted the Srivaishnava faith, handed over to the temple and the Brahmins at Melkote, the estate granted to him by Vijaynagar king Venkatapati Raya. On one of the pillars of navaranga of the Narayanaswami temple is a bas relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar, standing with folded hands, with the name inscribed on the base. He was said to be a great devotee of the presiding deity and a constant visitor to the temple. A gold crown set with precious jewels was presented by him to the temple. This crown is known as the Raja-mudi after his name. From the inscriptions on some of the gold jewels and on gold and silver vessels in the temple it is learnt that they were presents from Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and his queens. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also presented to the temple a crown studded with precious jewels. It is known after him as Krishnaraja-mudi. Vairamudi or Vajramukuta is said to be older than Raja-mudi and Krishnaraja-mudi.

All the three crowns are under the safe custody of the Government and brought to the temple for annual celebration of Vairamudi Utsava.


Pancha Kalyani and Bhuvaneshwari Mantapa at the foot of YogaNarasimha Temple Hill.

Walking around the Kalyani is a pleasure in itself.



Yoganarasimha temple on the top of a hill



Passing through these beautiful mantaps and climbing 200+ steps, you reach the shrine.





A view of the Melukote from hill top.


A visit to the Temple and we exit to capture the sunset.


And we descend......


Never miss the Puliogere in Melukote and some packets of Puliogere Gojju(mix) to bring home. Aaaah, this reminds me of a friend visiting Melukote at 2 in the night, in her dream and starts craving for Puliogere at that hour.

5 comments:

sandeep said...

beautiful pictures once again ... never knew melkote was this beautiful

Aathira said...

I am planning to visit Melukote this weekend, and looking at these pictures I sure want to visit this place :)

Akhila S said...

@ Sandeep, Thanks :-) Melukote is indeed beautiful, calm and serene.

@ Aatira, Never miss a chance to visit Melukote.

hikealot said...

Akhila:

How do you pronounce your name?

Thank you for posting such wonderful amazing sights.

From Dragonfly Studio, Penn Valley, California USA

Akhila S said...

@hikealot:
You pronounce it as akh-ee-la. Keep visiting. :-)

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