Melukote in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka, in
southern India, is one of the sacred places in Karnataka. The place is
also known as Thirunarayanapuram. It is built on rocky hills, known as
Yadugiri, Yaadavagiri and Yadushailadeepa, overlooking the Cauvery
Melukote is about 51 km (32 miles) from
133 km (83 mi) from Bangalore.
Melukote is the location of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, with a
collection of crowns and jewels which are brought to the temple for
the annual celebration. On the top of the hill is the temple of
Yoganarasimha. Many more shrines and ponds are located in the town.
Melukote is home to the Academy of
Sanskrit Research, which has
collected thousands of manuscripts.
Early in the 12th century, the famous
Srivaishnava saint Sri
Ramanujacharya, who hailed from Tamil Nadu, stayed at
about 12 years. It has thus become a prominent centre of the
3 Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
4 Important places
5 Vairamudi Brahmotsava
6 Yoga-Narasimha Swamy Temple
7 Other attractions
8 Library and
9 Kalyani or Pushkarani
10 Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
11 Educational institutions
12 Academy of
13 Iskcon and Vanaprasta Ashram
14 Image gallery
16 External links
Melukote is a municipal town and holy centre of the same name,
situated at a distance of 36 km (22 miles) north-west of Mandya,
and 51 km (32 miles) north of Mysore.
According to mythological account, this place was known as
Narayanadri, Vedadri, Yadavadri, Yathishaila and Tirunarayanapura.
The name of the place is derived from the temple of Narayanaswamy
which is built on the hillock, surrounded by a fort. It is built on a
granite rocky hill-range named Yadugiri, which is 3,589 feet
(1,094 m) high above sea level.
Early in the 12th century, the great
up his residence and lived in this location for about 14 years. It
thus became a prominent centre of the
Srivaishnava sect of Brahmins,
who obtained from the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, who had become a
follower of the Acharya, an assignment of the fertile tracts of land
in the neighbourhood, especially of the Ashta Gramas, on either bank
of the Cauvery.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Main article: Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluva-Narayana Swamy Temple
The principal temple is a square building of large dimensions but very
plain, dedicated to Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Thirunarayana. The
utsavamurthi, which is a metallic image, represents the deity who is
called Shelvapillai, Cheluva Raya and Cheluvanarayana Swamy, whose
original name appears to have been Ramapriya (meaning "Rama's
Favourite"). It is believed that this utsavamurthi belonged to and was
worshipped by Lord Rama and the kings of the surya vamsa Dynasty for
generations. Later the same deity was given to a king of Chandra
vamsam (the dynasty of Lord Krishna) and was worshipped by Lord
Krishna and many generations. So CheluvaNarayana is so unique that he
was worshipped by both Rama and Krishna.
According to a legend, this metallic image was lost and was recovered
by Sri Ramanujacharya. The annual report of the
Department (p. 57) states on the strength of epigraphic evidence,
that the presiding deity of this temple was already a well-known
object of worship before Sri Ramanujacharya worshipped at the shrine,
in December 1098, and even before he came to the
The temple is richly endowed, having been under the special patronage
Mysore Rajas too, and it has a most valuable collection of
jewels in its custody. As early as 1614, the
Mysore king Raja Wodeyar
(1578–1617) 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 1.5 feet (0.46 m) 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 regular
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 a crown set with precious jewels. It is
known after him, as Krishnaraja-mudi. Vairamudi or Vajramukuta,
another crown of great value, seems to be older than Raja-mudi and
All the three crowns are kept in the safe custody of the Government at
Mandya Treasury and brought to the temple on a specific annual
occasion known as Vairamudi which literally means The Diamond Crown
for adoring the image of Cheluvanarayana Swamy. The Vairamudi
festival, which is the chief annual celebration, is attended by more
than 400,000 people. Jatras are held annually during March–April and
more than one lakh people congregated here.
In 1785, Tipu Sultan gave some elephants to the temple.[citation
A number of inscriptions and records of the place speak of the land
grants and gifts to this shrine. Perhaps the fort on the hill was
built during Hoysala period. The renovated temple has a beautiful
Industsrial Training Institute
There are other shrines of Ramanuja, images of Alvars and
Yadugiriammanavaru etc., in the temple.
On the top of the hill is the impressive temple of Yoganarasimha.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III presented a gold crown to this upper shrine.
There is a big pond there. Many more shrines and ponds are located in
Melukote has been a centre of learning. It has contributed many
literary figures, such as Tirumalarya, Chikkupadhyaya, Alasingachar
and Pu. Ti. Narasimhachar.
Sri Vedavedantha Bodhini
Sanskrit College is one of the oldest
institutions here, established in 1854. An old library founded in
1935, contains large number of Samskrita, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu
books and manuscripts. In 1976, opening in 1978, a research institute,
the Samskrita Academy was established, which incorporated the
Yathirajamatha, Ahobalamatha and Parakalamatha of the Srivaishnava
sect are located in the place.
Melukote has been known for quality handlooms especially weaving
dhoties, sarees, etc. An artisans training centre, a dairy unit and a
residential school are established in the place.
There is a vast forest land near this place and a wild life sanctuary
is opened on 17 June 1974, to protect the species like wolves and
black buck which are plenty in the area.
Vairamudi Brahmotsava (Vairamudi Utsav) is an annual spiritual
event and festival revered throughout South India. In the past it
has attracted up to 400,000 devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana
(Tirunarayana). The main event is the procession of Lord
Cheluvanarayana Swamy (as represented by an idol, normally in most
srivaishnava temples, the presiding deit "moolavar " is represented on
procession by "utsavar "in a different name, here Cheluvaraya is
called as "sampathkumara") through the streets of Melkote, which are
decorated in his honour. In the procession the Lord's idol is
carried on a golden garuda, along with idols representing his divine
consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi. The procession takes place at night and
continues until dawn. The festival is named for the legendary diamond
studded crown, the Vaira Mudi, which the Lord only wears during
this procession. For the rest of the festival the Lord wears the
Rajamudi, another crown studded with precious stones.
Vairamudi, the diamond crown, was stolen from Sriman Narayana, when he
was asleep at his abode in the Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean), by
Virochana. Virochana was the king of demons and the son of Bhakta
Garuda was asked by the lord's devotees to bring back the
Garuda went after Virochana to the nether world, fought with
the demon king and flew back with the crown.
According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue
gem on the crest while
Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is
believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur
district of Tamil Nadu. The gem turned into a stream, called the
Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw
Bala Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at
Garuda protected the Bala Krishna from the sun by placing
his wings as the shade & placed the crown on his head. The local
legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented Cheluva Narayana with
Preparations for the
Brahmotsava start several weeks before the
festival. The actual celebrations take place over the course of
thirteen days. Garudotsava is celebrated a day before the Brahmotsava
at Melkote. The district administration of Mandya makes arrangements
for bringing the Vairamudi crown from the
Mysore treasury to the
temple amidst great security measures. It is believed that the crown
must not be exposed to daylight. When not in the procession the
priests keep the crown hidden from view in a sacred casket.
On the evening of the procession, the crown is placed in front of the
sanctum of Sri Acharya
Ramanuja and the head priest places the Vaira
Mudi and fits it to the statue of the Lord Cheluva Narayana. It is
tradition that not even the head priest should look at the Vaira Mudi
with naked eyes until it is fitted onto the Lord. Hence the priest
covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.
During the 13-day celebration, Kalyanotsava, Nagavalli Mahotsava are
held in the Holy Kalyani, followed by Maharatotsava. In most years the
spiritual events have been accompanied by cultural programmes,
including music and dance performances, but in 2014 they were
cancelled because of the upcoming election and its "model code of
Brahmotsava is one of the most important festivals for
Sri Vaishnavas, others include the Garudotsava at
Nadu), Kotharotsava at
Srirangam (Tamil Nadu) and the
Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
Yoga-Narasimha Swamy Temple
On the top of the hill is an attractive Melkote Narasimha temple
dedicated to Lord Yoga Narasimha. It is believed that the image of
Yoga Narasimha temple at melkote was installed by Prahlada himself.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar III presented a gold crown to Lord Yoga Narasimha.
From here visitors can also visit Thondanoor a nearby temple town, the
location of the famous Nambi Narayana, Parthasarathi, Yoganarasimha
Ramanuja temples. This is approximately 20 km (12.4 miles)
The private library of his holiness the Yatirajaswamigalu of Melkote
contains a large number of
Kannada works bearing on the
Vishishtadvaita school of philosophy, a few works bearing on logic,
rheotic, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, ritual, architecture,
Pancharatra, Dharmashastras, Grihya and Dharmasutra. There is also a
Sanskrit college here named Sri Veda Vedantha Bodhini Sanskrita
Sanskrit College) which was established as early
as in 1854 and which is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in
the state. Melkote has contributed many literary figures like Pu Ti
Narasimhachar, Tirumalaraya, Komanduri Deshika Charyulu ( got
Appreciation Certificate also from
Mysore Maharaja ), Chikkupadhyaya
and Devashikhamani Alasingachar.
Kalyani or Pushkarani
The temple infrastructure has a large pond called as Kalyani.[citation
needed] The beauty of the steps leading to water and the mantapas
built all around are such that it has been captured in many Indian
Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
Melkote is also the location of the Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary.
This sanctuary was created on 17 June 1974, primarily to house wolves.
Other mammals found in this sanctuary include the jungle cat, leopard,
bonnet macaque, langur and pangolin. It is also an ornithologist's
paradise, with around 200 species of birds indigenous to the area.
Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary has been known for its once abundant
Cycas circinalis species, which in the recent time has been over
exploited by the flower decorators and local doctors.
The Sri Yadugiri Education center (by Sri
Ramanuja Srisha Seva Trust)
provides cultural education to rural students. Sri Veda Vedanta
Sanskrit college is a place for traditional education.
The mission of the institution is "Providing good education to rural
students". Veda, Nalayira Divyaprabandha, Stotra and Grantha
Kalakshepams are being taught in traditional families even today. SGS
groups runs colleges and schools. SET group runs schools and
The town is also home to the Academy of
Sanskrit Research, an
institution that was founded in 1977, by the Government of Karnataka.
The Academy has kept 83 employees with 25 research scholars working on
Sanskrit Research. Some of the areas of research include:
Upanishads and Scientific research from ancient
texts. There is also a library that houses 11,000 manuscripts and
Iskcon and Vanaprasta Ashram
Since December 2010, Iskcon has established a Vedic old age home and
preaching center at Melkote, near the Travellers bunglow. The ashram
houses the deities of Sri Jaganath baladev and Subdradevi. The ashram
also has 12 cows where the milk is sent daily for the Abishek of Sri
Yoga Narashima Swami.
on 12/12/12 Iskcon has registered 2 acres of Land behind Cheluva
From Akshayatritya 2011, Iskcon has started anadannam at the Yoga
Narashima temple for the pilgrims and the needy.
^ "Academy of
Sanskrit Research". Mandya District. Archived from the
original on 18 March 2014.
Karnataka State Gazetteer 1983.
Brahmotsava is a holy cleansing, instigated by or in response to
Brahma's example. "Brahmotsavam: Why is Brahmotsavam Celebrated".
Ygoy. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014.
^ a b "Vairamudi
Brahmotsava to begin today". The Times of India. 13
March 2014. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014.
^ a b "Melkote".
Karnataka Holidays. Archived from the original on 15
^ a b , P. Stephen Basappa (1897). A Guide to Seringapatam and Its
Vicinity: Historical and Traditional (third ed.). Bangalore, India:
Town Press. pp. 34–35. OCLC 33319821.
^ "Model code of conduct comes into effect today". The Times of India.
5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014.
^ "Bird Checklist -
^ "Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary -
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Melukote.
Melkote travel guide from Wikivoyage
Mysore Nature Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
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