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 Chamundi Hills, Mysore

   landmark of Mysore is the Chamundi Hills. A visitor can spot it from a distance of 8 to 10 kms while driving to this old royal city of Yadu Maharajas or Wodeyars from any direction.
It stands as a crown overlooking the city with the presiding deity of Mysore and the family Goddess of the Maharajas, Chamundeswari, residing atop, in the famous Chamundi temple, blessing her devotees since several centuries. Besides the temple, there is also a small Palace of the Mysore rulers, Lalithadri, now in possession of Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, scion of the Mysore royal family and son of late Maharaja, Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. Near the temple, is a statue of Monster Mahishasura. It is made out of mortar and colourfully painted. It is about 3.5 metre tall.
Mahishasura, according to mythological legend, was the ruler of this place and was killed by Goddess Chamundeswari, a form of Goddess Parvathi, and the consort of Lord Shiva.
Mysore is said to have derived its name from this demon-king, Mahishasura. Halfway the Hills, stands a huge monolith statue of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. There is also a temple tank, Devikola, which is used for floating festival. There are a number of houses, where also reside the priests of the temple, governed by a local council or village panchayat. The rocky Chamundi Hill is about three kms south-east of the city. Its height is 1065-metre above the sea level, about 800 feet above the level of Mysore. It has 1,000 stone steps and also a good motorable road. Fitness-keepers, devotees and residents and students attending schools and colleges in Mysore make use of the 1,000 steps carved out of the granite rocks.
Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar, who ruled from 1659 to 1673, is said to have built the steps in 1583 for the convenience of pilgrims. He is also attributed to have constructed 63 houses at the foot of the hills and called it Devarajapura and donated it to Brahmins taking care of the temples. Besides using the steps, the Maharajas also ride on horse-back to the temple. There was a separate flight of equestrian steps for the purpose. Very few know about the equestrian pathway today. The road was built in 1916 and offers an excellent bird's eye of Mysore.
Location: 3 kms to south-east of Mysore.
Transport: State Transport (KSRTC) buses ply from Mysore to the top of the hills and back regularly. Taxies are also available from Mysore. 1000 steps for enthusiastic hill-climbers.
Auspicious Days to visit Chamundi Temple: Tuesdays, Fridays and 10 days of Dasara.
Special Worship Days: Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
WorshipTimings: Daily 7-30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 3-30 p.m. to 6-00 p.m., 7-30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Illumination: The temple tower is illuminated on festivals and public holidays in the nights.
Note: Shoes have to be left outside before entering the temple.

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