The Melukote Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Thirunarayana or Cheluvanarayana Swamy. Cheluva Narayana means deity who loves to shuffle and dressed so beautifully. The Melukote Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is built on a rocky granite hill, which has the oldest rock formations on earth known as Yadavagiri or Yadugiri, overlooking the Cauvery Valley in the city of Melukote, Mandya district in Karnataka is 3000 feet’s above Sea level capper. The Melukot Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is located approximately 52 kilometres from the iconic Mysore Palace, 40 kilometres from the Ranganathitu Bird Sanctuary and 145 km from Bangalore. Melkote is also known as Thirunnarayanapuram. The place is rich in natural and environmental beauty, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims daily.
The Melukot Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple dates back to the 12th century during the period of Saint Vaishnava Ramanujacharya, who remained in the region for 14 years, later developed by the Hoysala and Vijayanagara kings. The festive temple idol is believed to have existed since the times of the kings Rama and Surya Vamsa, who were later also handed over to Krishna. So unique that he is worshiped by both Rama and Krishna.
It is a sacred pilgrimage center for Sri Vaishnavas. Legend has it that in the early 12th century it was a time of great rivalry between the Shaivite and Vaisnava sects in southern India. The Vaishnavas were persecuted by the Cholas, who were the rulers of Tamil Nadu at the time. Sri Ramanujacharya, the preacher of Vaishnavism, had to survive the Chola rule. Hoysala’s ruler, Vishuvardhana, allowed him to remain in exile at Melkote. Influenced by Sri Ramanujacharya, Vishuvardhana, who was a Jain convert to Vaishnavism. During the 14th century, the defeat of the Hoysala kings against the Muslim forces destroyed Melkot. The city was looted by invaders. Later it was restored during the Vijayanagara government.
Melkot is a popular pilgrimage center and has two separate temples. The main temple is a large but very simple square building dedicated to Lord Cheluva Narayana Swamy or Tirunarayana. The Utsav Murti (metal procession statue) representing the deity is known as Cheluvapil Rai, whose original name appears to be Rampriya. The Utsav idol is believed to have been worshiped by Lord Rama and his son Kush; Hence the name Rampriya.
The temple has a beautiful gopura. The temple has idols from Ramanuja, Alwar and temples from Yadugirimma. The temple has rich arrangements and is the most valuable collection of ornaments, as it had the special patronage of the Mysore Maharajas. King Mysore Raja Wodeyar (1578–1617 AD) presented a gold crown set with precious stones known as Rajmoudi. Tipu Sultan donated to a Nagari and Elephant temple. The king of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1799-1831) presented the crown set in which the gemstones are known as Krishnarajamudi. There is another crown in the temple called Vairamudi. These three crowns are commonly worn for darshan by millions of devotees during the annual yatra that is held between March and April.
According to legends, Lord Rama and his son Kush worshipped Lord Narayana here. Therefore, the procedural idol, Sampat Kumara, is also known as Rampriya. Sri Ramanuja, the great Vaishnava Acharya, lived in Melkot for 12 years. During this time, the idol of the procession was lost for a time and after learning that the idol was in the possession of the Muslim emperor Muhammad Shah, Mr. Ramanuja decided to go there. Impressed by Shri Ramanuja, Muhammad Shah allowed the idol to be brought back to Melkot. Muhammad Shah’s daughter followed Sri Ramanuja while clinging to the idol while playing with the idol as a toy. When she reached the temple and saw the idol installed there, she fell down in front of her and breathed for the last time. Due to his death and being associated with the Narayana idol, Sri Ramanuja installed his idol in the temple. Even today he is worshiped as Bibi Nachiyar along with the major deities. The Bibi Nachiyar idol can be seen at the foot of the main idol and the baraat idol is also close to Sampat Kumara.
how to reach Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Bangalore International Airport located at a distance of 133 kilometers is the nearest airport to Melkote. Bangalore airport is well connected by all the major domestic and international destinations.
Mysore railways station located at a distance of 51 kilometers is the nearest railways head. It is well connected with other major cities of Karnataka
KRTDC buses ply on a regular basis from both Mysore and Bangalore. You can even take a bus to Tumkur and onwards from Mysore and deboard at Jakkanahalli Cross. Melkote is about 6 km from this point.