its innumerable temples, churches and mosques, Mysore,
it seems is veritably the abode of the Gods. A healthy
mix of Hindu, Christian , Jain and Muslim cultures,
the city pervades you with a divine aura and leaves
no one untouched. A glimpse of the most popular places
Temple on Chamundi Hill
kms from Mysore city, atop the Chamundi hill is the
huge Chamundeshwari temple- the most famous of Mysore
temples. A flight of 1000 stone steps from the foothills
takes you to the temple at a height of 3000 ft. which
is preferred by pilgrims although it is accessible
by a motorable road. The temple is a fine quadrangular
structure of Dravidian style with a splendid 40 mt
high gopura or tower at the entrance. The silver-plated
doorway has the images of the Goddess in different
forms. In the sanctum sanctorum is the solid gold
idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari, the tutelary deity
of the Mysore maharajas and has been held in reverence
for centuries. In fact the city itself owes its name
to the goddess who vanquished the legendery demon
Mahishasura. Special pujas or worhip-services and
the rathotsava or car festival that are held here
during Dasara attract big crowds.
Timings : Open all 7 days a week.
Archane - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Special Aarti - 7 30 a.m.
Abhisheka - 6 a.m. to 7 30 p.m. @ 6 p.m. to 7 30 p.m.
Anna Dasoha and Special Pooja on Tuesdays and Fridays
Ph : 0821-2590027
St Philomena’s Church
about 3 kms from the city center is the imposing St.
Philomena's church, a miniature replica of the Cologne
cathedral in Italy. Built in the early 1930’s
in the Gothic style, it is the tallest cathedral in
India. Colorful stained glass panels depict the birth,
the last supper, the Crucifixion, Resurrection and
Ascension of Jesus Christ. Light filtering in through
these panels imparts an ethereal ambience to the inside
of the church. The catacomb houses the statue and
relics of the 3rd century saint Philomena. Twin spires
rise up about 175 mts to the skies and can be seen
for miles around. Visiting hours are from 8 am to
1 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm. Don’t miss to see
the illuminated church in the evenings.
48 kms from Mysore is Somanathpur, a small village
like any other on the banks of the river Cauvery
but it is the magnificent Keshava temple here
that attracts tourists from far and wide. A
first class example of of Hoysala architecture,
it unfolds the past in all its glory. Built
in the 13th century, it is enclosed within a
walled courtyard and rests on an elevated star-shaped
platform and is carved out of soapstone. The
mahadwara or main entrance lies to the east
with a 30-foot granite pillar, the deepa sthamba
or pillar of light in front of it.
temple has 3 shrines, of which the one facing
north bears the image of Janarhana; the south
sanctum that of VenuGopala and the main hall
is dedicated to Keshava but the image is sadly
missing. The sub shrines are connected to one
another by the navaranga, a pillared wall. Each
pillar is a specimen of outstanding workmanship
and no two pillars are alike.
highly ornamental outer walls of the shrines are the
biggest attraction, depicting pictures of intricate
artistry. The pictures of people and their activities
apart from those of the royal family portrayed here
testify to the affluence of the people of their generation.
Also found are paintings depicting scenes from the
epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata.
is remarkable about this shrine is its compact structure,
and perfect proportions. The wealth of sculptured
images is simply unbelievable, since from the base
to the projected eaves, every inch of available wall
surface is covered with the most exquisitely sculptured
near the Bangalore Gate of the fort in Srirangapatna,
14 kms from Mysore is the Masjid-e-Ala. Built in 1784
by Tipu Sultan after his ascension to the throne and
it is said that he performed its first imamath himself.
It stands proudly with its lofty minarets osculating
the sky on a high basement with an open court in the
front and a covered verandah. A spacious prayer hall,
the Mihrab is on the west. There is an inscription
mentioning the ninety-nine names of Allah. A flight
of about 200 steps leads to the top of the minaret
from where one can have an all-pervading vista of
the historical town and its environs. Persian scriptures
in fine calligraphy and profuse ornamentation adorn
the walls and ceilings of this Juma Masjid.
Jain temples and the statue of Gommateshwara
of the most important of Jain pilgrim centers in
India is located in the small town of Sravanabelagola,
atop the Indragiri hills about 84 kms from Mysore.
There are 14 basadis or temples and several monasteries
here. Of the basadis, the Chamundaraya basadi, built
in 982 is the most popular. However the best attaction
for tourists here is the colossal statue of Bahubali
or Gommateshwara who renounced his kingdom and left
to lead a life of penance and meditation, attaining
Nirvana. The statue is naked, and 58ft high and
26 ft wide with 10ft long feet and was carved out
of the hill’s black granite and exudes serene
charm. Thousands of devotees congregate here to
perform the Mahamastakabhisheka or sacred anointment,
a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years. Hundreds
of pots containing curds, milk, honey, vermilion,
coconut water, turmeric paste and even gold and
precious jewels are poured over the statue's head
by priests. The next Mahamastakabhisheka will be
held in 2006 AD.