The Chamudeshwari Temple is located 13 km from Mysore City. You can reach the temple either by climbing 1000 steps or by road. A huge granite Nandi(4.8m) is seen near the 800th step. At the summit there is a colorful statue of the Demon king Mahishasura with a sword in his right hand & a cobra on the other. Th temple has a quadrangular structure with an impressive 7 storey(40m) carved gopuam. The idol of Chamundi Devi is in the sitting posture with 8 arms. The diety is made of solid gold & the temple doors are of silver.
The Chamudeshwari Temple was built by the Hoysala rulers in the 12th centuary. This is the family diety of the Mysore Wodiyars (Mysore Royal Family). The Wodiyar Dynnasty ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. In 1664, Maharaja Dodda Devaraja Wodiyar constructed the 1000 steps up to the summit & two statues ( Nandi statue & Mahishasura statue). In 1827, Krishnaraja Wodiyar III renovated the temple & constructed the gopuram. It was he who presented the diety a Nakshatra mala with sanskrit verses incribed on it .
The Goddess is known by two names - Chamundeshwari & Mahishasura Mardini. According to the legend ,two demon Kings Sumba & Nisumba was a headache for Devas. So they demanded Goddess Parvathi for help. Goddess took the form of a maiden girl & came to earth. The demon kings used several ways to entice her, but failed. So they decided to use force by sending their two generals Sandan & Mundan. Goddess took the form of Kali & killed both of them. Thus the Goddess who killed Sandan & Mundan came to be called as Samundi / Samundeshwari . Later it became Chamundeshwari.
Mahishasura (Buffalo-headed demon) was the ruler of Mahishuru/Mahishasura-oru (Mahishasuran's town in Kannada) which later became Mysore. At that time the hill was called Mahabaladri hills. He attained a boon from Lord Brahma that no man can kill him. He formed a great army & declared war on Gods. Fed up they approached Goddess Parvathi who incarnated in the form of Durga & killed him. Thus the Goddess came to be called as Mahishasura Mardini( one who killed Mahishasura). The 10 day Dassara festival is to honour the Goddess Chamundeswari. A procession starts from the hill top with the golden idol of Chamudeswari placed over an elephant and descends into the City.
Today Chamudeshwari temple is a famous pilgrimage centre. Pilgrims believe that Goddess helps them in fulfilling their needs & desires. There is a spectacular view of Mysore City from the top of the Chamundi hills. The landmarks seen are the Mysore Palace, Lalitha Mahal Place, Mysore race course, Karanji & Kukkarahalli lakes.
Unfortunately the ravages of our modern society are visible with plastic wastes & papers scattered on the slopes. Karnataka Tourism Corporation or the Temple authorities should take some actions to keep this sacred environment clean & tidy.