Famous Temples near Mysuru
By Meenakshi Gupta
One of the most visited cities in Karnataka is Mysuru for its heritage, culture, temples, and grandeur. Temples in Mysuru are not just popular with pilgrims, who visit them with devotion but also amongst tourists, architecture, and heritage and history lovers. Home for Tipu Sultan for many years, the city of culture was the capital of the Wodeyar Dynasty. The city of palace and gardens was once called ‘Retired Paradise’ for its laid-back, calm, and slow-paced lifestyle. Soak in the heritage and culture of the city which will enrich you with the history and the mythology of these ancient and exquisite temples in Mysuru.
One of the most preserved and exclusively carved temples in South India is Chennakesava Temple located on the banks of River Cauvery at Somanathapura. Somanathapura is 38 km from the city of Mysore, but it is worthwhile visiting the temple for its unique carvings. Built-in 1258, by Somanatha, Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala King Narasimha III, the temple is an exquisite example of Hoysala architecture. Also known as Kesava temple, it has a statue of Janardhana and Venugopala, all forms of Lord Vishnu.
Just 150 km from Bangalore and 23 km from Mysore city, in the Mysuru district itself, lies this 700-year-old statue of Gomateshwara. This 6 mts high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, also known as Bahubali is the smaller version of the one at Sravanabelagola in Hassan. Gomateshwara statue lies at a hill called Gomatagiri which is 50 mts high above the sea level and is an important worship center for the Jains in the district. The biggest celebration at Gomatagiri is the ‘Abhisheka’ held every year during September when the pilgrims flock over to the temple from across the country.
Nandi Statue near Chamundi Hills
The most iconic temple in Karnataka and must visit the place is the Chamundeshwari Temple in Mysuru. The patron deity of the royals, this temple was built in the 17th Century in the Dravidian style of architecture. Located at the hills, the Goddess is believed to have killed the demon king Mahishasura on this hill. There is also a huge statue of Mahishasura at the entrance of the temple. This Mahishasur statue is holding a snake in one hand and a sword in the other. As you drive or climb up, you will see a statue of Nandi Bull, which is one of the largest in the country. This 15 ft high and 25 ft wide Nandi statue is adorned with extensive ornaments around the neck. Chamundeshwari Temple featuring Goddess Durga received patronage from most of the rulers like Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire, and Mysuru Wodeyars. In 1830, the Gopura ( the temple tower) was added by King Krishna Raja Wodeyar III.
132 km away from Bangalore and 50 km near Mysore, Talakadu is a historic temple town where multiple temples were buried under the sand on the banks of the River Cauvery. These temples were built during the Ganga Dynasty in the 11th century and over time were taken care of by Hoysala, Vijayanagara, and Mysuru kingdoms. These temples over some time have been carefully excavated and reconstructed. Popularly known as Panch Lings, Talakadu has five major temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. These temples are known as Pataleshwara Temple, Maruleshwara Temple, Vaidyanatheshwara Temple, Arkeshwara Temple, and Mallikarjuna Temple. The architecture of these temples is also in Dravidian style and shows case the intricately carved pillars, ceilings, and dwarapalakas( doorkeepers).
Nanjanagudu is a temple town on the banks of Kapila River, located in the Mysuru district. Pass through India’s oldest bridge over river Kabini to reach this 9th century AD Nanjanagudu temple. Located at the banks of river Kapila, Nanjanagudu temple is 165 km from Bangalore and 24 km from Mysore. One of the exclusive examples of the finest craftsmanship, this nine-tiered gopuram temple has carvings of mythological stories. The temple has an impressive gallery of 122 metallic figures on Shivaite theme, a Nandi, and the main deity Lord Srikantheshwara. Another divine location at the temple to seek the blessing of the lord is the confluence of river Gundlu and river Kabini. This is known as Parashurama Kshetra.
Next time when you are planning a trip to Mysuru, do not forget to include these ancient temples in your itinerary. Make sure you keep at least 2 days for Mysore to visit these famous temples in Mysuru.