Named after goddess Chamundi, the Chamundeshwari Temple sits atop the main hill. The main hill itself features an ancient stone stairway of 1,008 steps leading to its summit. Approximately halfway to the summit is statue of bull Nandi, the vahana, or "vehicle" of Lord Shiva, which is 4.9m tall and 7.6m long and carved out of a single piece of black granite. Around this point, the steps become significantly less steep and eventually the climber is rewarded with a panoramic view of the city.
The Temple has a quadrangular structure. A key feature is the statue of Mahishasura bearing a sword in his right hand and a cobra in the left. Within the temple's sanctum stands a sculpted depiction of Chamundeshwari. She is seated with her right heel pressed against the lowest of the seven chakras. This cross-legged yogic posture echoes the posture of Lord Shiva. Worshipers believe that this powerful yogic posture, if mastered, provides an added dimensional view of the universe.
Since the early days of the Maharajahs of Mysore, the idol of goddess Chamundi has been carried on a decorated elephant as part of the celebrations in the annual Dusshera festival.
From the peak of the Chamundi hills, the Mysore Palace, the Karanji Lake and several smaller temples are visible. Many of the temples were constructed by members of Shirdi Sai Baba movement.
According to a legend, the asura Mahishasura (king of the city that is currently known as Mysore) was killed by goddess Chamundeswari (also called Chamundi) after a fierce battle. The goddess is also called Mahishasura Mardini.
According to mythology, this rocky hill was known as Mahabalachala. Two ancient temples occupy the hill, the Mahabaleshvara and the Chamundeshvari; the Mahabaleshvara Temple on the hill is the older of the two and is a place of pilgrimage. The car festival and 'Teppotsava' are held there. Inspired by its name, a brand new coffee brand named Chamundi Hills has also been launched by a set of entrepreneurs in Bangalore.
Climbing Chamundi Hill; 1001 Steps with a Storyteller and a Reluctant Pilgrim. Ariel Glucklich. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-050894-4
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