When you go to Mysore, Chamundi Hill is visible from several kilometers in each direction. People usually take a sightseeing tour of Mysore so they visit Chamundi Hill and Chamundeshwari Temple for just half hour. But they get deprived of the real joy that this place offers. Whenever I am in Mysore I visit this place not just once but at least twice and feel blessed.
A panoramic view of the city is seen from the top of the Chamundi hills. Among other landmarks, you can see the race course, the Lalitha Mahal palace, Mysore Palace, Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes. At dusk, the view of the city is especially beautiful, and on Sunday evenings and during the Mysore Dasara, the illuminated Mysore Palace glitters like gold!
Let go Chamundi Hill today. Best time to begin our visit to Chamundi is 2 PM.
Now there are AC buses ply there and service is frequent. Fare is barely 15 rupee for AC and 10 rupee for non-AC. So let’s take power packed Volvo AC bus from City Bus Stand. Bus comes out of the stand and travels in front of Mysore Palace. Mysore Palace is extremely beautiful palace. You will just forget just any other palace in the world, even the palace in Jaipur. Bus makes a stop at Zoo and then comes in the suburbs.
It barely takes 25 minutes for the bus to begin its climb on the hill. AC buses climb very fast, as fast as any other bus makes descend. As bus climbs and makes a long girdle around the mountain, scenes of the plains and Mysore intensify. We arrive at Chamundi Hill in just a bit less than an hour and route is very scenic. Weather on the hill is a bit soother and gentle.
We get down at the bus and walk to the temple. First everyone sees the famous statue of Mahishasura that is placed in the beginning of this small hill station.
Temple is barely 300 feet and two ways lead to it. One is a small bazaar full of noise (CD sellers selling and playing audio CD etc. ) and other is the road. I prefer to go there on the road although temple is in front of us.
Near the temple you will see coconut water vendors. Mysore coconuts are world famous for the water, size and volume of water is also almost double, taste is also rich and sweet. I always make my fill not just once but twice here.
Some times it is a big queue to the temple but luckily today the queue is small so we get into the line.
Chamundi temple is a magnificent temple. It has a seven storey tall entrance tower is decorated with intricate carvings. The deity of the goddess is made of gold and the temple doors of silver. A road makes a circle around the temple perimeter with more ancient temples in the back and also more views of the terrain around the hill. We return to the main gate and there is a restaurant in the old building in front of the temple and we have tea and snacks. If you continue walking in the street of this restaurant you descend to a large water pond with stair perimeter.
It is a nice place to spend some time by the water, in natural surroundings under the shady trees.
Chamundi’s main hill features a long stone stairway leading from top to bottom of the hill. There are 1,008 steps in all, with the first 600 (counting from the bottom) steps being steeper than those higher up. En route to the top, the steps pass the large statue of Nandi the bull; the statue is about 16 feet high and 25 feet in length. Raja DevarajaWodeyar directed the steps’ creation in 1664 and the installation of the statue of Nandi.
From the temple we return near bus stand and from here we will walk to the bottom of the hill.
This walking path is floored with rocks and stairs are also made of rocks. This path first goes towards Nandi Bull. Most of the path is lined with shady trees and benches to sit. One can hang around on the surrounding rocks. At many places path is lined with forever blooming bougainvilleas and shade trees. Path is kept very clean and we see many devotees cleaning or washing this path in segments. It is joy to walk on this path and people actually spend some substantial time here, sitting on the cool rocks and gazing at the scenes.
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At day time there are some vendors selling water, cucumbers and fruits. After 4PM all vendors leave. Path crosses road two times; once it is near the magnificent Bull. Nandi sits open air, 15 feet high, 24 feet in width and is carved out of a single piece of rock, thus making it a monolith. This bull is 3rd largest in India. The largest Nandi is in Lepakshi (A. P).
Second largest is in Brihadeeswarar Temple (TN). The 4th, 6th and 7th largest too are in Karnataka. The fourth largest is in the Bull Temple of Bangalore, sixth and seventh largest are in the much famous Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebidu.
All people visiting Bull Temple want to spend some time here because of its pleasing natural setup. So we also do this.
It is 5PM now and sun is about to set; so let’s resume our walk. We cross the road and take the path again.
After some descend we cross the road again. After some steps, now steps are steep. Some small temples come in our way. We keep walking but stop at several places to relax and to feel the fresh and cool air.
We arrive at the bottom at the entrance gate to this path. To catch the bus we have to make a left, walk past the girl’s college and thence to its bus stop. Many local buses go to Mysore City Bus Stand form here.
We reach at City Bus Stand at 6. 30. It is perfect time to walk in the colorful markets of Mysore. City Bus Stand is very close to the all main markets.