We started from Bangalore early on Saturday morning and the first destination was Melkote.
Thirunarayanapuram, as it is also called, is around 133 KMs from Bangalore, in Mandhya District and is built on Yadavagiri. The route after you take a right turn from the Mysore Highway is extremely beautiful with all trees and field, resembling the route between Thanjore and Kumbakonam…..So beautiful and so nostalgic.
There are two beautiful temples here. One is Cheluva Narayana Temple and on the top of the hill is ‘Yoga Narashimhar Temple’. Before I go into the history of these temples… let me introduce you to the deities of the temple and shall gradually move into its history.
The presiding deity or ‘Moolavar’ of the temple is ‘Thiru Narayana’ and Processional deity or ‘Utsavar’ is call ‘Selva Pillai’ or ‘Sampath Kumara’ and is housed in Rangamandapa. Legend has it that, the moolavar was held in workship by Bhrahma and the Utsavar was workshipped by Lord Sri Rama and then by his son ‘Kusha’, in Ayodhya. Hence the utsavar is also called ‘Ramapriya’. It is also to be noted that, this utsavar was brought and installed in Melkote by none other than Lord Sri Krishna.
During the early 12 century conflict between Saivaite and Vaishnavites, Ramanujar fled from Srirangam to escape the threat and possible arrest by the Chola king (quite possibly, 2nd kulothunga chozhan) who had turned into a fanatic Saivaite to Mysore and is said to have lived around here and Thonnur for approx. 14 years making it a very important vaishnavite pilgrimage site.
When Ramanujar was living in Thonnur or thondanur, it was mainly a Jain prominent area and was ruled by H.H. Sri Vittala Devarayan. It is said that the princess was suffering from a uncurable Delusion (siddha bramai), Ramanujar cured her. The most pleased king became a follower of Ramanujar and was eventually embraced vaishnavism. He got renamed as Vishnuvardhan.
It is also said that, the 12,000 jains living there wanted to test Ramanujar and he morphed himself into the 10,000 adhisesha from behind a curtain near the narashimhar sannidhi in thonnur temple and answer everyones questions and won them all. All 12,000 of them embrased vaishnavism. Due to the sudden formation of the community, they lacked ‘Sriman’ for everyone. Lord appreared in Ramanujar’s dream and asked him to go to a nearby village called ‘Yadavagiri’ or ‘Yadhugiri’, as Sriman is available there in abundance.
Note: Even today, after almost 1000 years, sriman is still available in Melkote.
When Ramanujar and all his disciples did milk abhisekham to the snake house there, the moolavar thirunarayanar idol exposed itself from inside and with the help of King Vishnuvardhan, Ramanujar has the temple rebuilt. The lord came in Ramanujar’s dream again and asked him to retrieve his utsavar ‘Ramapriya’ from the Mughal king in Delhi. Ramanujar went to Delhi, won over the king and the king showed him his entire collection of idol he had confiscated, but Ramanujar was not able to find Ramapriya idol.
That is the story of the Cheluve Narayana Temple.
The Vairamudi Sevai in the month of March-April is very famous here. The image of Selvappillai is adorned with a beautiful diamond crown and taken out in procession.
The traditional belief is that, this crown is not to be looked at, when it is not worn by perumal; Hence, before the sevai, the chief/ represented priest is blindfolded before he picks up the crown from its chest till placing it upon the head of the image of Selvappillai. Thousands congregate to celebrate this grand occasion each year and the beauty of perumal is magnified multitude times with the crown on his head.
History of Vairamudi
Legend has it that, this Vairamudi was worn by Sriman Narayanan himself in Paar Kadal (Sheera Sagara or Milky Ocean). During early dwapara yuga, Prahlada’s son, Virochana, who was a demon, like his grandfather, stole it and to it to the paadala loka.
Lord summoned Garuda to retrieve it from Virochana. Garuda fought Virochana and returned with the crown. When he was flying above Thanjavur, a big blue gem fell from the crown near Nachiar Koil and turned into a stream. The stream even flows today in Thanjavur and is called ‘Mani Muthaaru’.
When Garuda was flying over Brindavan, saw Baala Krishnan playing with his friends in mid day sun. To protect him from the sun he spread his wing over him and placed the crown on his head, before returning to Sheera Sagara.
Lord Krishna, in the later years, took the Utsavar, Chella Pillai from Ayodhya and installed it in Melkote. He adorned the Chella pillai image with that diamond crown which Garuda gave him.
It is celebrated as a huge Bhramhotsava for almost 13 days. It is also said that the vaira mudi should not be exposed to daylight, so the same is brought under extreme tight security in a palenquin and is fitted on lord by the chief priest, who covers his eyes with a silk cloth till he places it on perumal’s head.
Taken from internet
I will follow this with the other related temples & places like, Narashimha temple, Thonnur, etc…..
Om Namo Narayanaya!!!!!
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