The Chamundi Hills, 3,489 feet above the sea level, is located 12 Kms away from Mysore city. Found here are a number of temples built in the days of yore. The largest and the best know is the large Dravidian Temple, dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari Devi, the tutelary deity of Mysore, and generally regarded as an incarnation of Parvati or Durga. Her image on the hill rides a lion and has twenty hands. It is said that Raja Wodeyar (about 1600 AD) intended to build a gopura, and for that purpose erected four large pillar posts, which were removed when the present gopura was built by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. He built a gopura with golden finials, and set up statues of himself and his 3 queens in the presence of the Goddess. In 1827 he made arrangements for festivals and processions.
The Nandi bull is found half-way up the hill. It is said to have been fashioned in a single night out of the basalt of the hill. The colossal statue, over 25 feet long and 4.8 metres high, is adorned with ropes, chains, bells and jewels of stone. The statue was a gift of Dodda Deva Raja.
St. Philomena's Church was built in AD 1840. It was initially known as St. Joseph Chaver which later assumed the present name. The then king of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, laid the foundation for the construction of the church in 1933. It has been designed by a French architect. The twin towers of this gothic-designed church stand high at 175 feet. The stained glass windows, made in France, overlooking the apse, showing the Birth of Christ, Baptism of Christ by St. John, the last supper and the crucifixion of Christ are real works of art. The altar bears the statue of St. Philomena, a 3rd century saint from Greece. The church has a cellar where there is a statue of St.Philomina in a reclining posture. A piece of her bone and clothes are kept in this church. The church is located about I km from Mysore Palace on the Bengaluru highway.
Situated in the unobtrusive village of Somanathpur, 35km from Mysore, the exquisitely carved, star-shaped Somanathapuram temple with triple towers is a perfect example of Hoysala architecture. The friezes on its outer walls with intricately carved rows of caparisoned elephants, charging horsemen, and mythological birds and beasts are bound to leave one spellbound. Beautifully sculpted images of gods, goddesses and scenes from the epics, as well as the remarkable ornate ceilings in the pillared hall are remarkably well done.
These are therefore the various places of pilgrimage tourism in Mysore district.
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