Location of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is located in Melkote in the Mandya District of Karnataka. The place where Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is located is also known as Thirunarayanapura.
History of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is richly endowed, having been under the special patronage of the Mysore Rajas, and has a most valuable collection of jewels. As early as 1614, the Mysore king Raja Wodeyar in the later medieval era who first acquired Srirangapatna and adopted the Srivaishnava faith, handed over to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple and the Brahmins at Melkote, the estate was granted to him by Vijaynagar king Venkatapati Raya.
On one of the pillars of navaranga of the Narayanaswami temple is a bas relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar (Wodeyar Kings), standing with folded hands, with the name inscribed on the base. He was said to be a great devotee of the presiding deity and a constant visitor to the temple. A gold crown set with precious jewels was presented by him to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. This crown is known as the Raja-mudi after his name. A legend says that on the day of his death, he was observed entering the sanctum and was seen no more afterwards. From the inscriptions on some of the gold jewels and on gold and silver vessels in the temple it is learnt that they were presents from Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and his queens. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also presented to the temple a crown set with precious jewels. It is known after him as Krishnaraja-mudi. Vairamudi or Vajramukuta, another crown of great value, seems to be older than Raja-mudi and Krishnaraja-mudi and it is not known as to who gave it to the temple. All the three crowns in Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple are kept in the safe custody of the Government of Karnataka and brought to Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple on specific annual occasion for adoring the image of Cheluvanarayana Swamy. The Vairamudi Festival, which is the chief annual celebration, is attended by more than 400,000 people of this region who visit Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple.
Mythological History of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
According to the mythological history of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, this metallic image was lost and was recovered by Sri Ramanujacharya. The annual report of the Mysore Archaeological Department states on the strength of epigraphic evidence of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, that the presiding deity of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple was already a well known object of worship before Sri Ramanujacharya worshipped at the shrine in December 1098 CE and even before he came to the Mysore region and that very probably he used his influence to rebuild or renovate Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. From the monolithic records of the period of early medieval rule in South India, the existence of Tamil influence and Vaishnava worship in the area are also evident.
Architecture of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is built on rocky hills known as Yadavagiri or Yadugiri overlooking the river valley of Kaveri River. It is about 30 miles from Mysore, Karnataka and 97 miles from Bengaluru.
Structure of Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is a square building of large dimensions but very plain according to the architectural excellence of Chalukyas. Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Tirunarayana. The utsavamurthi, which is a metallic image, representing the deity which is called Cheluvapille Raya or Cheluvanarayana Swamy whose original name appears to have been Ramapriya, is now worshipped with much glory and admiration.