The young saint is supposed to have come from Srishaila to this part of the state. He is said to have performed several miracles in his life, in these places. Afterwards he went to the hillside. Male Mahadeshwara Hills is a dense forest area surrounded by seventy seven hills in seven circles. It was not a safe place for human habitation. It was about six centuries ago that the young saint went in to the forest area, to save the saints who were performing penance and were taken captive by an evil king known as Shravana who possessed abundant black magic power. Apart from this there were tribes living here and there in small groups who were devoid of any rays of human civilization. It is said that the Lord Sri Mahadeshwara destroyed the black magic power of Shravana and got released the saints who were in his prison. The place where they were kept in prison is also a holy place, called Thavasere and the place where Shravana lived is called Shravana Boli.
According to the Indian Purana traditions, there are seven hills in Male Mahadeshwara Hills. This hill is identified in the Puranas as Anumale, Jenumale, Kanumale, Pachchemale, Pavalamale, Ponnachimale and Kongumale. All these hills form the M.M. Hills.
It is said that the saint Lord Mahadeshwara established a Mutt here for looking after the religious and cultural affairs of the people of this area. It is also said that, through his miracles, he enlightened and uplifted the hill tribes & made them his disciples. The people coming from these families have become hereditary 'Archaks' of the Mahadeshwara temple.
Mahadeshwara temple was under the control and management of Sri Salur Mutt established by the Lord Mahadeshwara himself until it was handed over to the Madras Government in the year 1953. After the formation of the state of Karnataka, the administration of the Temples is done by the trust committee, appointed by the Karnataka Government under the Muzrai Department.