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Chamundi Hill is about 13 kms from Mysore, which is a prominent city in Karnataka State, India. Chamundi Hills is famous not only in India but also abroad. Atop the hills is the famous Sri Chamundeswari Temple. ‘Chamundi’ or ‘Durga’ is the fierce form of ‘Shakti’. She is the slayer of demons, ‘Chanda’ and ‘Munda’ and also ‘Mahishasura’, the buffalo-headed monster.

She is the tutelary deity of the Mysore Maharajas and the presiding deity of Mysore whose poepole hold her in great esteem. For several centuries they have held the Goddess, Chamundeswari, in great reverence.

‘Skanda Purana’ and other ancient texts mention a sacred place called ‘Trimuta Kshetra’ surrounded by eight hills. Lying on the western side is the Chamundi Hills, one among the eight hills. In the earlier days, the Hills was identified as ‘Mahabaladri’ in honour of God Shiva who resides in the ‘Mahabaleswara Temple’. This is the oldest temple on the hills.

In the later days, the hills came to be known as ‘Chamundi Hills’ in honour of the Goddess Chamundi, the chief subject of the ‘Devi Mahathme’. The Goddess is believed to be an incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A large number of devotees from all over the country and from abroad visit the temple every year. They believe that the Goddess fulfills their desires and aspirations.

Chamundi Hills rises to a height of 3,489 feet and is visible from a distance itself while traveling towards Mysore. There is a good motorable road to the top. Besides from Mysore side, there is also a motorable road from its rear side, the Nanjangud side.

Bus facilities are available to visit the hills. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular bus services every day for the convenience of pilgrims and others.

The crowning glory of Mysore, Chamundi Hills is an enchanting place surrounded by natural beauty. In the forest, there are varieties of trees, birds and animals. While going up the hills, a bird’s eye view of Mysore is seen and several prominent places can be spotted. It offers a spectacular scene when the Palace and its surroundings are illuminated during the Dasara and other occasions.

Some of the places that can be spotted from the hills are the Palace, Lalitha Mahal Palace, which houses the ITDC hotel, Dasara Exhibition grounds, Race Course, Kukkarahalli Lake, St. Philomena’s Church, and Krishnarajasagar at a far off distance.

Besides the Chamundi and the Mahabaleswara temples, there are a few more temples atop the hills. There are also some interesting spots and the monolith statue of ‘Nandi’ is among them. While proceeding towards the Chamundi Temple, the statue of ‘Mahishasura’ attracts the visitors. The ‘Chamundi Village’ is located close to the temple.

The all-powerful Goddess
‘Srimad Devi Bhagavatha’, which narrates the glory of Chamundeswari, is said to have been authored by Sage Vyasa. It comprises 18,000 stanzas. Sage Shounaka Maharshi is said to have described this great Purana to Suta and other Rishis and Munis, or the holy men.

Hindu traditions hold feminine form in high esteem considering it as a symbol of ‘Shakti’. She is 'Adi Shakti' or primordial force. She is the mother supreme. All Gods including her consort, Shiva, honour her as the supreme power. As she is a combination of the ‘Trimurthis’, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, devotees believe her to be the most powerful and worship her with faith and reverence.

It is described that pure energy blazed forth from the trinity forming the pure energy of Godhood, all concentrating at one point that took the form of Goddess Durga.

Her face reflected the light of Shiva. Her ten arms were from Lord Vishnu, the preserver. Her feet were from Lord Brahma, the creator. The tresses were formed from the light of Yama, the god of death and the two breasts from the light of Somanatha, the Moon God. The waist was from the light of Indra, the king of gods.

Her legs and thighs were from the light of Varuna, the god of oceans and hips from the light of Bhoodevi (Mother Earth). Her toes were from the light of Surya (Sun God), fingers of the hand from the light of the Vasus, the children of Goddess River Ganga, and nose from the light of Kubera, the keeper of wealth for the Gods.

The teeth were formed from the light of Prajapati, the lord of creatures, the triad of her eyes was born from the light of Agni, the fire god, the eyebrows from the two Sandhyas, i.e, sunrise and sunset, and the ears from the light of Vayu, the god of wind.

Thus from the energy of these gods, as well as from many other gods, goddess Durga emerged, say the holy works. As she is the goddess in whom the powers of other gods manifest, she is held in great reverence.

To the left of Chamundi temple, stands a gigantic statue of Mahishasura or Buffalo-demon, in a threatening posture 3.5 meters tall holding broad and curved sword in his right hand and a serpent in his left hand.

In order to slay Mahishasura and other demons, Gods gave her their weapons and other divine objects and made her all powerful.

Lord Shiva gave her a trident while Lord Vishnu gave her a disc. Varuna, gave her a conch and noose, and Agni gave her a spear. From Vayu, she received arrows. Indra gave her a thunderbolt and his white-skinned elephant Airavata gave her a bell.

From Yama, she received a sword and shield and from Vishwakarma (god of architecture) an axe and armour. The god of mountains, Himavat gifted her with jewels and a lion to ride on.

Durga was also given many other precious and magical gifts, new clothing, and a garland of immortal lotuses for her head and breasts.

Bedecked in jewels and golden armor and equipped with the fearsome weaponry of the gods, the beautiful Durga was ready to engage in battle with the fierce and cruel Mahishasura. Mahishasura and his demon allies found their attention drawn from heaven to earth as Durga's power moved its way towards heaven. Though confident of their powers and control in heaven, the demons could not help being awestruck.

As Durge struck down Mahishasura's armies effortlessly, it became obvious to the monster that he was not as secure in heaven as he had thought. No demon could fight her and win. Her breath would replenish her armies - bringing back to life all of her soldiers who fell. The demons were in chaos and were easily defeated and captured.

Mahishasura was shocked and enraged by the disastrous events on the battlefield. He took on the form of a demonic buffalo and charged at the divine soldiers of Durga, goring and killing many and lashing out with his whip-like tail. Durga's lion pounced on the demon-buffalo and engaged him in a battle. While he was thus engaged, Durga threw her noose around his neck.

Mahishasura then assumed the form of a lion and when Durga beheaded the lion, Mahishasura escaped in the form of a man who was immediately face to face with a volley of arrows from Durga. The demon escaped yet again and then having assumed the form of a huge elephant, battered Durga's lion with a tusk. With her sword Durga hacked the tusk into pieces.

The demon reverted once more to the form of the wild buffalo. He hid himself in the mountains from where he hurled boulders at Durga with his horns. Durga drank the divine nectar, the gift of Kubera. She then pounced on Mahishasura, pushing him to the ground with her left leg. She grasped his head in one hand, pierced him with her sharp trident held in another, and with yet another of her ten hands she wielded her sword, beheading him.

At last the demon, who was posing a threat to gods and people, fell dead. The scattered surviving remnants of his once invincible army fled in terror.

Durga emerged victorious as ‘Mahishasura Mardhini’ (slayer of buffalo-headed monster). Gods who were watching the battle from the heavens with anxiety showered petals and sang her praises.

 

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