Male Mahadeshwara Hills is situated about 150 km from Mysore and is a sacred place, with its famous Shiva temple. Mahadeswara, as lord Shiva is called in this place, is a deity worshipped by one and all in the surrounding places. Amidst dense forest, the temple attracts not only the pilgrims but also nature lovers.
The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Male Mahadeshwara is located in South end of Karnataka state, in the Chamaraja Nagar District. It is a very popular & holy ancient temple, surrounded by 77 hills in the Eastern Ghats. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is a very famous Shaiva piligrim centre. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara's miracles are beautifully sung by the village folk in Janapada (folk) Style. The height of the hill is about 930 m(3000 feet)above the sea level.
Mahadeshwara is the family god of the Soligas and other hill tribals including Jenu Kurubas, Kadukurubas etc. But, historical evidences suggest that saint Mahadeshwara must have lived during the 15th century. Further, he was the third head of the Haradanahalli Math.. About 600 years ago, Sri Mahadeshwara Swamy came here to perform penance and it is believed that he is still performing penance in the temple's Garbha Gudi in the form of Linga. The Linga, worshipped now in the Garbha Gudi, is a self developed (Swayambhu) one. Sri Male Mahadeshwara Swamy was moving on a tiger known as Huli Vahana (Tiger as a vehicle) and performed a number of miracles around the hills to save the people and saints living there. The area of the temple surroundings is 155.57 acres. In addition, the temple has lands at Talabetta, Haleyuru & Indiganatha Villages.
Story of Mahadeshwara
Ughe Anni Malaya Mahadeshwaranige, Ughe Anni huli govugala kataluva jaga dodayanige. Ughe, Ughe.
Lord Male Mahadeshwara was born in the Kaliyuga. He chose his mother as Uttrajamma. He learnt in Saluru Mutt at Male Mahadeshwara Hills. He has many legends which could are narrated on his name. To name one of them is Sankamma Kate. This narrates about the devotion she had on the Lord. Male Madheshwara narrates the adventures and achievements of a spiritual hero of the Shaiva people of southern Karnataka. Probably he lived in the 14th century. According to the story Mahadeshwara was born to a fair coloured virgin woman. Shiva incarnates himself on earth as Mahadeshwara to destroy an evil king called Shravanasura.
A pilgrimage to Malai Mahadeswara temple also includes a holy dip in the "antaragange", a stream flowing from a perennial source.
The professional singers of the epic story of Lord Mahadeshwara are called "Devara Guddas" (God's children)and 'Kamsaleyavaru' (those singers who keep time with 'Kamsale" --bronze cymbals). They belong to the Halumatha Kuruba community and are initiated into this profession very early in their lives and after initiation, they are required to lead a very discipllined life, as prescribed by tradition. The song and dance routine is called Kamsale
The epic story of Mahadeshwara has seven parts. The outer structure of the epic resembles the pan-Indian Ramayana : Shiva incarnates himself on earth as Madeshwara to destroy an evil king called Shravanasura ('The Hero as Saviour' motif). The epic has seven parts; and, normally, only certain parts are sung as dictated by the taste of the audience or patron. However, the entire epic is sung by pilgrims on their way to the annual fair on the Madheshwara -hill; and it may last for seven consecutive nights. The first part narrates the immaculate birth , childhood, and instruction of Mahadeshwara.
Malai Mahadeshwara Hills is a temple town situated in the eastern part of Kollegal taluk, Chamarajanagar district in the state of Karnataka, India. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is a very famous Shaiva pilgrim centre. It draws lakhs of pilgrims from the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara's miracles are beautifully sung by village folk in the janapada style. According to tradition there are seven hills identified in the puranas as Anumale, Jenumale, Kanumale, Pachchemale, Pavalamale, Ponnachimale and Kongumale. All these hills form M.M. hills
Apart from being a pilgrimage, M.M.Hills possesses natural beauty in the form of large tracts of forest area. The beautiful landscapes of hills and valleys are covered with extensive forests. These forest types vary from evergreen forests in Ponnachi Boli to Dry deciduous forests in most other parts. M.M.Hills is bound by river Kaveri to the north-east and by river Palar to the south. Thus, it forms an extremely important catchment area for both these rivers.
The forests of M.M.Hills have been famous for wonderful regeneration and stock of sandalwood and bamboo. The forests are inhabited by a variety of animals, birds and reptiles. They are found in large numbers too. Elephants are the most prominent species. This last estimate puts the population of elephants at more than 2500 in the district, which includes Bandipur National Park too. Frequent sightings of guars (Indian Bison), sambars, spotted deer, jackals, sloth bears, porcupine, etc., apart from rare sightings of tigers, leopards and wild dogs are possible in and around this area. The Male Mahadeshwara Reserve Forests, has an approximate area of 39361.45 ha and has few small villages like Ponnachi, M.M.Hills, Kombadikki, Kokkebore, Doddane, Tokere, Tholsikere, Palar, Gopinatham, Nagamale, Indiganatham, etc., as enclosures within the reserve forests..
Photos: Sutthona Banni Team- Mysore