Chamundi Hills in Mysore is THE hotspot of Karnataka. My tour guide from goMowgli said it’s basically sacrilegious to visit Mysore and not climb the hill, see the Chamundeshwari temple and giant Nandi, Mahishasura statue, and hear the ancient story.
I was being a lazy butt, so we drove to the top and on the way the story was told to me. I enjoyed it so much and knew I couldn’t tell it to you the same way it was told to me so asked my guide, Sunil, to please type it up for me so you could hear it the same way I did.
The Story of Chamundi Hills, Mysore
Before we get to the story, we have to set the context about Indian Mythology.
In the pantheon of gods here, we have the Holy Trinity: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the protector and Shiva the destroyer. These are the 3 gods that keep the universe working. Also, the 3 gods have 3 wives to help them out in their duties. Shiva’s wife is Parvati and both of them live in the Himalayas.
The legend of Mysore goes something like this:
There was a demon king in South India who fell in love with a Buffalo lady and they got married. They had a son who had a special quality – He could turn into a buffalo or a demon whenever he wanted. And true to his character, his name was Mahishasura – meaning the demon who is a buffalo.
Our demon was very ambitious and thus he meditated Brahma’s name for many years after which Brahma became very happy and came in front of him and asked for a wish. M asked for immortality which Brahma promptly refused and asked him to ask for something else. So M asked Brahma to make him so powerful that no man can kill him. In a moment of stupidity, Brahma granted him the wish.
So M started killing the gods and conquering the world. The gods got very worried and went to Brahma for help. Brahma refused to help as he had already given M his word. The gods could not find any help from Vishnu either.
So they did the long hike up the Himalayas and went to meet Shiva. Shiva said he wished he could help but he could not as he was a man himself. At this moment, Parvati overheard the conversation and detected a loophole in Brahma’s boon. The deal was no man can kill him – a woman can though.
However, she was not warrior and she needed weapons to go kill M. So all the gods started giving her their powers and weapons. Suddenly she had so many weapons that she did not have enough arms to hold them!
So she grew more arms to hold them. Somebody even gave her a lion, on which she sat and did the long hike to South India.
Here, she fought M on top of a hill for 10 days, after which she killed him. These 10 days represents the battle of good over evil and is celebrated as the festival of Dasara all over India. This avatar of Parvati is called Chamundeshwari or Chamundi and the hill on which she fought is now known as Chamundi Hill.
The capital of M is the present city of Mysore. It was originally called Mahishana Ooru – meaning, the city of Mahisha and over a period of time it changed to Mysore.
Feature image is via gomowgli, the tour company I was with to see Chamundi Hills.
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