Mysore, Shiva Samudra, Srirangapattana, Nanjangud and Melkote: Mysore: the city named after Mahishura the most dreaded Demon named Mahisharura who was destroyed by Devi Chamundeshwari on Chamundi Hills, is indeed the City of Culture, Arts and Music and the City of Palaces, the largest City in Karnataka next only to Bangalore and Mangalore. It was the erstwhile Vasal State of Wodiyars under the Vijaya nagar empire and subsequently under Hyder Ali the son of Tipu Sultan in 18th century. As the City of Palaces, Mysore is known for Amba Vilas or Mysore Palace where the popular Dassera Nava Ratri Festival is celebrated, Jaj Mohan Palace an Art Museum, Lalita Mahal now a 5 star Hotel etc. The sprawling Brindavan Gardens adjacent to Krishna Raja Sagar Dam is another attraction with its ‘Son et Lumeir’ Shows of Light and Music. More importantly, the Chamundeshwari Mandir on the Chamundi hills is famed as a significant draw for the Devi Bhaktas, especially during ‘Nava Ratra’ festivities.
Shiva Samudra:From Mysore of about 20 km via Maddur are ‘Shiva Samudra Falls’ as two powerful flows of River Kaveri fall down by 200 feet and merge together! This Place is also called Madhya- Rangam. Interestingly there is a bridg in between the two powerful and roaring flows of Kaveri which are spread out. That Place down the bridge is known as Sapta Dhara Tirtha. At Shiva Samudra there is a Sacred Mandir of Shri Ranga( Bhagavan Narayana) as Seshashayi in lying down posture. From Shiva Samudra Island about a km. or so on Vidigiriranga Mountain in Chakraranya Kshetra, there is also another Mandir of Chaturbhuja Srinivasa and nearby there is a River named Bhargavi, where Parashrama is stated to have performed Tapasya for long.
Sriranga pattana: Some 6 km away from Mysore is Srirangapattana where Gautami Maharshi installed Sriranga Murti. It is stated that River Kaveri’s three ‘Dhaaras’ or Flows of Kaveri are united as Adi Rangam,the second flow as Madhya Ranga and the third one as the Antima Ranga and the combined flow as Shriranga where Sesha Saayi Shri Ranga is installed. Opposite the Shri Ranga Mandir is that of Lakshmi Nrisimha.
p style=”text-align: justify;”>Nanjanguda: From Mysore some 10 km away Nanjungud has a fairly big Mandir isdedicated to Nanjudeshwara or Nila kantha Deva which is considered as among 108 Shiva Kshetras in Bharat and is called Garal puri or Dakshina Kasi situated on the banks of Kavyani and Gundal Rivers, which is quite nera to the Chamundi Hills, where on every Purnima threre is a Ratha Yatra Utsava, and on Chitra and Margasirsha Purnima Ratha Yatras are special festivities. Besides the Shiva Linga Murti of Nanjudeshwara, there is a Devi Parvati Mandir besides other Murtis.
Melukote/ Yadavagiri is considered as one of the most important Vaishnava Kshetras in Dakshina Bharat, besides Shri Rangam and Kanchi puram in Tamil nadu,Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh. Of the 108 Vaishnava Kshetras all over Bharat, Yadavagiri’s Narayana Mandira is reckoned among the essential one. The utmost significance of this Tirtha is mainly due to Guru Ramanujacharya’s long assoiciation with and residence for about sixteen years. He was also responsible of ‘Punaruddharana’ or revival and reconstruction of this Kshetra. Besides the Main Temple of Narayana and the Utsava Murti of Parikrama- the original Sampatkumara Swami, there is a Panchatarani Tirtha also called Veda Pushkarini. Besides on the Mountain nearby threre is also a Yoga Nrisimha Mandir. Paridhana shila is reputed as the Rock where Bhagavan Dattatreya took to Sanyasa; Ramanujacharya too is stated to have repeated his Sanyasa once again by assuming the Dhama again with a fresh set of Kamandalu, Kashaya vastra etc. after bathing at Panchatarani. Even the practice is followed by several Sanyasis of Vaishnava Faith. There is an inteteresting story popular in the Area: when once Ramanujacharya experienced shortage of ‘Tirumana’ or the ‘Sweta mrittika’ or white earth paste with which Vaishnavites decorate their foreheads with ‘Tilaka’and kept on worrying in his night sleep; at an early mornimg dream, Bhagavan Narayana appeared and told that there was a plentiful stock of Tirumani available with Him and directed the Acharya to reach a specific Tulasi Vana in the Mountain garden. After his snaana and daily ‘Anushthana’, Mahatma Ramanuja ascended the mountain with his close associates and reached a Tulasi Garden as directed; he dug up down a foot underneath and discovered a Narayana Pratima along with Tirumani. The Acharya built a Mandir and installed the Idol formally with Veda Mantras! Another interesting story is in circulation about Ramanujaacharya in the Temple premises. When the Acharya arrived at the Melukote Mandir there was no Mula Vigraha of Narayana was missing and the Parikrana Vigraha named Sampat Kumara Swami was installed instead since the Soldiers of Delhi Badsha plundered the Yadavagiri Temple and took away the Narayana Vigraha and presumably gifted to Delhi Badsha. On realising the background, the Acharya visited Delhi and approached the Durbar; the Acharya was asked to approach the Princess as the Vigraha was gifted to her and she kept it as a menento! She not only agreed to return but also desired to accompany it to witness its re-installation at Yadaagiri. But alas! On her way itself she succumbed to a heart attack and died as though there was a dispensation of divine justice!