Around 60 kilometers north east of Mysore city in the state of Karnataka is to be found on a hilly tract comprising some of the oldest rock formations on the earth's crust. Nestling in the heart of these hills lies the temple town of Melkote. The origins of the towns are lost in antiquity, but it rose to cultural and religious importance in the 12th century AD when the great South Indian philosopher and teacher, Sri Ramanuja lived in the town for twelve years.
Today life in Melkote revolves around the Cheluvanarayanaswamy
temple within the township and the Yoganarasimhaswamy
temple on the hill overlooking Melkote. These temples are repositories of Melkote's living tradition as well as storehouses of academic knowledge of our culture. Thus, as part of the temple precincts is the oldest sanskrit Pathasala in India, dating back to 1853, imparting regular instruction in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy.
One of the best - preserved towns, Melkote is unique in that it has retained its traditional character over the centuries. Historical studies have shown relatively little change in the plan of the town, the type and character of the dwellings and its cultural practice. In this sense, a visit to Melkote or Tirunarayanapuram (as it is also called ) is a unique experience of our own cultural heritage in its living form.
The essence of Indian philosophical as well as religious thought comes alive in the temples of Melkote where the temple rituals and festivals involve many , if not most of the towns population. Some of the more important annual festivals such as the vairamudi Utsava, Teppotsava and the birthday or Tirunakshatram celebrations of important saints are occasions which bring all the people of the town together. Indeed, Melkote is unique in that certain folk festivals such as the Angamani festival have been integrated into the temple rituals, thus making them meaningful to the common man.
How to Reach Melkote Temple:
By Air : Mysore is the nearest domestic airport, which is 50 kms away and Bangalore is the nearest international airport, which is 160 kms away.
By Rail : The nearest railway station is Pandavapura , which is 28 km from Melkote.
By Road : Melukote can be reached from Bangalore 160 Kms, Mysore 50 Kms and Mandya 50 Kms