Shri Malai Mahadeshwara Betta

Male Mahadeshwara Hills or Malai (Male) Mahadeshwara Betta or MM 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. Distance from Mandakalli to Male Mahadeshwarabetta, Karnataka is 136.5 km and travellling time is around 3 h 2 min via NH766 and Kollegala-Male Mahadeshwara Betta Road.

The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Male Mahadeshwara is located in South end of Karnataka, 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.

Main god Sri Mahadeshwara Swamy
Sub-temples Sri Nagamale
Sri Adi Madappa
Sri Indi Basavwshwara
Sri Goujala Katte Basaveshwara
Sri Bale Kallu Basaveshwara
Sri Tapasare
Sri Paada Dhare
Sri Karaiah's Boli
Sri Kanave Basappa
Stone Statue Sri Veerabhadra at the door of the Garbha Gudi - 2
Pancha Loha Statue Sri Uma Maheshwara for Utsava
Sri Mahadeshwara on Tiger - 2
Crown Nava Ratna
Chariots Silver-tiger chariot
Silver-Basava chariot
Bronze chariot
Rudrakshi-mantap chariot
Colored Chariots Tiger chariot
Cobra chariot
Bird chariot
Kamadenu chariot
Horse chariot
Elephant chariot
Golden Chariot Golden Chariot
MahaRatha Maha Radha (Chariot)
Agama Virashivagama
Main Utsavas (Festivals) Diwali, Maha Shivaratri & Ugadi
Special Days Shravana, Mahalaya, Dasara, Diwali, Mondays of Karthika, Maha Shivaratri & Ugadi
Nityotsavas Silver-tiger chariot, Silver-Basava chariot & Rudrakshi Mantap chariot
Pushkarini Anthara Gange

Rituals & Sevas:
There will be poojas & Archana thrice a day, the first worship of the day starts at 5.30 in the morning & Rudrabhisheka is performed between morning 6 & 8 and again between 10.30am and 12 noon. The evening poojas will take place between 6.30 and 8.00. There will be special poojas on Sankashta Chathurthi, Amavasya & Pournami. The most special pooja is known as Maha Rudrabhisheka will be performed only on Thursdays on behalf of the devotees who contribute for that.

After the morning pooja, the special procession of the deity will be done with all temple honours. The Government has fixed the rates of the sevas.

Anna Dasoha Bhavana:
At present everyday nearly 4000 people who are visiting the temple are provided with free food in Dasoha Bhavana building. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs.1 Crore. Devotees may contribute for Anna Dasoha Seva. If any devotee pays one Rs. 1501 or more for Anna Dasoha, it will be kept in eternal fixed deposit & its interest amount will be utilised for Anna Dasoha Seva. Devotees can also contribute in Cash or vegitables or corns or paddy or rice etc.

Story of Mahadeshwara
Ughe Anni Malaya Mahadeshwaranige, Ughe Anni huli govugala kataluva jaga dodayanige. Ughe, Ughe.

There are two very long and most widely sung naratives in Kannada: Male Madheshwara and Manteswamy. Both these can be called cult epics to differentiate them from historical/fictional narratives.

The first scholar to collect Male Madheshwara was Dr. P.K.Rajashekhara in 1972. He, having the first Kalevala as his model, gathered different versions from multiple narrators, chose the 'best' parts from each, and arranged them in a particular chronological order. His published version in two volumes (Mysore University, 1972) ran to more than 30,000 lines. Recently, Dr. Keshavan Prasad, Dept. of Tribal Studies, Kannada University, collected a single-narrator version, sung by the great artist Sri Hebbani Madayya. This version, published by Kannada University, Hampi (1997) contains, approximately, 20,000 lines, besides a good introduction and an extended interview with the singer. I have translated this entire text into English with a critical introduction and glossary. It is published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi; pp. 444, price Rs. 220.

Similarly, though there had been multiple-narrator versions earlier, the second epic, Manteswamy, (single-narrator version) was collected by Dr. Hi.Chi. Boralingayya in 1997 ( Kannada University, Hampi) Kannada University has brought out single-narrator versions of many other long and popular narratives such as Junjappa, Kumara Rama, Siri, etc.

Male Madheshwara narrates the adventures and achievements of a spiritual hero of the Veerashaiva sect. Probably he lived in the 14th century. The text refers to him as one who came from the north; but this may merely refer to the north of Karnataka, probably the city of Kalyana.

The professional singers of this epic are called 'Devara Guddaru'( God's children) and 'Kamsaleyavaru' (those singers who keep time with 'Kamsale" --bronze cymbals). They 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. Normally, there are three to five in a group of whom one is a lead singer and the others join him in chorus. In this context, 'sing' perhaps is not a very appropriate term; 'performance' could be more suitable. What happens is that after each line, the secondary singers fill in with such words of reinforcement as 'yes,' 'yes, sir' 'what?' etc.; and, at the end of each unit (of about 10 to 15 lines) the secondary singers sing in chorus the particular refrain of the particular part of the epic. (Each part has a different refrain.)

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 epic (single-narrator version) has seven parts. After traditional invocation, the first part narrates the immaculate birth , childhood, and instruction of Madeshwara. The second part narrates the ways through which Madeshwara gets a wealthy farmer, Junje Gowda, as his devotee to build him a temple on the Seven Hills. The next part is devoted to the destruction of the evil king, Shravanasura. Next we have the longest and most moving episode called Sankamma. This episode dramatises the suffering of a proud woman called 'Sankamma,' and the ordeals that she successfully undergoes in order to retain her dignity as a virtuous wife. The fifth episode, slightly comic in tone, depicts the rise and fall of a vainglorious and miserly woman, called 'Bevinatti Kalamma.' The last but one episode narrates how Madeshwara gets two simple and god-fearing people, Moogayya and his wife, as his devotees. The concluding part, besides traditional ending with benediction, gives a brief summary of the entire epic.

Devara Guddas
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 Karnataka. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara is the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Malai Mahadeshwara Hills 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

Male Mahadeshwara Kannada Janapada Folk Songs

Forest Wealth
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.

Hotels, Accomodation At Malai Mahadeshwara Hills Betta

The boarding & lodging with modern amenities are available for devotees visiting Male Mahadeshwara. The guest houses include Shiva Darshini, Mahadeshwara Bhavan, Guru Darshini, Giri Darshini, Kaveri Darshini, Surya Darshini, SriShila Bhavan, Sambram Veda Guest House & SriShila Bhavan. The tariff details are as follows:

Name Detail Rate
Shiva Darshini 3 beds / 6 persons Rs. 200
Mahadeshwara Bhavan Double Cots / 4 persons Rs.100
Guru Darshini 3 beds / 6 persons Rs.150
Giri Darshini (for VIPs) - Rs.200
Kaveri Darshini 3 beds / 6 persons Rs.200
Surya Darshini 3 beds / 6 persons Rs.200
SriShila Bhavan 3 beds / 6 persons Rs.200
Sambram Veda Guest House 4 persons Rs.75/100
SriShila Bhavan 3 beds / 6 persons Rs.200
Tubular Structured Pilgrim Sheds [TSPS] - Rs.75
Pilgrims Rest House [PRH] - Rs.75

Lakhs of devotees participate in the Maharatotsava conducted as part of Deepavali festival at Male Mahadeshwara Hill, Kollegal, Chamarajanagar district. Apart from devotees from across Karnataka, the celebrations attracted huge crowds from the neighbouring states of TamilNadu and Andhra Pradesh. Along with the different rituals including Hulivahana, Basava Vahana, Rudrakshi Mantapa, folk and cultural troupes perform 'veeragase', 'puja kunita', 'Mahadeshwara guddara kunita' and others, marking the inauguration of the car festival celebrations at the hills. Following the pujas inside the temple, the procession deity is taken around the temple in the ratha.

Male Mahadeshwara Temple Postal Address

Mahadeshwara Temple Office
Shri Male Mahadeswara Swamy Temple,
Mahadeswara Hills, Kollegal,
Chamarajnagar, Karnataka 571490
Phone Number: 082252 72270

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