One day in Melkote

One-Day Trip to Melkote (2024)

Escape the bustle of Bangalore with a delightful one-day trip to Melkote, a quaint town nestled in the heart of Karnataka. Explore the rich cultural heritage of this ancient town as you wander through its narrow lanes lined with traditional houses and vibrant markets. Visit the iconic Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, renowned for its stunning Dravidian architecture and intricate carvings. Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambience as you offer prayers and seek blessings at this sacred site.

Indulge your taste buds with authentic South Indian cuisine at local eateries, savouring traditional delicacies like dosas, idlis, and vadas. Stroll around the picturesque Kalyani (pond) and soak in the serene atmosphere surrounded by lush greenery. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Melkote Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, offering nature enthusiasts a glimpse into the region’s biodiversity.

Visiting the Melkote Fort is a must-do for history buffs, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and a glimpse into the town’s storied past. Explore the intricately designed architecture of the fort and learn about its significance in local history.

Whether seeking spiritual solace, cultural immersion, or a break from the city, a one-day trip to Melkote promises a refreshing escape filled with enriching experiences and unforgettable memories. Embark on this journey and discover the timeless charm of this hidden gem in Karnataka.

Melkote had long been a dream destination on my Karnataka bucket list. Despite hearing glowing reviews of its beautiful temples, previous attempts to visit were thwarted by unforeseen circumstances. Determined to experience its charm finally, I meticulously planned a one-day excursion from Bangalore to Melkote, accompanied by a friend. Setting off from Bangalore at the crack of dawn, we arrived in Melkote just before noon, eager to make the most of our time exploring all that this enchanting town had to offer.

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About Melkote

Also recognized as Thirunarayanapuram, Melkote is a petite religious hamlet in the Mandya district of Karnataka. Its name originates in the fortress perched atop a hill, with “Melkote” translating to “fort on a hill” in Kannada.

Every year, Melkote hosts the revered Vairamudi Brahmotsava, a spiritual extravaganza. The highlight of this festivity is the grand procession of the deity Cheluvanarayana Swamy winding through the town’s streets. Adorned atop a golden garuda alongside his consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi, the god mesmerizes devotees. The festival derives its name from the magnificent diamond-studded crown, the Vaira Mudi, adorning the deity during this procession.

Legend intertwines with the festival’s history, recounting the theft of the Vaira Mudi from Lord Narayana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. At the same time, he was slumbered by Virochana, the demon king and son of Prahalada. Garuda, the divine bird, was tasked with reclaiming the crown. After a fierce battle, Garuda emerged victorious.

However, a blue gem from the crown was lost en route, purportedly transforming into a stream near Nachair Koil, a temple town in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu known as Manimuttaru. During his journey, Garuda encountered Bala Krishna playing under the scorching sun. To shield Krishna, Garuda unfurled his wings, casting shade, and placed the crown upon Krishna’s head, later presenting it to Lord Cheluva Narayana.

Did you know that Channapatna boasts one of the rare temples dedicated to Bala Krishna, named the Sri Aprameya Swamy Temple?

How to Get to Melkote?

Travel options to Melkote are varied and accessible:

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Mysore Airport, which is approximately 69 kilometres from Melkote.
  • By Road – Situated around 150 kilometres from Bangalore, Melkote can be reached by road in about 3 hours. The route follows the direction towards Mysore.
  • By Train – The closest railway station to Melkote is Pandavapura near Srirangapatna, roughly 25 kilometres away. For updated train schedules and information, refer to the IRCTC website.
  • By Bus – Regular bus services operate between Bangalore and Mandya, with Mandya being approximately 40 kilometres from Melkote. Local buses are available from Mandya to Melkote. Inquiring at the local bus stop in Mandya is advisable for the most current information.
  • By Taxi – Opting for a taxi, I embarked on a seamless one-day trip from Bangalore to Melkote. I conveniently booked an outstation taxi through the MakeMyTrip website, with the fare totalling INR 4500 for the entire day.

Where to Stay in Melkote?

In Melkote, accommodation options may be limited compared to larger cities, but there are still a few places where you can stay comfortably:

  1. Guesthouses/Homestays: Opting for a guesthouse or homestay can provide a cozy and personalized experience. You may find local families offering rooms for rent, allowing you to immerse yourself in the culture and hospitality of the region.
  2. Hotels: While Melkote may not have many hotels, a few budget-friendly options might be available. These establishments typically offer basic amenities and comfortable lodging for travellers.
  3. Nearby Cities: If you cannot find suitable accommodation in Melkote, consider staying in nearby cities like Mandya or Mysore. These cities offer a more comprehensive range of accommodation choices, including hotels, resorts, and guesthouses, and are within a reasonable driving distance from Melkote.

Here are some 5-star hotels in Mysore:

  1. Grand Mercure Mysuru: This upscale hotel offers luxurious rooms, excellent dining options, a spa, a fitness centre, and an outdoor pool. It’s located near the Mysore Palace, making it convenient for sightseeing.
  2. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore: Situated close to major attractions like the Mysore Zoo and Chamundi Hill, this hotel features elegant rooms, multiple dining options, a spa, a fitness centre, and a rooftop pool with panoramic views.
  3. Fortune JP Palace: This hotel combines modern amenities with traditional architecture. It offers spacious rooms, a variety of dining options, a spa, a fitness centre, and an outdoor pool. It’s located near the Mysore Palace and other landmarks.
  4. Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel: This heritage hotel, formerly a royal palace, offers luxurious rooms, fine dining options, a spa, and outdoor activities like tennis and golf. It’s set amidst sprawling gardens and offers stunning views of the Chamundi Hills.

4 Places to See in Melkote

Note: Melkote is renowned for its delectable tamarind chutney, locally known as puliogre. This tangy and flavorful chutney is traditionally mixed with rice before consumption, adding flavour to every bite.

Sree Yoga Narasimha Temple

The Sree Yoga Narasimha temple, perched atop a hill, is one of Melkote’s primary attractions. Devoted to Lord Yoga Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, this ancient temple is believed to have been constructed approximately 1000 years ago. Its captivating architecture and serene ambience make it a must-visit destination for devotees and architecture enthusiasts.

  • Accessing the temple involves climbing around 100 steps, offering a scenic ascent to the sacred site. While there is no entrance fee, visitors seeking expedited entry to witness the deity can purchase a ticket for INR 50 per person.
  • A word of caution: the temple vicinity is inhabited by mischievous monkeys known to snatch belongings from unsuspecting visitors. Exercise caution and safeguard your belongings accordingly.
  • Ample accessible parking facilities are available at the base of the hill for visitors’ convenience. Before ascending the stairs, leaving footwear in your vehicle is customary as a mark of respect.
  • Furthermore, it’s advisable to dress modestly when visiting religious sites to honour local customs and sentiments. Adhering to these guidelines allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the spiritual experience while paying homage to this revered site.

Melkote Kalyani and Mantapa

Kalyani, a traditional water tank adjacent to temples, holds significant cultural and historical value. The Melkote Kalyani, dating back approximately 1000 years, stands as the largest among the 108 kalyanis in the district. According to legend, it is believed that drops of water from Lord Krishna’s body, in his avatar as Lord Varaha, formed the Kalyani when he lifted the earth from the universal ocean, landing atop a hill at Melkote.

A notable feature of Melkote is its picturesque Mantapa, a pillared hall commonly used for Hindu rituals. Renowned among photographers for its exquisite architecture, the mantapa is a must-see attraction. Its intricate design and historical significance make it a highlight of any visit to Melkote.

  • Regrettably, one side of the Kalyani often suffers from litter and debris due to offerings made by devotees. Despite this, the Kalyani remains a serene and revered spot for spiritual reflection and cultural appreciation.
  • Visitors are permitted to wear footwear while exploring the Kalyani and mantapa, except the area enclosed by the fence near the Kalyani. Respecting local customs, removing footwear before entering this area is customary. By adhering to these guidelines, visitors can fully appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of these sacred sites while paying homage to their cultural significance.

Sree Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple

The Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy, holds a special place in Hindu mythology. It is believed that the utsavamurthi (idol of the main deity) housed within this temple was not only worshipped by Lord Rama but also by the kings of the Surya Vamsa dynasty for generations. Subsequently, this revered deity was entrusted to the Chandra Vamsam dynasty and worshipped by Lord Krishna. This unique aspect of the deity, having been worshipped by both Rama and Krishna, adds to its significance and allure.

  • Visitors to the temple are not required to purchase an entrance ticket. However, for expedited entry to witness the deity, a ticket priced at INR 50 per person is available.
  • Upon arrival, it is customary to leave footwear either outside the temple premises or in your vehicle. This gesture demonstrates respect for the sanctity of the temple and its surroundings.
  • Furthermore, it’s advisable to dress modestly and appropriately when visiting religious sites in observance of local customs and sentiments. By adhering to these guidelines, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the spiritual ambience of the temple while paying homage to its revered deity.

Raaya Gopura

The Raya Gopura, an unfinished temple attributed to Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, is a testament to ancient architectural prowess. Characterized by four towering pillars adorned with intricate carvings and stunning structures, this temple is said to have been erected swiftly, with legends suggesting it was constructed overnight. Accessible via a few steps, the Raya Gopura invites visitors to marvel at its remarkable craftsmanship and ponder the mysteries of its creation.

Raaya Gopuram
Raaya Gopuram

Is Melkote Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Melkote offers a safe environment for solo female travellers to explore. Given its religious significance, visitors generally adhere to a respectful and peaceful demeanour. However, it’s advisable to remain vigilant, particularly around the mischievous monkeys that inhabit the area. As with any destination, exercising caution and awareness of your surroundings, especially after dark, is recommended to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Closing Notes

For history enthusiasts, temple aficionados, and architecture admirers, Melkote is an absolute must-visit destination. This sacred town exudes timeless beauty and offers a captivating journey through the annals of history. Conveniently accessible as a one-day excursion from Bangalore, Melkote promises an enriching experience that leaves a lasting impression. Personally, I was enchanted by its charm and am eager to revisit this enchanting locale again in the future.

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    PIN for later reference – One-Day Trip to Melkote

    PIN for later reference - One day trip to Melkote from Bangalore
    PIN for later reference – One day trip to Melkote from Bangalore