The Spiritual Path: 5 Must-Visit Temples Along The Bangalore-Mysore Highway 

Here are the top 5 temples to visit along this highway, each offering a unique experience of history and architectural splendour
Temples in Karnataka
Srirangapatna RanganathaSwamy TempleWikipedia

In the fast-paced life of Bengaluru, where the demands of work and city living often take a toll on your well-being, it's essential to take that much-needed break and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. While catching flights and exploring faraway destinations may not always fit into the hectic schedule of busy professionals, a spiritual road trip along the Bengaluru-Mysore highway can be just as refreshing and fulfilling. This well-travelled route, spanning around 150 kilometres, offers more than just a means of reaching Mysore; it's a gateway to Karnataka's rich heritage and cultural landmarks. The temples in this corridor are steeped in centuries-old traditions and architecture, and each temple along the way tells a story, inviting travellers to step back in time and experience the divine essence that has shaped the history of the region.  

Here are the top 5 temples to visit along this highway, each offering a unique experience of history and architectural splendour.  

Sri Aprameya Swamy Temple, Doddamallur

Temples in South India
Constructed by the Cholas in the 11th century, the temple dazzles with its traditional Dravidian architectureTripAdvisor

Just as you settle into the rhythm of the highway, the vibrant toy town Channapatna emerges. You will drive through shops on both sides of the road, decked up with colourful wooden horses and a myriad of other traditional wooden toys. Amidst this whimsical scenery, in a quaint village named Doddamallur, stands the mighty Sri Aprameya Swamy Temple, a serene oasis dedicated to Lord Krishna in playful form as Navneetha Krishna (Krishna with butter). Legend has it that the temple is over 1500 years old and is known as the Ayodhya of the South or the Dakshina Ayodhya, as Lord Rama visited this temple and stayed there for a while and worshipped the main deity, Lord Aprameya. 

Constructed by the Cholas in the 11th century, the temple dazzles with its traditional Dravidian architecture, and the five-tiered Raja Gopura depicts the epic of Dashavatara. The temple complex houses the main deity, Lord Aprameya, along with his consort, Sri Aravindavalli, enshrined in another sanctum. However, the major attraction is the cute Ambegalu Navneetha Krishna in the crawling position with butter in his right hand; it is believed that this is the only temple with Krishna in this pose. Here, you'll often spot happy mothers with their newborns, offering heartfelt prayers for the gift of a child, and childless couples perform special poojas to Krishna to bless them with a child and offer silver swings to Navneetha Krishna when their wishes come true.  

Maddur Sri Ugra Narasimha Temple

While Maddur is renowned for its delectable Maddur Vada—a snack that's become synonymous with the town, there's also a spiritual treasure waiting to be discovered here. Drive further down the road from Channapatna, in the quiet lanes of Maddur, lies this Sri Ugra Narasimha Temple, a marvel etched in stone. As the story goes to the Dwapura Yuga, it is said that during a crucial moment in the Mahabharata, Arjuna requested Lord Krishna to show his Ugra(angry) Avatara (incarnation or form) of Lord Narasimha so that he could regain some strength and internal peace as he was engaged in a fierce battle against the Kauravas. But Lord Krishna explained that witnessing the Ugra avatar would be too overwhelming for mortal eyes. Hence, he requested Brahma to create the statue of Lord Narasimha, depicting his ferocious aspect and symbolizing friendliness, divine protection, and power. The delighted Arjuna prayed, meditated, and gained the strength to continue the war. The Ugra Narasimha here is found with three eyes and eight hands, where his two hands are holding tightly the demon Hiranya Kashyipu, the other two other hands slaying the demon and removing the asuras intestine and wearing it and his weapons in the other four hands. Near to the ferocious statue, one can witness the Garuda statue to the left and Bhakta Prahalada to the right.  

Temples in Mysore
Maddur Sri Ugra Narasimha TemplePradyumna Rao/Google Photos

Nimishamba Temple

Perched on the scenic banks of the Cauvery River, the Nimishamba temple is renowned for its tranquil environment and spiritual ambience. The primary deity, Nimishamba, is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and devotees believe that she possesses the divine power to fulfil devotees' wishes within a minute, as "Nimisha" translates to "minute" in Sanskrit and Amba is the name of Parvati.  This unique belief draws numerous pilgrims who seek immediate blessings and solutions to their problems. The serene setting of the temple, combined with the gentle flow of the Cauvery River, enhances the spiritual experience for devotees.  

Melukote Cheluva NarayanaSwamy Temple

Temples in Karnataka
Melukote Cheluva NarayanaSwamy TempleWikimedia Commons

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Melukote in Karnataka, the Cheluva Narayana Swamy temple is a revered pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Vishnu, dating back to the 12th century. Revitalized by the great sage Ramanuja Acharya, who discovered the ancient idol of Cheluva NarayanaSwamy hidden in a well, the temple became a significant centre of Sri Vaishnavism tradition. The deity is fondly called Cheluva Pillai Sampad Kumara, which translates to "beloved child" or "dear child", and one of the temple's highlights is the annual Vairamudi Utsav, where the deity is adorned with a legendary diamond crown and paraded through the town, drawing thousands of devotees. The temple, surrounded by sacred water bodies and lush greenery, offers a tranquil and spiritually enriching experience.  

Srirangapatna RanganathaSwamy Temple

The Srirangapatna RagnathaSwamy Temple, located on an island in the Kaveri River in Karnataka, is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture and one of the most significant Vaishnavite shrines in South India. Dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, a reclining form of Lord Vishnu, the temple dates back to the 9th century and was significantly enhanced by the rulers of the Ganga, Hoysala and Vijayanagara dynasties. The sanctum houses a strikingly beautiful idol of Lord Ranganatha reclining on the serpent Adisesha, exuding divine tranquillity. The temple complex is adorned with intricately carved pillars and vibrant frescoes depicting mythological scenes.  

Things To Do While On The Road

Start your road trip early from Bengaluru so that you can avoid the city traffic. Fuel up yourself with a hearty breakfast at Kamat Lokaruchi and enjoy traditional Karnataka dishes like Moode Idli, Akki Roti, Neer Dose, and Kesari Bath. If you are here around lunch/dinner time, you can also indulge in delicious Jowar Bhakri meals. Stop by the toy town of Channapatna, known for its vibrant wooden toys, visit the local shops and pick up a few souvenirs. You can also drop by at any of Café Coffee Day's for a quick coffee break and stretch your muscles. After your temple visit in Maddur, don't forget to grab the iconic Maddur vada from the tiny eateries at Maddur.  

Things to eat in Mysore
Don't forget to grab the iconic Maddur vada from the tiny eateries at Maddureatwithchennai/Instagram

Cherish the mouth-watering Melukote special Puliyogare and sweet Pongal. You can find these iconic dishes in the local eateries around the temple area; pack some Puliyogare paste or powder for your home as well. The taste of the Puliyogare is very exclusive to this place, so don't miss out on this. Once you come out of Nimishamba temple, you will spot vendors selling fresh farm-grown vegetables. Pick up some; it will be helpful to stash up your weekly groceries. You can also stop by at Rasta café for a relaxing dinner. Overall, this road trip will offer not only spiritual enrichment but also a taste of local culture, cuisine, and historical exploration.  

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