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Melukote   |   Mandya

Melukote in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka, in southern India, is one of the sacred places in Karnataka. The place is also known as Thirunarayanapuram. It is built on rocky hills, known as Yadugiri, Yaadavagiri and Yadushailadweepa, overlooking the Cauvery valley and is about 51 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore.

Melukote is the location of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, with a collection of crowns and jewels which are brought to the temple for the annual celebration. On the top of the hill is the temple of Yoganarasimha. Many more shrines and ponds are located in the town. Melukote is home to the Academy of Sanskrit Research, which has collected thousands of manuscripts. Early in the 12th century, the famous Srivaishnava saint Sri Ramanujacharya, who hailed from Tamil Nadu, stayed at Melukote for about 12 years, thus it has become a prominent centre of the Srivaishnava sect. According to mythological account, this place was known as Narayanadri, Vedadri, Yadavadri, Yathishaila and Tirunarayanapura.

The name of the place is derived from the temple of Narayanaswamy which is built on the hillock, surrounded by a fort. It is built on a granite rocky hill-range named Yadugiri, which is 3,589 feet (1,094 m) high above sea level.

From here visitors can also visit Thondanoor a nearby temple town, the location of the famous Nambi Narayana, Parthasarathi, Yoganarasimha and Ramanuja temples. This is approximately 20 km (12.4 miles) from Melukote. The temple infrastructure has a large pond called as Kalyani. The beauty of the steps leading to water and the mantapas built all around are such that it has been captured in many Indian films.

Melkote is also the location of the Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary was created on 17 June 1974, primarily to house wolves. Other mammals found in this sanctuary include the jungle cat, leopard, bonnet macaque, langur and pangolin and also a large number of birds.

Photography: [Impulses: #1, #2, #3] [Hari Prasad Nadig: #1] [ramprasad lg: #1]

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