Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Town of eight hills

It is a town that we come across when we go to Biligiri Ranga Hills (BR Hills) from Bangalore. It was believed to have been first established by the Cholas. Therefore, it was then called Ilamaraduru Nadu in ancient Tamil Scripts.
On their part, the Cholas called it Cholendrasimha Chaturvedi Mangalam. Kannadigas called it Hadhinadu Pranthya.
The town is also part of the smallest taluk in the district in which it is located. It is surrounded by eight hills of which Biligiri is the most famous.
The town boats of a couple of historic and unique temples. There is a temple dedicated to Varaha, one of the Dashavatars of Vishnu.
Varaha is the third avatar of  Vishnu and there is also a shrine of Ganapathi here at its south-west corner. This Ganapathi is growing every year.
The other temple is that of Gaurishvara.It a Vijayanagar style structure constructed around 1550 when Devabhupala or Singadepa was the local ruler. It was subsequently rebuilt during  1654 -1655 by Muddabhupa, grandson of Devabhupala.
The temple has a unique entrance called Bale Mantapa (Bangle entrance) which features some of the most exquisite stone carvings on the walls and pillars. These carvings depict mythological stories of the slaying of the demon Andhakasura, Lord Narasimha  in different postures, Vali, Sugreeva and Krishna.
The carved stone chain rings - 20 cm each- adorn the four corners and the door side of the entrance and this gives it the name of Bale Mantapa. The entrance was built by Muddabhupa or Mudduraja in 1654 (We can see similar stone chains in the temple in Talakadu).
During the Vijayanagar Empire, this town and its surrounding areas were known for its riches. Till Independence, it was the jagir of a former Dewan of the Mysore Kingdom. After 1847, the Imam properties were abolished and taken over by the Government and this town initially came under Mysore district.
A few decades ago, it became part of Chamarajanagar district. Today, it stands at the entrance to the busy BR Hills Road. However, only a handful of the thousands of tourists, wildlife enthusiasts and Nature lovers who throng to BR Hills give a second glance to this town.
Not many realise that they would have missed a date with history by not spending time here. This is the town of Yelandur, which once was the jagir of Dewan Purnaiah. The jagirship continued till 1947 when it was abolished and the place integrated with the rest of the district.
Yelandur is surrounded by eight hills: to the East rises the magnificent Shwetha Giri (Billigri), to the South-East is Mallinatha Giri, to the South is Suragiri, to the South-West Shankareshwara Giri, to the West Mallikarjuna Giri, to the North-West Shambulingana Giri, to the North Srisaila Giri and to North-East Nirmala Giri.
All these hills are accessible from this town which is an oasis of greenery. The town has produced several great personalities such as Narashima Bhatta, the Ayurvedic expert (1790), Sanchi Honnamma (1680) and Vishalaksha Pandit, the Jain Vidwan.        
Yalandur is the smallest taluk in Chamarajanaar district with just 33 villages. It is situated about 60 km south-west of Mysore and about 150 km south of  Bangalore.
In history days, the town was called Ramachndra Yelanbure. Later.  it became Yelandur. Today, it is known as the town surrounded by eight hills. 

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