Melukote & Thondanoor visit

Update : The name of the place is Thondanur actually, not Tondalur as said earlier. Kindly forgive adiyean.

Once again Sriman Narayana blessed adiyean with an opportunity to visit some wonderful temples – the well known Melkote and the not so well known Thondalur in Mandya District, Karnataka (Please use the interactive Google Maps at the end of the post for directions).


Melkote Sri Cheluva Narayanswamy temple

Melkote is also known as Thirunarayanapuram. Though not amongst the 108 Divyadesams, Melukote is an  important Abhimana Sthalam revered by Sri Vaishnavas. Swami Ramanuja stayed at Melukote for about 12 years after he left Sri Rangam due to atrocities of the Chola King Kirimikanda Cholan. Also the temple by itself is an very ancient one and Swami Ramanuja was responsible for renovating the temple to the present state. Infact it was Swami Ramanuja who retrieved both the Moolavar (Thirunarayana Perumal) & Utsavar (Shelva Pillai). And also, Melkote is also the place where the magnificent Vaira Mudi Utsavam takes place.

The story of Swami Ramanuja retrieving the Utsavar Perumal is an very beautiful story. Before the arrival of Swami Ramanuja, Melkote had been raided by the Muslim emperors. Along with many treasures, Utsava Perumal was also taken to Delhi by the emperor. Swami Ramanuja met the emperor and requested for the Deity. The emperor showed him a room full of deities looted from many temples and asked him to identify Shelva Pillai perumal. Swami Ramanuja lovingly called out “Shelva Pillai”, and the Deity instantly walked out to Swami Ramanuja, who is filled with boundless joy named Perumal as “Sampath Kumara“. This is another instant where Sriman Narayana listens like an innocent child to His devotees. The emperor’s daughter who had become very attached to the Shelva Pillai perumal, followed Swami Ramanuja to Melukote and came to be known as Bibi Nachiyar.

A beautiful mandapam in Melukote Thirunarayana Perumal Temple

The main temple, Sri Cheluva Narayanaswamy temple is situated right in the heart of the little town. The Moolavar is Thirunarayana Perumal and the Utsavar Shelva Pillai (and also Sampath Kumara). The Deity, Thirunarayana Perumal is extremely beautiful, so is the Thayar Sri Kalyani Nachiyaar. We can have a darshan of Thayar in both the ThiruMaarbhu & Thiruvadi of Thirunarayna Perumal. Near Thayar Sanathi, there’s an beautiful mandapam with intricately carved Pillars. The annual Vaira Mudi seva takes place in the month of Panguni (March / April) and is a sight to behold.

Melkote Yoga Narasimha Temple

Besides Thirunarayana Perumal temple, there is also Sri Yoga Narasimha swamy temple atop a beautiful hill nearby. As the name suggests Sri Narasimha Swamy can be seen in the posture of doing Yoga here. The entire town of Melkote and more importantly Kalyani Theertham pushkarani can be seen from here.

Apart from the above two temples, a vast lake built by Swami Ramanuja can also be visited.

Lake built by Swami Ramanuja


Thondanoor Gopala Krishna Temple (Melkote)

Thondanoor is the place where Swami Ramanuja initially lived after leaving Sri Rangam. Thondalur is about 20 kms from Melkote and there are 3 beautiful temples to see here – Nambhi Narayana Swamy Temple, Gopala Krishna Temple and Swami Ramanuja Temple. Again the Deities of all the temples are extremely beautiful. All these three temples are within walkable distance from each other.

Thondalur Gopala Krishna Temple (Melkote)

Though all these temples are very beautiful, it’s saddening to see very few devotees visiting them. The temples are also poorly maintained. The next time readers visit Melkote, please do visit these temples in Thondanoor and render whatever service possible.

More useful info
Sthala Puranam of Melkote Temple
Melkote Vairamudi Photos & Videos
General Melukote info

Interactive Google Map

Melukote (A), Thondanoor (B)

15 thoughts on “Melukote & Thondanoor visit

  1. Thank you very much for all your efforts.may all our acharyas’ blessings be always with the team.
    Mrs. R. Devarajan

    • I did have the bhagyam to visit Thirunarayana Puram (Melkote) while i was in Mysore, but could not find where Thondalur is. Can you please elaborate more on how you reached there and also what is the local name the people there call that place. Please enlighten us.
      Thanks for all your efforts !!

      Raghavan S

  2. I was blessed with to see vairamudi seva during 2011 and recently in 2012 i again had dharshan the swamy cheluva narayana But i just now heard about thondanur and its location from melkote. Thanks for the information Kindly give any other vaishanava temples near mandya mysore,
    K Mythili

      • Adiyen, I visited Melkottai and Thondanur temples last week end. Really exciting and energizing for all Shri Vaishnava people especially to note the greatness of Shri Ramanumar. Its great feeling for us to touch the sports where Shir Ramanujar lived in this world in those places of Karnataka. Really exciting.
        Must visit Gopala Krishna temple which is 5000 >>> years old but Shir Parthasarary with Thayar is still looking shine and new lime a diamond and this is the place where Shri Ramanujar started Vaishnavisam in Karnataka(Watch Ramanuja Movie in You Tube).
        The greatness of Thondanur is not well spread as the area and temples are lacking maintenance in the recent years as it deserves for years to come.
        Om Namo Naarayanaya Namaha!!.

      • Melukote & Thondanur are definitely wonderful places to visit. The deities are very beautiful in these temples. As said, unfortunately temples in Thondanur are very less visited and known. Hopefully this post will help devotees visit the beautiful temples.


  3. You can come tomorrow to Tondanur for Garudotsavam of the Perumal at Gopalakrishna temple. It is a nice atmosphere in all the 3 temples.

  4. After reading your post, I have planned a trip this weekend with my family. I would be delighted if temple timings are known before I set journey. I am from Bangalore and what are the temple timings in melkote and thondanoor

  5. Thanks for this post which was very helpful in planning our trip. Thondanoor is a nice and calm village, I was blessed to visit the temple. superb moolvar in both temples it seems like Perumal is talking to you. if possible visit the Narashimar/Ramanujar temple behind Nami Narayanar temple.

  6. I consider myself for god blessing me to visit one of his abodes on earth , your yearn to know about god does not waste , must make this a theerta yathra once in life time . lord krishna with radha rani make you feel their presence in the temple , let all get a chance to visit . HARE KRISHNA .

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