Nestled in the sylvan surroundings of Sahya mountain range of Mandya district of Karnataka Melkote is the abode of Lord TiruNarayana who is the presiding deity. Let us peep into its puranic lore
The sahya mountain range appears like Adi sesha and Melkote attracts devotees from far off places for several reasons.This hallowed spot is called Yadavadri,, Narayanadri, Vedadri and Yathishaila.
There is an interesting story of how the icon of Lord Thirunarayana was installed here. Brahma did penance for to secure an icon of the lord for daily worship. A celestial vimana with the icon of Thirunarayana appeared before him . Thus Brahma secured the idol and started propitiating the lord. Sanath kumara son of Brahma wanted to an idol of the lord to worship on earth. Brahma promptly handed the icon of Thirunarayana to him. At this juncture Brahma desired to have an idol of the lord to worship and Thrunarayana brought out from his heart and gave him a mesmerizing icon of the lord accompanied by sreedevi and Bhoodevi. Hence he came to be called Cheluvaraya swami and he is the utsava murti processional deity in the temple now.
Mahavishnu disguised as Narayamaharishi preached the ashtakshara mantra at Badrinath in north India. This mantra propitiates Thirunarayana at Melkote. He also preached Dvaya mantra to Lakshmi sated on his lap. Therefore Melkote is also called SouthernBadrinath.
There is a temple dedicated to Badrinarayana opposite to Thirunarayana temple and a Badari decorates the faade of the temple. Since the holy spot is associated with narayana this place was called Narayanadri in krita yuga.
Dattatreya preached Vedas to his disciples here and thus it is called Vedadri in Treta yuga.
It was called Yadavdri in dwapara yuga , yadavas came and worshipped the lord.
Since Ramanuja renovated and rebuilt the temple it is called Yatishaila. In kali yuga Moolavar Thirunarayana was brought to Melkote by Brahma s son Sanath kumara and the utsavar murthi cheluvaraya reached Melkote before being in the possession of Lords Rama and Krishna. There is a glittering festival which is synonymous with this temple .
To be contd.