Purandara Dasa composed this immortal song in the Aprameya Temple Complex at Malur. Malur is a small village on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway, a few kilometres from Chennapatna. The village is conspicuous because of the yellow painted gopura (tower) that towers the landscape. It is actually situated on the banks of an ancient river called Kanva which is named after the Rishi (holy man) who supposedly lived and worshipped here.
The main deity is Vishnu who is worshipped here as Aprameya. According to the sthala purana (temple history), the enemies of a local ruler chopped his limbs and threw him into the Kanva River, he landed at this place and prayed to Aprameya and got back his limbs, hence the name Malur, which is the corrupted form of Molacha Uru (i.e. place where the limbs grew).
The temple itself is quite big and the idol of Aprameya is breathtaking. The atmosphere of the temple itself induces peace and serenity. You will hear birds chirping, the leaves rustling and the occasional ringing of the bell. The most magnificent thing in the temple complex is the idol of Ambegalu Krishna (Krishna depicted as a crawling infant). It is exactly in front of this idol that Purandara Dasa composed Jagadodharana! The experience of standing in front of that idol is beyond description. I was told that about a century ago, the Maharaja of Mysore was so mesmerised by the beauty of this idol that he moved it to his palace at Mysore. That night he had a dream in which he was asked to return the idol to Malur but he did not do so and hence his palace got burnt. He immediately returned the idol after that. I don’t know how true the tale is but it should be kept in mind that the wooden palace at Mysore did burn down after which the sprawling Amba Vilas Palace was built.
The Aprameya Temple at Malur was an important place in the middle ages. Vyasaraya, one of the celebrated exponents of Dwaita Philosophy wrote his magnum opus, Nyayamritam at this place and Vighneshwara wrote a commentary called Mithakshara on the smriti of Yajnyavalkya at this very place.