One of the best places to enjoy the monsoons is in the mountains. The Male Mahadeshwara Temple which is nestled amongst green rolling mountains is one such scenic weekend getaway. Located about 200 km from Bengaluru, the drive to the temple is an experience in itself especially during the monsoons when the mountains are crowned with wispy clouds. The chill of the winds, the sound of the forest and the green of the new shoots are refreshing.
The temple is steeped in history and there are many tales surrounding its founding and establishment. A major centre of pilgrimage for Veerashaivas and the tribals from the surrounding forests, the garbha griha houses a linga and Shiva is known as Mahadeshwara here. Surprisingly, the shrine faces the west. The tiger is considered as the vahana (vehicle) of the deity which could be because the region around the temple town which was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 2012 has a good population of tigers.
The temple is also famous for the thousands of folk songs (Janapada Geete) composed in praise of Mahadeshwara and one can find groups of folk singers singing them in the temple premises. One will also find colourfully dressed men with bear skins and men who play the cymbals accompanying their singing. There is a temple elephant which stands at the exit gate and blesses all the devotees who offer a coin or two. There is provision for devotees to pull a small chariot around the main temple. Food is served to all at fixed timings in a large hall.
The town around the temple is small and has a couple of small eateries near the bus stand but nothing more. Accommodation is available in the temple guest house and they need to be booked before-hand.
By road, travel towards Kollegala and then take a diversion for M M Hills. Drive out this weekend and experience the monsoon magic of M M Hills.
This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 30th August, 2016. DH Article