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Folklore

This giant, monumental statue of Nandi (Bull) is located at the top of Chamundi hills in Mysore, Karnataka, India. The statue, reckoned to be at least 350 years old, was sculpted by the illustrious Mysore Maharaja, Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar during the period from 1659 to 1673 and is the only one of its kind in the State. This is one of the oldest icons in Mysore. It is the third largest in India.

** Devaraja Wodeyar I was born on 25 May 1627, the fourth son of Prince Devarajendra Wodeyar, by his second wife, Kempamamba Ammani Avaru.

** He succeeded his cousin on the latter's death on 31 July 1659 and was installed on the Mysore throne on 19 August 1659.

** Devaraja Wodeyar I was the thirteenth maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1659 until 1673.

** His rule lasted for 22 years.

** Devaraja Wodeyar I died in Chikkanayakanahalli on 11 February 1673. At the time of his death, the northernmost outpost of his territories had considerably expanded.

** They extended to present-day Dharapuram in Coimbatore in the south, Sakrepatna to the west, and Salem to the east.

** The achievements of Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar are as follows:

** Succeeded in preventing Shivappanayaka.

** Added Kunigal and Chikkanayakanahalli.

** Laying steps to the Chamundi Hills.

** Monolithic Nandi carved on the Chamundi Hills.


The Nandi Iconography

** The statue is 3,489 ft above sea level.

** Originally this was a colossal boulder.

** The statue of the Nandi was carved out of this boulder in situ.

** Around this Nandi, there are various similar boulders.

** Right behind the Nandi carving is a small cave temple under an overhanging boulder dedicated to Shiva.

** These boulders are painted with white and ochre stripes.

** Maharaja Wodeyar also commissioned the 1000-stepped stairway to the hilltop.

** According to Hindu mythology Nandi is considered the vehicle (mount) of Lord Shiva, the lord of destruction. Though Nandi is found adorning every Shiva temple on the court facing the shrine,

** This is one of the few standalone statues, measuring about 15 ft in height and 24 ft long, carved out of a single stone boulder.

** The expression on the face is that of vigilance, alertness, and watchfulness.

** The Nandi is portrayed in a sitting position with its left foreleg folded in an about-to-get-up posture.

** While the icon is in great proportions, the finer details executed are equally brilliant.

** There are many sequences of bells and garlands resourcefully and skilfully carved over the Nandi.

** With his ears pointed in rapt attention, the expression on his face is something not to be missed.

** The whole statue is squatting on about 4 feet high platform made of cement surrounded by a black, Iron Gate.

This Nandi is in active worship possibly ever since its creation. This is an open shrine exposed to the elements. During special days scaffolding is erected to do the abhisheka (anointing). Otherwise on regular days the priest stands at the front and does Pooja. What Is The Significance Of Nandi?

There is an elevated place in front of the Nandi statue.

** A granite bench is also over there.

** This is a vantage place for viewing the upper portion of the Nandi and also a great point for taking photographs.

20" Nandi (The Vehicle of Lord Shiva) In Brass | Handmade | Made In India

What Nandi Portrays

** In mythology, Shiva refuses to get married and be a householder. In other words, he refuses to get domesticated.

** But the Goddess appeals to him to marry her. Unless Shiva participates in worldly affairs unless he serves her as a husband, children cannot be conceived and the world cannot be created.

** Shiva reluctantly agrees. He becomes the groom of the Goddess, but he is never the head of her household.

** He lives with her but is not the breadwinner.

** He fathers children, but is not a father to the children.

** Shakti becomes the autonomous matriarch. She becomes the cow, nourishing the world with her milk.

** Shiva remains independent in spirit, refusing to be fettered by the ways of the world.

This aspect of Shiva is what Nandi portrays as he sits benignly at his master’s doorstep.

Restoration

** The Department of Archaeology, Museums, and Heritage has decided to take up the restoration of the Nandi Statue atop Chamundi Hills. Noted sculptor Arun Yogiraj from Mysuru, whose Adi Shankaracharya statue was installed at the Hindu pilgrim center Kedarnath, had visited the hills and held an inspection of the monolithic statue for restoration.

** The monolithic statue of Nandi had developed cracks and it was noticed by members of the expert committee for the development and protection of the Mysuru heritage region by the state government. Later, a report on the cracks was prepared and submitted to the district administration for action to protect the iconic statue. The cracks were found near the thigh and on the lips of the statue.

The cleaning of the Nandi statue was done after an Archaeology expert from Madurai had come to visit the Nandi statue.

** Based on their suggestions, authorities took up cleaning the statue.

** The cleaning of the statue was done in October 2017.

** Following reports in a section of media that chemicals have been used to clean the statue, the Archaeology Department officials have clarified that they have not used a drop of chemical to clean the structure.

** “We have used high-power water jets to clean the oil deposits on the statue that had turned it black. The stone structure was rubbed with coconut oil to prevent it from cracking. Being a heritage structure, we have been very careful while using high-pressure water too,” said S.R. Venkatesh, Assistant Executive Engineer, department of archaeology.

** High-speed water jets are commonly used to clean stone structures all over the country and the department has followed standard operating procedure and the statue has not been polished as reported in the media, the officer said.

14" Fine Nandi - The Gate-guardian of Kailasagiri, The Abode of Shiva In Brass | Handmade | Made In India

FINALE

** This is a major tourist attraction, Nandi always welcomes expecting them to follow the etiquettes deemed for a place of worship. Footwear needs to be removed before going close to the Nandi. One can go around the Nandi (clockwise) to see it close.

** There is no specific timing as it is an open site by the side of the trek path. However visit it during the day time, for obvious reasons though the Goddess Chamundeshwari temple atop is open till around 9 at the night.

** Nandi temple of Mysore can be reached by taking a small detour on the way to Chamundeshwari temple on top of Chamundi hills. Easily accessed either by road or steps.

** The Nandi is located almost the ¾th the way to the hilltop. The main road to the hilltop arrives at a "View Point" junction. The right fork leads to Nandi (2km) and the straight road leads to the main shrine of Chamundeshwari further at the top of the hill. There is no bus service to the Nandi site. If you are reasonably fit it is about a 20-30 minutes’ walk up to the Nandi site.

As abhishekas and pujas have been performed for so many years, and due to the heat of the sunlight, the statue had turned black. Meanwhile, for the past few years, various organizations have also started performing mastakabhisheka at the statue every year.

** In addition to Nandi of Mysuru, NANDI OF HAMPI too captures an exclusive status to be mentioned here:

** The Nandi Statue at Hampi is located opposite the famous Virupaksha Temple and is locally known as Yeduru Basavanna.

** The structure is a massive monolith constructed by one of the famous rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire in a two-storied pavilion, on a raised platform.

** The idol has basic carvings and there are big boulders behind the statue that add to its charms. A little distance away from the idol is a stone lamp that has spikes on it.

The Statue of Nandi is greatly admired and venerated by the people of Hampi and is believed to protect the town. Although little damaged over the natural course of time, the statue still looks beautiful and attracts tourists.  The site of the statue is also the main location for Vijaya Utsav, the Hampi Arts festival which is held in November every year.

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