M.M. Hills is a favorite holiday destination. It is a long drive, plus a temple visit and some pleasant hours spent in the cool environs of the hills all put together – a three-in-one, so to speak!
M.M. Hills is short for Malai Mahadheshwara hills.
On Dec. 29, 2015, we set out for M.M.Hills after lunch and returned home by 8 p.m.the same day.
The route from Salem in Tamil-Nadu was via Omalur, Mecheri, Mettur, Palar to M.M. Hills, roughly a distance of 99 kms.
WHERE IT IS
It is located in Kollegal taluk of Chamrajnagara district in the state of Karnataka. The lush hills are a part of the Eastern ghats in Southern India.
The road from Salem up to Mettur is across level plains. In Mettur you cross the river Cauvery and pass by the famous Stanley Reservoir also called as Mettur Dam, a popular tourist destination and picnic spot.From here the road slowly winds upward. Up to Kolathur, you can see the blue expanse of the river Cauvery in the distance as the road runs almost parallel to, albeit some distance away, from the river. It is a beautiful sight to watch.
Fields and villages give way to shrub and forest. There is a check – post after you cross the river Palar, a tributary of the Cauvery. A large arch with the image of Lord Shiva says ‘Welcome to Karnataka’.
At the check post, you are expected to sign in a book and the make and number of your vehicle and the number of passengers are noted down by the forest department officials. A board by the roadside says, ‘Welcome to Malai Mahadheshwara Widlife Sanctuary’.
From here the road is a hill road through dense forests. The views of hills and valleys are stunning.
After 16 kms. from the checkpost we have arrived at our destination. The small village in the hills is called Male Mahadeshwara Betta.It is 3000 feet above sea level amidst thick forests.
It is a very popular pilgrim centre with an ancient Shiva temple, small but powerful. Besides pilgrims, this place attracts nature lovers.
Lord Mahadheshwara is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.Folklore says he came here about 600 years ago to perform penance. He went from place to place on a tiger – Huli Vahana – and performed a number of miracles around the betta to save the people. It is believed he is still doing penance in the temple’s garpa gudi in the form of a Shiva linga.
ABOUT THE TEMPLE
There are two shrines in the temple. The first one has the idol of Sri Mahadeshwara astride a tiger, the idol of Sri Basaveshwara and Sri Mahadeshwara’s paadam in front. In the other shrine facing it is the self manifest Shiva linga.
Rows of shops sell all kinds of trinkets,sweets and other touristy knicknacks.
On new moon and full moon days lakhs of pilgrims from the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka visit the temple. Diwali and Maha Shiv rathri are important festivals.
The temple is open from 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.
TamilNadu State Transport Corporation buses and Karnataka State Transport buses ply regularly to the temple.