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Sidilu Mallikarjuna Temple, Bettadapura

DISTRICT: Mysore; TALUK: Periyapatna     
LOCALITY: Bettadapura (Lat. 12° 06' N; Long. 76° 28' E)
APPROACH: AIRPORT: Bengaluru; RAILWAY STATION: Mysore; BUS STATION: Bettadapura

The place has traditionally been associated as 'Srigiri' from the times of epics. The hillock representing the last span of Western Ghats is also known as Vijayagiri and Vijayachala. From the lithic records available, Paramabbe, wife of Ganga Bhutuga I, circa 7th century AD was ruling from this place known as Kurugal. The Gangas were succeeded by the Cholas, Vijayanagara and Chengalva rulers. The temple datable to circa 12th century AD belongs to the Chola-Hoysala period. There are many inscriptions in the temple one of them refers to a grant of 33 villages in 1586 AD by Piriya Chengalva. On the walls of the temple are nearly half a dozen inscriptions, of which two announce grants from a chieftain of Sosale. The temple on the summit of the hill, dedicated to Mallikarjuna, is reached by climbing nearly 3108 steps. The mail shrine comprising of sanctum, ardhamandapa and navaranga is enclosed by a series of pillared structures which are obviously later additions. There is a gateway in Vijayanagara style with a tallrayagopura at the foot of the hill. The inner ceiling of this gopura has paintings of Vijayanagara times depicting floral designs and pictures of some sages, prominently in black and red colours. The pillars of the navaranga are short and cylindrical and pilasters on the garbhagriha walls have Chola-Hoysala features. There are huge copper vessels of antiquity here to indicate large scale feeding of pilgrims and the enshrined deity is also called Annadani (donor of cooked rice) Mallikarjuna.