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Hosur, Little England’s Hilltop – Hoysala’s Lord Shiva Temple of 1260 AD !

Hosur, is a small industrial border town of Bangalore (Bengaluru – Karnataka) which belongs to Tamilnadu. This town was surrendered to the British by Tipu Sultan in 1799, when he lost the two Anglo Mysore Wars – 1768 and 1791. Lord Cornwallis took Hosur, Denkanikota and Krishnagiri and appointed Capt. Kaspy as collector of the region. History has it that one British Officer, a Collector at Hosur Bret built a beautiful fort on the lines of England’s Kennilworth Fort at Hosur for a princely sum of Rs.1,70,000/-, a princely sum those days to woo his Scottish wife to move to India.He was sacked for this venture on misuse of company funds. The then Salem Collector, Walton Illiat Lockardt made Hosur, the headquarters of Salem District.
Today there are no remains of the fort, all rocks, stones were plundered by the local population after the castle was sold off for a partly sum. Today some Government offices stands amongst the ruins. Hosur’s climate and soil is good for growing ‘roses’. Worlds Valentine’s Day requirements of red roses are grown in abundance here and exported all over the world.
Hosur was ruled from Kolar by the Vijayanagar Kings. You can see the local population today speak, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. Ramanatha Rama Nayakan, the Vijayanagar Hoysala Dynasty King founded the town Hosur and headquartered it alongside Kolar and Veppanapalli for easy rule and administration. He also built today’s existing lake at the foothills of the Hosur Hillock which was then used for irrigation it is aptly called, ‘Ramanayakkan Eari’.
Hosur has a 250 feet hill which overlooks the town, and the best kept open secret is a Hoysala Dynasty Lord Shiva Temple on the hilltop built in the year 1260 AD by the Hoysala Dynasty Vijayanagar King, Thirupuvanamalla Barvatharaja Anthiyazhvar (1207). It was further renovated between 1218 – 1296 by another Hoysala Dynasty King, Azhakiya Perumal Aathimoolam. The trademark Hoysala architecture lathe turned beautiful sculpted machined pillars supporting the stone roof are present to this day! Tipu Sultan during his rein took services of Lord Hamilton, a British Architect and further resorted and maintained the Temple.
Hosur earlier was also referred to as ‘Murasu Naadu and ‘Thagadoor’. Midway climb up the hill there exists another temple built by the Rajput Bundella King’s of Gingee of Tamilnadu – ‘Kaali Kaamball Kaamadeswarar’. The background exhibits the Hosur Township. This Hosur Hillock has a lot of small temple shrines on it and considered reverand by the local Hindu population. One can drive up the hill or walk up in divine faith taking the rocky stone cut path visiting the Devi temple at the foothills and seeing the emerald temple pond. It’s a good healthy small trek of an hour!
The Lord Shiva Temple on the 250 feet hill is known as ‘Chandra Choodeswara’ – that’s Eshwara who wears the moon as a display on his head and his consort here is Goddess Parvati, who’s called ‘Maragathambal’ meaning ‘Green Mother’ – the reverance here is towards the sustenance of all living beings, green plants and trees – ‘photosynthesis’!
The old stone built Hoysala Dynasty Temple is spic and span, and well maintained. It’s got lots of small shrines and deities. A number of poojaris or Hindu Priests conduct poojas in accordance to one’s horoscope and divine requests. A lot of good faith rules the divine atmosphere here. It’s a great feeling. The Temple is open from 5:30 am to 12 noon and again from 4:30 to 8 pm. The month of March sees the year festival a 13 day celebration, where the entire Hosur Township joins in the celebrations.
Hindu Epic has it that Lord Shiva in his flirtious mood wooing Goddess Parvati took form of a beautiful green colour ‘iguana’ and was running around this hill. Goddess Parvati chasing him touched the tail and turned green. Hence she’s depicted green in colour. Dipping herself at the foothill pond, turned that too green. It’s believed that the ‘Green Mother’ or ‘Maragathambal’ brings prosperity to the farming community at Hosur.
This Hosur Hillock is 35 Kms from Bangalore (Bengaluru). A good drive or a good trek up the hill from the foothills. A half-day excursion on a weekend. An adjacent hillock is a beautiful picnic spot… More about it in my next week’s article!

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