Shiva of Gold
Feature Articles

Shiva of Gold

February 28, 2022

A gift from Wadiyars to Sri Trineshwaraswamy Temple and Male Mahadeshwara Temple

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Mahashivarathri, one of the prominent Hindu festivals is celebrated by worshipping Lord Shiva. Every year, the festival is celebrated on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Falgun month as per the Hindu calendar and this year, it will be celebrated on Mar. 1.

On this day, all Shiva Temples will be decorated and the main attraction is the Golden Masks (Chinnada Kolaga) donated by erstwhile rulers of Mysore. These Golden Masks will be adorned to Sri Trineshwaraswamy in Mysore Palace premises and Male Mahadeshwara Swamy atop Male Mahadeshwara Hill in Chamarajanagar District.

It is only once in a year this Golden Mask will be adorned to the presiding deity at Sri Trineshwaraswamy Temple. But at Male Mahadeshwara Temple, the Golden Mask is adorned to the deity every day after the Abhisheka is performed.

Sri Trineshwaraswamy Temple

Devotees queue up for darshan at Sri Trinayaneshwara Swamy Temple where the 11-kg Golden Mask, gifted by erstwhile Mysuru ruler Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar in 1954, is the main attraction. Since then, the Shiva Linga at this temple is adorned with the Golden Mask on Shivarathri day and puja is offered.

This Golden Mask is usually kept in the District Treasury strong room all through the year and is brought to the Temple in the presence of Muzrai Tahsildar, Administrative Officer of Temples atop Chamundi Hill and other officials under tight Police security a day before Shivarathri.

On Shivarathri day between 4 am and 6 am, special pujas will be offered and the Golden Mask will be adorned and the idol is decorated with flowers. The first puja is performed in the name of erstwhile Mysuru kings and from 6 am, the temple is opened for devotees, who throng till midnight.

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The next day morning, special puja is performed and the Golden Mask is removed and the ornaments are taken back to the Treasury under Police security. The Golden Mask consists of ‘mukuta’, ‘karna kundala’, ‘thatanka’, (with two ‘lolaka’, a pair of earrings, ‘tilaka’ made of precious stones, muguti) and a silver crescent moon.

A file photo of Member of Mysore Royal family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar performing puja at Sri Trineshwaraswamy Temple.

Male Mahadeshwara Temple

The Golden Mask at Male Mahadeshwara Temple atop Male Mahadeshwara Hill weighs more than 20 kg and was donated by erstwhile Mysuru ruler Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar. This Golden Mask consists of 126 diamonds, 21 rubies, gem-studded ‘muguti’ and a crescent moon on the head with 110 flat diamonds. The gems-studded ‘vibhuti thatanki sarpakundala’ was given to Male Mahadeshwaraswamy in 1930.

From then, every day early morning, the Golden Mask is adorned to the deity and decorated. When compared to the Golden Mask at Sri Trinayaneshwara Swamy Temple, the Golden Mask at Sri Male Mahadeshwara Swamy Temple is smaller but broader. A special seva of adorning the Golden Mask is also available and devotees have to pay Rs. 900 for this seva.

Golden Mask booklet

In memory of the contributions by erstwhile Mysuru rulers to Male Mahadeshwara Swamy Temple, former Chamarajanagar Additional Deputy Commissioner C.L. Ananda, who was also the Male Mahadeshwara Hill Development Authority Officer, has published a booklet on the Golden Mask. The booklet has information on the jewels and diamonds in the Golden Mask. The contributions of Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar are also mentioned.

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