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 Melkote - Sri Vaishnava Haven
Melkote Sri Vaishnava

Ramanuga Deity

RamanujaIn India during the 11th Century, a radical social and religious reformation was underway. The philosopher and mystic, Ramanuja propagated his theistic doctrine of Shri Vaishnavism throughout South India, to people of all castes and backgrounds. Opposition to his preaching came in the form of the mighty king Kolatunga I, a fanatical worshipper of Shiva who was intolerant of Ramanuja’s beliefs. His vicious and continual persecution forced Ramanuja and his followers to flee their native land of Tamil Nadu and go into hiding in the neighboring state of Karnataka in Melkote.


Melkote TempleRamanuja found refuge in the foothills at a small village known as Melkote, whose origins were lost in antiquity. He made this his seat to propagate his philosophy for 18 years, during which time he repopulated the region, rebuilt the main temples, uncovered and re-established the worship of the ancient Vishnu deities of Tirunarayana and Sampat Kumara, and initiated thousands of people into his fold. Melkote soon became a thriving temple-town with thousands of priests absorbed in the rich religious culture that Ramanuja had bestowed upon them.

Sampat Kumara Deities

After Ramanuja, Melkote flourished under the patronage of the Mysore kings, during which the town expanded. The kings donated liberally, jewels and crowns, to the temples to adorn the deities.

Centuries later however, this quiet haven of spirituality became almost forgotten by the outside world.

This documentary takes the viewer back in time to this refuge of South Indian religious traditions, exploring the rich history of this spiritual haven and its inhabitants.

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