Male Mahadeshwara temple is popular Shaiva pilgrimage located at Male Mahadeshwara Hills (MM Hills) in Chamarajanagara District of Karnataka State.
Lord Sri Mahadeshwara is thought to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva as a Lingayat saint. The linga, worshiped now inside the garbha gudi, is a self-manifested (swayambhu) one.
It is believed Sri Male Mahadeshwara Swamy was moving on a tiger known as Huli Vahana (Tiger as a vehicle) and performed many miracles around the hill to save the people living there. The Lord Sri Mahadeshwara’s miracles are superbly sung with the aid of the village people in Janapada style.
As mentioned in Janapada Mahakavya Shri Male Mahadeshwara Swamy is the son of Shri Chandrashekara Murthy and Smt. Uttarajamma.
As per legend there are seven hills and these seven hills together form the Male Mahadeshwara hill. Those seven hills are Anumale, Jenumale, Kanumale, Pachchemale, Pavalamale, Ponnachimale and Kongumale.
In a legend it is mentioned, he has come from Srisailam through Suteturu, Kunduru, then to the center of Seven Hills and established a mutt for looking after religious affairs of people and saints.
The Mahadeshwara Temple was built by Junje Gowda Rich Kuruba Gowda Landlord.
It is also said that, through his miracles, he enlightened and uplifted the hill tribes, gave them Linga deeksha and converted them to Lingayats. The people coming from these families have become hereditary ‘Shivarchakas’ of Male Mahadeshwara temple.
The temple was under the control & management of Sri Salur Mutt established by the Lord Mahadeshwara himself until it was handed over to the Madras Government in the year 1953. After the formation of the state of Karnataka, the administration of the Temples is done by the trust committee, appointed by the Karnataka Government under the Muzrai Department.