Melukote is a hobli in Pandavapura taluk situated at a distance of 36 Km. from Mandya and 50 Km. from Mysore. It is a sacred pilgrim centre for Sri Vaishnavas and it is said that the Sri Vaishnava saint Ramanujacharya from Tamil Nadu stayed here for 12 years during the 12th century.
According to mythology, Melukote was known as Narayanadri, Vedadri, Yadavadri, Yathishaila and Thirunarayanapura as the temple of Narayanaswamy is built on granite rocky hill 3589 ft. above the sea level named Yadugiri, surrounded by a fort. The main deity is Narayanaswamy and according to local legend, the Utsavamurthy had been lost and was recovered by Sri Ramanuja.
The Annual report of the Mysore Archaeological Department 1944 mentions that the presiding deity was worshipped before the visit of Sri Ramanujacharya. It appears he got it renovated through the Hoysala King and the hill fort was also built during the Hoysala period. There are a number of inscriptions which refers to the land grants and donations to the temple. The temple has a beautiful gopura. There are shrines of Ramanuja, idols of Alwars and Yadugiriamma in the temple. The temple has rich endowments, and has the most valuable collection of jewels as it had the special patronage of the Mysore Maharajas. The Mysore King Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617 A.D.) presented a Gold Crown set with precious stones known as Rajamudi. Tipu Sultan donated a Nagari and elephant to the temple. The Mysore King Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1799-1831) presented a Crown set with precious stones known as Krishnarajamudi. There is another Crown in the temple called Vairamudi. All these three crowns are used to decorate the utsavamurthy during the annual jatra usually held during March-April visited by lakhs of devotees. On the top of the hill, is the temple of Yoganarasimha Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, who presented a Gold crown to this upper shrine. There is a big pond here.
Melukote has been a centre of learning and produced many literary figures like Tirumalaraya, Chikkupadhyaya, Alasingachar and Pu Ti. Narasimhachar, Srivaishnava mathas of Yathirajamatha, Ahobalamath and Parakala matha are located here. Sri Veda Vedantha Bodhini Sanskrit College, an old institution established in 1854 and Sanskrit Research Academy have rich collections of old manuscripts and rare books. There is an artisan training centre and a dairy unit. Melukote has been known for quality handlooms especially weaving dhotis, sarees etc. There is a vast forest land near Melukote and there is a wild life sanctuary to protect wolves, black buck and other species.