The place is also known as Thirunarayanapuram. It is built on rocky hills, known as Yadugiri, Yaadavagiri and Yadushailadeepa, overlooking the Cauvery valley.
Melukote is the location of the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple, with a collection of crowns and jewels which are brought to the temple for the annual celebration. On the top of the hill is the temple of Yoganarasimha.
Early in the 12th century, the great Srivaishnava saint Ramanuja took up his residence and lived in this location for about 14 years. It thus became a prominent centre of the Srivaishnava sect of Brahmins, who obtained from the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, who had become a follower of the Acharya, an assignment of the fertile tracts of land in the neighbourhood, especially of the Ashta Gramas, on either bank of the Cauvery.
Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
The principal temple is a square building of large dimensions but very plain, dedicated to Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Thirunarayana. The utsavamurthi, which is a metallic image, represents the deity who is called Shelvapillai, Cheluva Raya and Cheluvanarayana Swamy, whose original name appears to have been Ramapriya (meaning "Rama's Favourite"). It is believed that this utsavamurthi belonged to and was worshipped by Lord Rama and the kings of the surya vamsa Dynasty for generations. Later the same deity was given to a king of Chandra vamsam (the dynasty of Lord Krishna) and was worshipped by Lord Krishna and many generations. So CheluvaNarayana is so unique that he was worshipped by both Rama and Krishna.
Yoga-Narasimha Swamy Temple
On the top of the hill is an attractive Melkote Narasimha temple dedicated to Lord Yoga Narasimha. It is believed that the image of Yoga Narasimha temple at melkote was installed by Prahlada himself. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III presented a gold crown to Lord Yoga Narasimha.
Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary
Melkote is also the location of the Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary was created on 17 June 1974, primarily to house wolves. Other mammals found in this sanctuary include the jungle cat, leopard, bonnet macaque, langur and pangolin. It is also an ornithologist's paradise, with around 200 species of birds indigenous to the area. Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary has been known for its once abundant Cycas circinalis species, which in the recent time has been over exploited by the flower decorators and local doctors.