Every time I get a reason to travel and this time it happened to be my friend’s wedding at a typical rural village, down south in the district of Pudhukottai.

We started from Chennai on friday night on road, talking the gateway of south “NH45”. It was a late start due to a fellow pal, who got stuck at his work place. By that time all hotels were closed and bit of heavy rain welcomed us. Atlast we found a road side dhaba, which made us mouth water for the smell of egg porata. Atlast dinner was done. I asked the waiter, which place is this. To Our surprise he replied “Chenagalpet by-pass road”. OMG still we havent crossed Chenagalpet.

At was all fun with incidents from college days pulling each other. We were at pudhukottai the next day morning, which is about 45-50 km from the rock city, Trichy.

Started from our room around 10:30 am after breakfast. With the  information we had about places around, we headed to Chittanavasal, rock cut Jain temple.

Rock Cut cave, Jain temple @ Chittanavasal, Pudhukotai Dist

 View Better Quality on flickr (click here)

Don’t ask me if have got a new wide-angle 🙂

This was my first click of the trip and this happened to be my best ever pano.  I JUST LOVED IT.

Chittanavasal, maintained by “Archaeology Survey Of India”, with an entry fee of Rs 5. Though it resembled like the small hill at Gingee, this has its own specialities.

ASI Entry Ticket

Stairs to climb the hill

Speciality of Chittanavasal:
 
It is said, after Ajanta & Ellora cave paintings, one can see the same sort of painting here in the Jain cave temple, which was built-in 7 AD. It was absolutely stunning to see the creation. Again a uniqeness is, these are not wall paintings. Painting on ceiling of the cave temple. these painting tell stories of ancient times.
 
Girl Picking flowers with basket, So man has invented basket much earlier. 2 Yogis of different colors, showing color discrimination. elephant taming, bison, buffalo, crocodile, frightened bird, their expressions shown so naturally and so on….
 

Temple with paintings

Way at the top of the hill

It’s a small temple of 25×25 ft only, of which the painting occupies the front corridor and a small room of about 10×10 ft.  Again this was mind-blowing!
 
WHY? keep reading
 
The person in charge of issuing tickets, can forward and explained us about it. He told us understand the beauty and spirituality of the place, so that you will enjoy it. if you just see them as cave. It’s just a cave.
 
He told us to stand in the corridor and went inside and said “OMMM”. Oh my Goddddddddddd… We could heard the echo for next 15-20 sec. Its  just a cut in middle of the mountain. How could have they designed!
 
I came out with so many questions in mind. Painting on a wall is possible, but how come on ceiling with some colored juice from fruits and vegetables using feathers, that too without electricity.
 
 
History of Chittanavasal:
Rock Cut Jaina Temple also called as Arivar kovil was excavated in early Paindias period in 7th Centruy AD. Facing west, It has an outside corridor and a small room inside. The rear wall consist of the room has relief figures of Jaina Tirthankaras in  sitting posture and side walls with relief figures of Parvasantha and Jaina Acaryas.

The front corridor was decorated with Mural paintings made of vegetable colors, depicting a Lotus tank with realistic figures of men, animals, flowers, fish etc. It recalls the “SAMAVASARNA” faith in Jainism. The Pillars have the dance girls.

Resembles Great Wall Of China PathwayEnd of pathway at the mount of hill

There wasn’t anything at the top of the hill, however there is a pathway made in recent times which gives a view of places around. The path way built resembles to be like the Great wall of China 🙂 🙂

To attract kids and raise the source of income, they have built an artificial lake like water body for pedal boats and parks for kids to play around.

Next our journey started towards kudumiyanmalai, about 15 kms from here.

Kudumiyanmalai:

Shikhagireeshwarar Temple

About the Temple:

An ancient Shiv temple about 50 kms from Tiruchy, under the maintenance of “Archaeology Survey Of India” (ASI). The presiding deities of are Shikhagireeshwarar and akhilAnDEshwari. Usually places under control of ASI will be so neat and clean but this place wasn’t. Probably because of the renovation works going on.

The pillars in the outer corridor have huge sculptures of Hanuman, some of the avatArs of Vishnu. The pillars in the inner corridor has sculptures of Shiva, Parvati, Vinayaka, Muruga, Shiva in Urdhvatandava, Narasimha.

The Outside corridor of the temple has a big mandapam, which has 645 pillars, However its popularly known as aiyaram (1000) kal mandapam.

Mandapam

Side view of a part of mandapam

This was initially built by The Cholas and later outer corridors were architecturally expanded by the Pandyas and the Vijayanagara emperors.

History Of Kudumiyanmalai:

Before this place was called Kudumiyanmalai, its name was Thirunalankunram.

Nandhi

Legend goes that the king used to visit the temple everyday in the evening and it was customary for the priest to give the prasad to the king after the evening pUja. One evening, it was getting late and King Sundarapandian had still not come. Since the closing time of the temple was nearing, the priest gave the prasad to the dasis who danced everyday at the temple. Seeing the king enter the temple just as the dasis were leaving, the priest got worried and took the flowers from the dasis who had already worn it on their hair and gave it to the king. Seeing a strand of hair on the flower, the king became suspicious and questioned the priest about the presence of hair in the flowers. Overcome by fear, the priest lied that it was from Lord Shiva’s head. Angered by the priest’s reply, the king locked him inside the temple, telling him that he would come the next day and check if the Lord did really have hair. Worried, the priest prayed to the Lord.

The next day when the king came, there was indeed a kudumi/shikha (tuft) on the Shiva linga! Becoming suspicious, the king tried to pull it from the Shiva linga, only to see blood coming from the lingam! That’s how the Shiva here got the name Shikhagishwarar & the place got the name, Kudumiyanmalai.

Ancient scripting on the walls

since it was after noon and the temple was totally emplty, the person incharge had an eye on us and restricted us from clicking 😦

Hill next to the temple:

There is hill behind the temple, where you can spot a small temple at the top. It didn’t have proper stairs to climb. However it was easy to climb as mentioned by the temple incharge. Our friends were tired and decided to stay in teh car, but I didnt want to missed the view of the dusk from hill top. Two of us decided to go ahead and it was worth it.

Pano view from hill top

 

Murugar Temple on the top

Back to Pudhukottai exactly at intro song of Mankatha movie @ vijay theatre, though I am not die hard fan of the ultimate star “AJITH” this was ultimate indeed. I ENJOYED IT 🙂

Friends wedding the next day morning. Back to Chennai!

Back to chennai without a sip of Jigarthanda, not at all. We went all the way into Trichy city without taking the by-pass road. That made our trip 🙂 My friends didn’t know about the famous “vechu”, a diffrent form of porata. Why to come back home half heart. Letz taste that toooooo.

What else do we need to end our trip when the climate is so chill.Hotttt vechu with mutton gravy at 7 PM in a road side dhaba.

Few Works From the trip:

 

I Am No More Valued

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Comments
  1. Martin says:

    This may be this blogs greatest read on the net

  2. saravanan says:

    cool jason, i am very jealous of u

  3. althaf says:

    no words buddy u r awesome 🙂

  4. Thaarumaaru.
    Iniku Dull morning… oru nalla refreshing feel kodukudhu..
    The pics in hill top is arpudham 🙂
    Way to go…:)

  5. Mee says:

    Such splendid images! You are a natural. Nice off the beaten path travel stories to- will come back more often:)

  6. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  7. I’ve been studying buildings for over 20 years. It is safe to say that this building is the most marvelous one on the planet. Visit it once and you will agree with me!

  8. kranjini says:

    Lovely pics J. Temples in India are simply breathtaking. Love to go again and again!!!

  9. Really the entire journey which you have captured is truly amazing, very nicely captured and written 🙂

  10. Patsy Cutts says:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  11. Ramakant says:

    Love your style of narrating the journey. Adding pictures aids in a better visualization and helps the reader to follow through with you on your journey. Would have loved to see cave paintings though. Really sounds intriguing that there are painting in the ceilings. The panoramas are excellent!!

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