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SATHURAGIRI!

Once I wanted to test the mysteries of hill myself.

It was a Full moon day, and the crowd was drastically less. I went to Akhilanda koti Brahmanda Nayaki Anandha Valli Amman (now known as Santhana Maha Devi) after praying all other deities, prayed her, and sat down to read Lalitha Sahasranamam. Her vigraham gives me so much happiness just on seeing Her every time, and relieves me of all pain in the travel. That’s when I saw 3 lemons on Her Trishool and a plastic cover with some more below Her lotus feet. I didn’t know who had bought it there, but I thought, “Amma, I need a lemon from your feet, before leaving the hill today!”

It took me almost 30 minutes to read the sahasranamam slowly, and the lemon didn’t come my way 🙂 I moved to 18 Sidhdhar sannidhi to pray for some time before  leaving the hill. I thought of chanting individual Sidhdhar mantras 3 times and leave, but the first one went 12 counts, before I realized I was going overboard. I didn’t want to be partial with Thirumoolar peruman alone, so chanted all 18 sidhdhar mantras 12 times. It took solid 30 minutes.

Was taking my bag after prostrating before the sidhdhars, that I heard the voice, “Ayya, come here!” The person calling was poojari from the Amman sannidhi, but I thought he was calling someone else. Again he pointed me and called, “Come here Ayya!” I went to the sannidhi, and there was one more person, who was introduced to me as a Sidhdha Medical practitioner from the nearby village. The poojari told, “Here we change Thiru-Mangalyam for Amma every day. You should be very gifted to watch it. It happens at weird timings always, and you are lucky to be here. Please stand and watch!” He opened the railings and allowed me inside the partition, where generally he stands, closed the door, and went to stand outside. The doctor, fell on his knees and did the mangalya dharanam for Ambal. I couldn’t express my feelings, but was terribly shaken …

”Why me?” the same question lingered in my mind after 10 years!!!

Saw the ritual as the lonely guest, though there were 100+ in the temple at that time. I turned to leave, when the poojari told me, “Wait and get the prasadham.” Guess what I got? A nice round juicy lemon, kept amidst a floral garland. Turned to see Anandhavalli ambal again, and She sat there, with the same divine smile.

யான்பெற்ற இன்பம் பெறுக இவ் வையகம்!
வான்பற்றி நின்ற மறைப்பொருள் சொல்லிடின்!!
ஊன்பற்றி நின்ற உணர்வுறு மந்திரம்!
தான்பற்றப் பற்றத் தலைப்படுந் தானே !!

Let the universe get the same happiness, which I got (Knowing Shiva),
If I shall say the meaning of Lord, who stands as tall as sky,
It is there already in your body and senses,
And if you think it continuously, Shiva will appear in your soul!!

says Thirumoolar piran. Do visit this sacred hill, and enjoy the divine experiences yourselves 🙂

Well, we have prayed “Rettai Lingams”, and we start walking.

On a normal walking speed and energy, it takes 15 mins of walk, to reach our next important stop in Sathuragiri hills. It’s called Chinna pasu-kidai.

Chinna pasu-kidai:

There is no historical significance associated with this point in the sthala puranam, might be the place where cattle was rested in olden days. But this point had significance 6 months back. Before the cell phone tower strength was reduced by government order, this was the last point in the trek, where Vodafone tower used to be there to make calls. Now, even half way up, we don’t have connectivity 🙂 only BSNL phones are active.

Two more things, another shop is present in this spot. Also, there is a cool breeze most of the times. Balu once insisted for a 15 mins break at this point, seeing the breeze. We were chit chatting, before we went through the rest of the trek.

Gear up!!! 75% of our walk is over!

Rest of the walk should be comfortable, but for a very few places. We walk for 3-4 minutes, before we get the next spot, “Naaval ootru”.

Naaval Ootru:

This is a small pit, beautifully laid naturally, by a stone cover in ground. Next to it, is a Jamoon tree (my own English for Naava pazham, sorry if I am wrong :)). The water is believed to ooze out from the root of this tree, in the rainy season.

In my first visit last November, there was lots of water, and the color of water was awesome. Even mineral water sold in city will not be so perfect, and taste of it was great!!! This water is believed to cure people of diabetes and some other related diseases. But like all other places, it’s completely dried now, even without a drop of water. Hoping to see water again soon in this.

Naaval Ootru

Naaval Ootru

Sri Santhana Mariamman:

Just next to it, beneath a tree, is “Sathuragiri Sri Santhana Mariamman.” A Trishoolam, with some deity structures are seen. Seems, this is a new Goddess installed by local-ites, within a year or two. Regular visitors to this hill, for years, don’t even bother to stand and pray.

Santhana Maari Amman

Santhana Maari Amman

We continue walking for another 12 minutes, and reach “Pacharisi paarai”

Pacharisi-Paarai:

Nothing to do with rice, but these rocks are white in color, reasoning the naming. Small patch though. With this, we complete 9 of 11 kms walk. I always use to sit here for a couple of minutes, since we are almost done with trekking. There will be a rock, which is inscribed 2 kms, to boost your otherwise low morale 🙂

Pacharisi Paarai

Pacharisi Paarai

We walk for 8 minutes, normally to reach our next destination, “Vana-Durgai Amman”.

Vana-Durgai Amman:

Believed to be a Kaaval deivam. No authentic proof that she was installed by Sidhdhar Kaalangi-Nathar peruman. I might be wrong also. Nevertheless, very powerful to pray and continue journey into deep forest.

Sri Vana Durgai

Sri Vana Durgai

Another 15 minutes of walking, we come to Periya pasu kidai.

Periya pasu kidai:

Relatively a flat path to walk, this should have been a bigger area of cattle rearing. Here we can see people arranging 4-5 stones, on top of each other, to pray for getting their own house. But, please avoid it. It’s a general belief, but there is no Aagama Shastra or purana, which says us to do so, anywhere in this world. I have come across a MahaGuru Agasthiar Peruman Nadi titbit, to avoid this behavior in general.

Periya Pasu Kidai

Periya Pasu Kidai

Well, another 5 minutes, we reach “Pala-adi Karuppar”.

Pala-Adi Karuppar Swamy:

Finally, we have entered the fortress, guarded by Pala – Adi Karuppana Swamy. As we have seen in the earlier parts, he is the Commander-in-Chief of this entire divine institution. The statue itself is fearsome, with a sickle in the hand, in raised position. Tried a lot to get a snap, but was always prevented by someone. Since I failed thrice, I restrained myself, and only the temple premises for your view.

The name itself is interesting. He is not Pilavadi Karuppar as pronounced. Pala (a) Jack tree is the real one. He sits beneath a Jack-fruit tree, which should be very old. The surprising fact is, this bears fruits throughout the year. Even if a fruit falls, the very next day, it has a small pala-moosu (fruit-bud), people say. Always a pleasure to pray Him, for a permission to visit Mahalingams, and proceed. Outside this, there is a running stream of water. When it was full, I didn’t know its specialty that it was created by none other than Maha Sidhdhar Kalaangi-Nathar peruman, and a bath in it is so sacred. Once I came to know, there was no water in it 😦 Bad luck though.

Pala-Adi Karuppar Swamy sannidhi, with the Jack tree.

Pala-Adi Karuppar Swamy sannidhi, with the Jack tree.

Just outside Pala-Adi Karuppar, is Nadu kali, as people call Her. Prayed and continued, for the last leg of trek to the Sathuragiri hills.

Nadu Kali

Nadu Kali

These 5 mins of walk, will be a mixture of tiredness due to trek, and happiness that we are finally in Sathuragiri! Your knees will most probably strike to walk further 🙂 and you will have pipes providing water. Whatever may be the temperature outside, the water is damn cold.

And from this point, you can see the most revered “Thavasi paarai”. Though its only 4 kms, they say, from the Sundara Mahalingam shrine, am not blessed till date to visit. A different topic of interest, we will see this sometime later.

Thavasi Paarai, where sidhdhars are still in penance.

Thavasi Paarai, where sidhdhars are still in penance.

Walk a small distance, with shops on both sides, almost 20 in number, with different pooja items, eatables, water bottles, Sambarani (doopam) varieties, Sandal wood sticks (don’t know if they are original ones), Floral garlands, different varieties of photos, and sthala puranam books.

And you will have two sets of pipes, with 2-3 in each, bearing a board, from which theertham they are served there.

Wash your face and legs, quench your thirst. Refresh yourself. Take a minute after strenuous trek.

Congratulations !!! You are in Sathuragiri !

Sundara Mahalinga Swamy is on your right just after 20 steps, and Santhana Mahalinga Swamy is there, some distance away right in front of you, with ever blessing Anandha Valli Amman.

The first time when I reached this place I did think this…

No matter whom you are,
No matter how much money you have,
What position in society you hold,
How many servants and riches you have,
A trip to Sathuragiri cannot be purchased.

It is His Divine Will that anyone stands there.

I felt greatly indebted to Lord Shiva, Gurudevar Agasthiar peruman for a trip, and more than that a group of 6 people from CIT College, Mechanical Engineering branch, Coimbatore, who helped me in carrying all my luggage in my first trek(though I was a total stranger to them), Aadhi, Justin and their gang(forgot other 4 names). I never had a chance to thank them after that trip for their too big help, so will use this place, to say “Thank you!.” Without you people, I would have never reached Sathuragiri in my first climb.

Aadhi, Justin, and other 4!

Aadhi, Justin, and other 4!

சிவனொடுஒக் கும்தெய்வம் தேடினும் இல்லை!
அவனொடுஒப் பார் இங்கு யாவரும் இல்லை!!
புவனம் கடந்தன்று பொன்னொளி மின்னும்!
தவனச் சடைமுடித் தாமரை யானே!!

There is no God equal to Shiva, even if searched,
There is no equal to Him, in this creation,
He stands tall, even outside this world, with a golden glaze,
with red hair resembling fire, but He is cooler like a lotus flower!!

says Thirumoolar peruman. What we will see in the next part, is whom many cannot go and see in person,

Sri Sri Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy !

And the gala reception which I got there from people, whom I have never met in life, told me why I missed many trips in the past.

Surprises will continue…

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