Trip to Thirukkadigai(Sholingur)

Posted by: Aravind S

Dear Sri vaishnavas,

adiyen had an opportunity to make a trip to Sholingur divyadesam today (Apr 21). Had taken many pictures of this
famous DD. I wanted to make this trip report a different one. This will concentrate more on the climb,
the steps, the views of the hillocks and related areas. The trip report is given below.

Please open this link and minimize it as you read this writeup. The images in this link are related to the write up.

There are lots of us who will not be able to climb the hill and get the sevai of the Perumal due to time and
health constraints. This tour diary is intended to provide these people a virtual tour of this divyadesam.
Numbers in brackets represent photo number. Unlike other trip reports which contain travel details, this one
will concentrate more on the hills.

We (Not us, who traveled.but all of us, readers) took a car from Chennai and reached Sholingur via Poonamallee,
Koovam, Takkolam and Arakkonam. The first sight of the hills comes at a point 10 kms before the town (# 1). What
we see is an image of a huge lion sitting on the right side, followed by a steep hillock with a temple on it,
a comparatively smaller hillock with another temple, both the Gopurams facing North, then another small
hillock with another temple and a huge elephant sitting on the left side. The lion is a hill in front of the
periyamalai, the third temple is a Murugan temple and the elephant is also a hill.

On a closer zoom look (no need for a camera, our eyes zoom automatically to the periyamalai!), we can see the
final bunch of steps leading to the temple (# 2). Ofcourse, it is hard to avoid interference in the form of
telegraph wires.Even the huge vigraham of Anchaneyar welcoming us at Thakkankulam is not spared (# 3).
There is a large tank called Thakkankulam along the mainroad. We take a left turn to enter the Thoranavasal
# 4). We climb a small gradient to enter the temple town of Kondapalayam (# 5). We park our
car and get down to buy garlands and other stuff for Archanai, not to miss the cane to protect us from attacking
monkeys. However, I should add that all monkeys in that region are harmless unless we tease them.

A white thoranavasal (# 6) welcomes us to the periyamalai. A few long steps lead us to the point of actual
climbing (# 7). Another blue coloured thoranavasal welcomes us announcing the step 1 of our climb. The entire
stairway is clothed with a ceiling to protect us from sun and rain. There are dolis available for those who
cannot climb the steps. We just peep out to look at the Gopuram and pray that Lord Narasimha to make us make it
to the top. Interesting climb of 200 steps and a brief rest under a shady tree, we get a glimpse of the entire
chinnamalai (# 8). At point 300, we get another view of the chinnamalai, the Gopuram and the huge tree in the
prakaram (# 9). Approximately at around 350 steps, we have the first encounter - feed them or ignore them
and continue the journey. The more you stare at them or show that you are afraid, you are running a high
probability of getting caught! (# 10). At this point, we get a beautiful view of the chinnamalai after making
a frantic effort to peep out though bushes (# 11).

It is a bit tiring now, given the fact that it is April and the time is 0945 hrs. At point 500,
we have drinking water provision for all yatrikas.water that leaks out of the tank is enough for the
monkeys. We feel as if we are in Kishkintha (# 12). The steps seem to go through lots of hairpin
bends and we get a glimpse of the lion in a close-up (# 13 & 14). At point 800, we see
a vigraham of Perumal giving abhayam to an elephant (# 15). This explains the reason why we have an
elephant-like hill near the chinnamalai. Another 150 steps and we are near the mane of the lion.
It now seems to look the other side! (# 16). Just as we near the final 300 steps, we can get a
beautiful view of the Periyamalai Gopuram with a Thiruman on it (# 17 & 18). The final 300 steps are the
steepest in the bunch. Nearing point 1250, there is a mandapam from where the ceiling ends and we get a
full view of the Gopuram. Looking left, we get a distant view of the chinnamalai (# 19). We
have completed climbing 1305 steps and the grand entrance welcomes us! (# 20 & 21). We just turn back and
get a glimpse of the lion and the steps - It looks as if the lion is circled along by Adisesha himself! (# 22).

We enter the temple, have a sevai of Sri Ameerthabalavalli (Amruthavalli)Thayaar, then take a pradakshanam
of the main Perumal sannidhi to enter the ardhamandapam. We have to climb another 10 steps to reach the top-most
point of that hillock and have a sevai of Sri Yoga Nrusimhar in a sitting posture. His characteristic Thiruman
catches our heart instantly! One will not get the saturated feeling at all, the dutiful temple volunteer reminds us
that there are lots more in the queue waiting for the sevai. We head back half-heartedly, but with an element
of complete satisfaction in our hearts. On the way back, an aesthetic mandapam catches our attention (# 23).
Then it is all clear for us to the chinnamalai. On the way back, the elephant hill catches our attention -
we somehow knew the reason for its existence (# 24).We literally run through the steps during our descent.
But, it is not long-lasting. Coming down is equally tough! A couple of rests are required before we reach
point 1. We check the time before we step out.twenty four minutes have already passed (kadigai nEram).
We turn back, thank Him before heading to the other hillock (# 25).

This is the view of the chinnamalai as we enter the road leading to the temple (# 26). Located at a distance,
this hillock seems to be another big hill to climb, given the fact that we are already tired.We pray Lord
Anchaneya to give us enough will power and physical power to climb the hill. Although we are physically at
the base level, our minds get carried away to the top of the Gopuram very easily. Scorching sun for the first
200 steps takes a toil of our feet as there are no ceilings to protect. With feet turning out to be appalams,
we run to reach point 200. But, we have not missed a chance to get a glance of the beautiful gopuram through a
garland of bushes at point 100 (# 27). Point 200 also gives us a view of the gopuram with its majestic Thiruman
(# 28 & 29). Although the roof exists on the way to the top, we do feel exhausted because of physical exertion.
Water bottles look like amudakalasams. After a climb of another 100 steps, we reach a mandapam from where we
can peep out to see the Gopuram (# 30) and the Adisesha of the periyamalai (# 31). Point 406 marks the final step
in our second innings. A clear view of the entrance is available here (# 32).

We pray Lord Rama and Anchaneya while we enter the Gopruam to head straight to Anchaneyar sannidhi.
We get a nice sevai of Sri Yoga Anchaneya swami with changam and chakram in His hands. After having
a feel of satisfaction, we proceed to sannidhis of Lord Rama and Lord Ranganathar (# 33). Devasthana
prasadam stall sells all varieties of Kovil Thaligai for hungry devotees.

We head back the steps slowly, after having sevai of the Vimanam (# 34),Gopuram (# 35) and sannidhi (# 36).
The sun has not come down or gone behind clouds yet, that means the final 200 steps is again a hardship ( # 37).
We finally get down and thank Sri Anchaneya for making this happen.

The next destination was Uthsavar kovil in the main town. To our disappointment, we find locked doors (# 38).
Having had the sevai of the moolavars, we feel happy about the trip and start to head home (Chennai).


1. Some photos are taken with optical zoom. You might not see the exact picture at the first instance -
you have to zoom your eyes, if need be! Also, pictures have been cropped to add more clarity to the subject

2. Reference to on-the-way steps may not be accurate. There is a chance of an error of +/- 50 steps as
adiyen did not count the steps while taking the pictures.

3. Please add your corrections if you feel that there are factual errors. I would be glad to have them corrected.

S. Aravind