Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arapaleeswarar Temple in Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, India

The entire range of the Kolli Hills gets a religious importance because of the Arapaleeswarar Temple. Such is the importance of this temple that the ancient Tamil literature speaks of this temple in glorious terms.

This temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled the area. Lord Shiva is the main deity here. It is also believed that a secret path connects this temple to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram, situated about 50 kilometres by road.

Well, I visited this temple for the second time about a couple of weeks back. Me and my friends made our way into the temple after finishing our shower under the Agaya Gangai Waterfalls.

The temple as such is pretty small. When I had visited the temple last, it had a dark and gloomy look about it, but now, it looked like it had gotten a facelift with fresh paint and some renovation work.

But, the facelift only seemed to be inside the temple campus. The area outside seems to be getting pretty bad with lots of garbage strewn everywhere. Tourists and locals alike seemed to be responsible.

Coming back to the temple…Inside the temple, one can see shrines of various gods and goddesses. It also has dedicated shrines for all the planet rulers (the navagraha). Just behind the main shrine, one can spot some ancient inscriptions. These inscriptions didn’t resemble any of this generation’s scripts. If I remember right, these inscriptions were created during the construction of the temple and hence can be seen on the foundation stones.

Around the temple, one can also see the place where animal sacrifices are made. It is sad that such practices are followed even in the 21st century.

Upon striking a conversation with the locals I found out that a lot of devotees throng to this temple during the ‘Aadi Perukku’ day when they get to witness the symbolic adorning of the ‘nose ring’ for the fish at the Panchanathi, the jungle stream that cascades down as the Agaya Gangai Falls.

The Valvil Ori festival and the spring festivals are also known to draw huge crowds to the temple. All around the temple, one can see a lot of sadhus and hermits who are keen followers of the tantric art. No wonder, Kolli Hills was the headquarters of ancient black magic.

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