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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sastha at Kazhugumalai

A wonderful and awe-inspiring exploration we made at Kazhugumalai : 

One of my friend, a scholar told me about the Arya Deva's temple near Kazhugumalai and I was waiting to visit this place to explore the temple. 

There are several old shrines of ayyan in the tamil country and their antiquity is supported by the mention of such shrines in the shilappadhikAraM. 

When my father told that we would visit Kazhugumalai Murugan temple, I immediately planned for the exploration. The village may have got its present name from the hill Kalugumalai ("Hill of the vulture"). Earlier it was known as Araimalai or Thirumalai. Even before that it was referred as Nechchuram and Tiruneccuram. Some of the epigraphies mentions that there was a palace for the pandya official called Ettimannan. 

Kazhukumalai Murugan temple is dedicated to Shad Bahu Subramaniya. ie Murugan seated on a Peacock and having 6 hands. This is a cave temple, located at the foothils of the temple. The temple had a vigraham of Booththar - which indicated me the presence of Lord Sastha. 

We inquired about the Lord with the local people and we were advised to try with the hill nearby. It is rocky hill suddenly rises next to the temple. There are many semi finished rock-cut temples in this hill. This belongs to the 8th century cave temples. The centre portion of a rock is excavated in a rectangular fashion and in the middle the temple is sculpted from a single piece of rock. The temple has a centre hall for the main deity and Lord Vinayaka is worshipped. This temple style reminds us of the Kailasnath temple of Ajantha and Ellora. We also have few jain carvings and caves in which the Jinas lived.

Climbing further, On top of a rocky terrain is the archaic shrine of Sastha. Outside the temple a very huge stone idol of Boothathaar Swami is also seen. There is a small cave nearby and inside which Lord Sasta sits in silence flanked by his two wives. and it gives an indication that this might have been a very big Kshetra from time immemorial.

The breathtaking scenic beauty, the hills of Kazhugumalai, the temple of Lord Sastha inside the cave - makes us understand thatBagawan's presence is unmistakable. Nothing is visible on an outward look - but sitting in meditation will definetly make us feel the primal presence of the Lord in that silence. The cave temple is a rare experince and one must visit at least once