Visit to temples around Kangeyam – Day 3
Places visited during the trip:
1) Sri Muthukumara Swamy Temple at Vattamalai
We packed off from the Kangeyam lodge and proceeded towards Dindigul to join our daughter and son-in-law who were coming from Bangalore. We travelled in the Tharapuram (Pazhani) route and our first temple was Vattamalai Murugan, just about 4-5 kms from Kangeyam. Wow, what a beautiful temple in a scenic location! You can understand the beauty of the location from the fact that Chennai Express and many Tamil movies were shot here.
It was 7:30 AM and the temple was not open. The Gurukkal said that the temple will be opened only by 9 AM and upon our request, he finally agreed to come and promptly came soon. The temple is on a tiny rocky hill, possibly a single rock, with just about 100 steps. Even for that, a road has been made for vehicles.
Vinayagar and Idumban shrines are on the way to the hilltop. It was Konganagiri in olden days since Kongana Siddhar lived here. His cave is in Uthiyur, a few kms from here. It is said that this was a Shiva temple till 1949 and during the consecration then, Sri Muthukumara Swamy was installed and became a Murugan temple. Mahavishnu’s Adhishesha is installed near Murugar.
The arthamandapam has pillar sculptures of Shiva, Parvathi, Hanuman, Ramar, Mahavishnu, various Sages and Siddhars and many others.
On top of the Garbha graha entry and in the ceiling:
On the koshta walls:
In the Dwajasthambam:
During the visit, an incident took place which was heavy on heart :
When we did our archana, an young boy and girl joined with a garland for Murugan and did the archana in their names. After finishing our worship, the Gurukkal locked the hilltop temple and left to come back at his usual time. While I was taking photos around, 3 more people joined the boy & girl and we found that a marriage was taking place for them at the Vinayagar shrine with just 5 people including the couple! Except the bride, who was in a sad mood understandably, there was no lady at all. A person was guarding around the temple in a two wheeler to make sure that everything is completed smoothly. Though they tied their knot apparently without the permission from both sides, we were wondering at the Lord Mururga’s gesture for them, to bring the Gurukkal at an unusual time (though us) and accept their garland & archana.
After Vattamalai, we then continued on the same route to Tharapuram (Pazhani) and went to Uthiyur, 4-5 kms from Vattamalai.
It’s a big hill with a cluster of temples at various heights with full of trees and bushes. At the base of the hill, on the main road itself, there is Sri Brahalanayahi sametha Sri Kailasanathar Temple and about 200+ steps of climbing will take us to the Sri Uthanda Velayutha Swamy Murugan temple, a little further trekking for 10 minutes to Chetti Thamibiran Siddhar (a disciple of Kongana Siddhar) temple, a still further trekking for 15 minutes to Sri Uchi Pillaiyar temple. All these four are close to each other and from there a long trek will take us to the Kongana Siddhar cave. There are proper steps and a road for vehicles only upto the Murugar temple and beyond that only a trek path is available.
If you want to trek only to the Kongana Siddhar cave there is a shorter path. In the Tharapuram route itself you can go further from Uthiyur for another 1.5 kms and you can see a three way junction that branches off on the right to a town called Kundadam (where there is a famous Bairavar temple which was the next temple we visited). There is a sign board at the junction, take that road and travel further for about 1 km to see an arch on the right welcoming us to the Kongana Siddhar cave.
2a) Sri Brahalanayahi sametha Sri Kailasanathar Temple
2b) Sri Uthanda Velayutha Swamy (Murugan) Temple
The Murugar in Dhandayuthapani posture is very beautiful and unlike the other temples, we can have a very close and satisfying dharshan of the deity.
The hill is a very sacred place since it’s a house of many Siddhars. Kongana Siddhar stayed and meditated here and got the dharshan of Lord Shiva. He used to make gold by breathing out air through mouth into some clay tubes and pouring a mix of herbal liquids. It is said that the clay tubes are still present in the hill. Since he used the ‘breathing out’ technique the place is called Oothiyur / ஊதியூர் (In tamil ‘oothi’/ ‘ஊதி’ means breathing out) and the hill itself is called Pon Oothi malai (பொன் ஊதி மலை). When we went, about 50 boys and girls in uniform from the nearby school came to the Murugan temple and climbed up. We visited only the Shiva temple at the base and the Murugan temple at the hill. We haven’t attempted to go further due to shortage of time but it’s a very nice place to trek and have some great spiritual experience.
3) Kundadam Sri Vaduganathar / Sri Bairavar Temple
As per our plan, our temple visits would have been completed with the Uthiyur temples and thinking so, we were proceeding to Dindigul to join our daughter and son-in-law who were coming from Bangalore. Just when we started from Uthiyur, we got a call from our daughter saying that they were stuck in a traffic jam near Salem due to a lorry accident on the highway and they were delayed by an hour. Just then we were crossing a T-junction past Uthiyur and the signboard there showed a diversion to a place called Kundadam. It struck a bell in me all of a sudden since there is a popular Bairavar temple there which I noted down but didn’t plan due to some deviation from our planned route. But now that we have an hour of time, I immediately stopped the car and reversed to take the diversion to Kundadam. God willing, he can invite us to His abode at any time! Had my daughter’s call was delayed by 5-10 minutes we would have gone past the T-junction by a few kms and we wouldn’t have taken the pain to come back and take the diversion. The timing was exact on the spot!
Not just that, we had another lovely experience. When we approached the temple, a few months old dog intercepted our car from nowhere and went ahead in front of us in the middle of the road. It took us slowly to the temple, every now and then looking back to confirm that we were following him. Remember we were going to a popular and powerful Bairavar temple!
Though this is a Shiva temple and the main deity is Lord Vidangeeswarar with Ambal Visalakshi this is better known as Bairavar temple with a separate shrine for KalaBairava Vaduganathar who is considered equivalent to Kasi Kalabhairavar in power.
In Mahabharatha, Keesakan who disturbed Draupathi was killed by Bheema here and so this was referred as “Kondra-Idam” (Kondra means killed and Idam means place in tamil) that became Kundadam.
Another interesting fact is when the Pandavas were in exile into the forests here, they were identified by Dhuryodhana’s men and it was reported to Dhuryodhana. So this is called Kanda-Idam (Kanda means found in tamil), which later became Kundadam.
Once this area was a forest and Vidanga Maharishi did penance on Kasi Viswanathar but got frequent external disturbances. He prayed to Kasi Viswanathar who then sent Vaduga Bairavar (one form of Lord Shiva) who is highly powerful in Kasi, to protect the penance of Vidanga Marishi. Vaduga Bairvavar stayed with Vidanga Maharishi here.
Once the Vaaniga Chettiars (trading community) were crossing the forest here with bags of pepper and Vaduga Bairavar wanted to play with them. He took the form of an old Brahmin and asked for some pepper to cure his cough. They told that it is not (costly) pepper but green gram. When they reached Madurai, it turned out to be green gram really and was about to be punished by the King. At that time, a celestial voice told that it is He who played the trick. The God then directed the King to Kundadam forest and made him pray to Lord Vidangeeswarar and Vaduga Bairavar. The son and daughter of the King who were disabled and dumb got cured and as a gratitude, the King built this temple.
Lord Shiva who was worshipped by Vidanga Maharishi is present here as Lord Vidangeeswarar along with Visalakshi ammai. Vaduga Bairavar is present in a separate sanctum and is considered equal to Kasi Kala Bairavar.
Sthala Vruksham: Ianthai
4) Sri Ramaswamy Siddhar Adhishtanam at Ottanchathram
After Kundadam, we were proceeding to Dindigal via Tharapuram / Ottanchathram and when we were passing through the Ottanchathram bypass, I saw a board “Ramaswamy Siddhar Adhishtanam”. It rang a bell in me again since I wanted to visit this during our earlier trip to Pazhani Murugan just about 4 months back but we couldn’t because we went in a group. Now that I was just passing through it, didn’t want to miss it. It’s just a small single shrine adhishtanam and we had a pleasant dharshan. He has done many miracles like the other Siddhars and lived in recent times.
Read Ramaswamy Siddhar’s life and miracles here:
With that we came to the real end of our Kangeyam temple trip and reached Dindigal. In a few minutes, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter joined us. There is very good private car parking here for about 60 cars in 4 rows. Some cars are stationed on a monthly rental and the daily rental was 100 Rs a day. It is located in the Scheme Road just behind the main bus stand. We dropped one car there and all went together in a single car to Thekkady for a 2 days pleasure trip, came back, took back the other car and returned to our respective destinations. It was a great pleasure driving all through and for a 550+ kms single stretch driving on return to Chennai, it was not all that tiring, thanks to my new Honda Amaze Automatic!
Well, that’s all for now and hopefully will meet you in another similar temple trip. Thanks to everyone who were travelling with me all along!