M.N. Giri and his friends, all passionate about travelling, have been trekking to various historic temples situated on hilly terrains for the past three years. They came to know about Chaduragiri hill and the Shiva temple that is situated there during their trip to Veliyangiri hills.
Perturbed by the stories and beliefs associated with the spot, Giri and his friends decided to visit the holy hill that is believed to be the converging point of four Vedas (which is also a reason why the hill is called Chaduragiri), where the 18 prominent sidhas lived and many others live even today.
Chaduragiri is surrounded by four hills and is in square shape – other reasons for the name. The trek to the hill, according to Giri, was an adventure. Elaborating on the journey, he says, “The path to the temple, which is uneven and very bumpy, is covered with small and big rocks and it might have taken approximately four hours to reach the top. The temple atop is open to public on full moon and no-moon days only, and the hilly terrain makes it extremely difficult to reach the temple during rainy season as the path serves as narrow waterways.
The Shiva temple
The water from the hills gushes down the path making the stones slippery and trekking then will be a next-to-impossible task. We, therefore, chose to visit Chaduragiri in December, which is considered to be the apt time. The trek was indeed a difficult one, but as we have been going to such places for a while now, it was not a tough one for us. Moreover, the dense cover of trees and several places amid the rocks to rest made the trek less hectic. Probably, for many others devotion might be a driving force to visit the temple even after such a tiring trek.”
The path to the Shiva temple at Chaduragiri hill
Giri and his friends Rajiv Lakshmanan, Rajish, Bajith Kumar and Anil Mambara set out on the journey to Chaduragiri, located in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, via Usalampetty and reached Thaanipaarai that is the closest foothill to Chaduragiri. Giri adds that they were surprised to learn that despite being flocked by devotees around the year, the path to the temple has not been reconstructed to make it easy for the vehicles to ply. However, they respect the tradition and have maintained the authenticity of the hill and the temple to the core. Food items and other things required by the devotees are manually carried atop, and therefore can be bought in limited quantities only.
M.N Giri during the trip to Chaduragiri
Explaining about the temple, Giri says, “The temple on Chaduragiri hill consists of three Shivalingams Sundara Mahalingam, Sundaramurthy and Chandana Mahalingam. Sundara Mahalingam is believed to have appeared on its own and is tilted to left, whereas Chandana Mahalingam is believed to have been made by goddess Parvati with sandalwood (Chandanam). Devotees believe that Chandana Mahalingam is capable of giving moksha.” One of the major features of Chaduragiri hill is that the entire place is covered with medicinal plants anddifferent varieties of herbs that are not found in other places.
When asked about the most fascinating part of the journey, Giri says, “On the way, a slight deviation took us to the Gorakkar Cave, which is believed to be the cave where Goraknath, the foremost among the 18 sidhas, meditated and created unique medicines with the medicinal plants and herbs that grew in the hills. There is a small pit near the cave that is believed to be the place where Goraknath used to pound the ingredients and make medicines. As part of commercialisation, treatments for certain ailments aredone her. However, the lack of transport facility and infrastructure has made it difficult,” he concludes.