Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sittanavasal Cave/ Arivar Koil/ Jain cave temple and Eladipattam

Next stop was Sittanavasal there are two roadthat can be taken,but I followed the Musiri-Kulithalai-Manapparai-Pudukottai--Alangudi-Peravoorani-Sethubavacam Rd which was quite familiar to me.

I did not stop at Eladipattam as I wanted to start with Sittanavasal. I first read about Sittanavasal in  The Hindu back in my school days.Sittanavasal is not a popular destination among usual visitors definitely  underrated. Sittanavasal or Arivar koil is a rock cut temple.The first sight one get to see is that of pillared enclosure and steps upon the slopy hill that will lead take you to the cave temple.I was told that this pillared construction is relatively new dating to 20th century by Pandiya kings .But all  these were put together as a result of restoration carried out by ASI. .There are tamil inscriptions on the forepart of the temple.

Like I mentioned maintained by ASI the place is ticketed and there is a guide cum care taker who explains  about the place.Being Sunday there were few tourist otherwise it carries a deserted look. The guide is a short tempered man so be careful with his mood swing..The temple is relatively small with a hall and a main sanctum sanctorum.
There are beautiful fresco that  have withstood the test of time.He explained that few of them were lost as a result of vandalism.He didn't let us take picture and this was the one I managed before he stopped.

If these painting were so wonderful I was wondering how amazing the paintings of Ajanta caves Maharastra would be.The painting depicts a lotus pond and the flowers being collected by monks , animals from the pond depicting Jaina Samavasarana. He informed us that all these paintings are regarded as the greatest of the old century.
The sanctum sanctorum is a small room like enclosure were the guide demonstrated an interesting thing.He explained to us that the monks mediated here striking a balance of the mind with that of nature and when that comes in line a reverberating OM a mesmerizing chant could be heard.These definitely got me goose bumps , there were other tourists who all tried their turn to get it right but in vain.
This place is a must visit for archaeology enthusiasts.Very underrated

Eladipattam is a natural rock shelter on top of a hill.One can walk through the steps that could be slight tricky but there are iron support to help you out.

There are low roofed rock beds with inscriptions.They are behind iron bars to protect them from vandalism, which has already destroyed the beauty of it.It really breaks my heart to see such things upon such heritage important sites, destroying the very essence of the soul.There are seventeen beds in number.

One can and enjoy the view of the village from top .Its a best place to be around 5:00 pm evening .They close down at 5:30.Like Sittanavasal there is an entry fee of Rs 5.
Jain monks living a life so well in the old days choosing all these caves for their way of life and builting it the way they chose is still an enigma to me.

How to reach
This place is well connected to Trichy and Pudukottai by road though there are government operating,I would recommend for a personal vehicle.Get your GPS on toe or do not shy away to ask for direction.The locals are quiet helpful and don't get carried away with their walkable distance.For them even five to eight mile (one mile is equal to 1.6 km) is a walkable distance.It would be good if you browse through the history before you get to the place ,so that it is easy to understand when the guide explains to you about the fresco or to search for the number of beds in the cavern. 3 to 4pm would be an ideal time to visit the place for having a breezy evening.
The nearest railway station is Pudukottai though Trichy would be ideal for people from most places.

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