|Elevation||1,778 m (5,833 ft)|
|Important festivals||Tamil and Telugu New year, Chitra Pournami, Karthikai Deepam|
|History and governance|
The Velliangiri Mountains, (Tamil: வெள்ளியங்கிரி மலை) a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, are situated at the Western Ghats border of Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu. Known as the "Thenkailayam (Tamil: தென்கயிலை) - Kailash of the South", these mountains are held and revered on par with spiritually most powerful place on the planet - Mount Kailash, the legendary abode of Lord Shiva. On the top of the Velliangiri Mountains, Shiva is worshipped as Swayambhu, one who is self-created and in this form, he graces the devotees.
Story of Velliangiri
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These mountains became sacred because of a long time ago devotee of him. There was a young maiden at the southernmost point of the Indian peninsular who aspired to hold Shiva's hand as a wife.
Her devotion and austerities crossed all levels of sanity and she remained absolutely focused upon him every moment.
This stirred Shiva's compassion and love. So he started making his journey to South India. Once he reached, villagers who didn't like their marriage said it was a bad day that day and asked Shiva to go back to Kailash and come back the next day before the sun rises. Shiva did that and before he could come back the next day, he could not meet the deadline due to a false setup which was created by the villagers. They put lots of camphor and burnt them making it look like the sun had rose. He was close but since he felt the time crossed he sat there itself. She was angry and left her body standing. Even today she stands there as Kanyakumari. There is a shrine on the very tip of this landmass which is known as Kanyakumari or the 'Maiden's Shrine.'
Shiva felt very disappointed with himself that he could not make it on time. He started walking back and needed a place to sit and work out his despondency. So he climbed up this Velliangiri mountains and at the peak of this mountain he sat. Wherever Shiva spent a little time, people call that place 'Kailash' due to the mountains imbibe his presence and reverberate it eternally. So they called Velliangiri Mountains the 'Kailash of the South'. The mountain peak is 6000 feet above the sea level, and its chillness, wind force, cloudy mist, and the steepness gives hard climbing for a devotee.
The Velliangiri hills form a major range in the Western Ghats in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The seven hills with altitudes ranging from 520 m – 1840 m are bordered by the plains of Coimbatore district to the east, the Palghat district of Kerala on the western boundary, the Nilgiri mountains to the north, and the Siruvani hills on the southern boundary. The annual rainfall is quite variable in the hills (500 mm – 7000 mm) with temperatures ranging from 0 °C during winter to 41 °C in the summer. Many seasonal rivers such as the Neelivaikal, Mayar or Andisunai traverse the hilly landscape. The Noyyal river originating from Velliangiri hills is one of the major tributaries of the Cauvery, which irrigates about 100,000 of hectares of agricultural land in the plains. The Velliangiri hills watershed feeds into the Siruvani dam, which is the main drinking water supply for 1,500,000 people in the urban centre of Coimbatore.
Sacredness of these Mountains - The Seven Hills
Shiva is known as Swayambhu, the source of the creator.
Normally pilgrimage to a place is unlike trekking. Even today going for Kailash is not possible for many. So in this sense, Thenkailaya yatra has become significant and great possibility for one.
The places like Ottar Samadhi, Sadhguru Shri Brahma's Samadhi are supposedly found here.
The Siva Temple
Of all the mountain shrines in Kongunadu, the Siva temple of Velliangiri in the western boundary is considered to be the most famous. Known as Rajathagiri, Velliangiri, Dakshin Kailash or Bhoolok Kailash, this sacred spot, according to legend, is where Siva performed his cosmic dance on the request of his consort Umadevi. The five faces of Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara and Sadasiva, are seen as Panchagiri and as Panchalingas pertaining to the panchabhutas, in Velliangiri. The hill ranges have abundant natural resources, which include rare herbs.
Lord Panchalingesa and his Consort Manonmani amman alias Parvathi, bestow their grace on the devotees who throng here annually between February and May. Women between 12 and 45 years of age are not permitted to climb up the mountains. There is a plan to provide shelters and temporary toilets near Andisunnai for the devotees during the season.
A unique feature of Dakshina Kailash (Then Kailayam or Kailas of the south) is the annadhanam organised by the Arya Vaisya jewellers and Raja kula Okkaligars from KEMPATTY COLONY for the past two centuries, for four days during Mahasivaratri. It is now carried out by the Raja Kula Okkaligar jeweller community and the Lala group.
The Transport Corporation ply buses between Coimbatore (Gandhi Puram) and Poondi every day. Special bus services are available during festive occasions like Maha Shivrathri. Coimbatore is on the international circuit with flights connecting it to Singapore and Sharjah. On the domestic front it is well connected to Kozhikode, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi by both rail and road.
The season that are suitable for trekking this mountain is between Feb to May, and we have to be careful about Elephants near Bamboo Trees and other animals.
During the season there is forest check post at the base camp to filter the plastics which will harm the wild animals. Its good to support the forest people for checking and collect some thrown away plastics back from the hills.
5 km from the foot hills or the Poondi temple. 30 km from the commercial center Coimbatore city and near Siruvani, Altitude: 6000 ft. Dhyanalingam is just 2 km away from Poondi temple, walkable distance.
The restaurants at the foothills allow people to sleepover on the floor. Nearby upscale Tamara Resort is one other option. These are the option for people who want to start climbing very early. There is no accommodation to stay at the hills. To stay at the hill, one has to carry tents and sleeping bags as it gets very cold at night.
For bath, since it will be too crowded during the season in the foot hills, its better to take a dip in Theerthakund (Dhyanalingam) before trek to Velliangiri hills.
- வெள்ளியங்கிரி மலை
- Shiva and the Velliangiri Mountains
- Velliangiri Hills Conservation Campaign
- Velliangiri Hills, Ideal Locale for pilgrimage off Kovai
- Manjampatti Valley
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Velliangiri Mountains.|
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