Uthiyur Hills aka Pon Uthiyur - Konganar Cave (Karur - Tamil Nadu)

This was one place which was in my list since some time. Some reason or other made my trip keeping on delayed. And one fine day I cajoled my friend and yes, we were there at Pon Uthiyur to go to the Konganar Caves.

So where did I come to know of this place? One fine morning, in the tv channel Sun News there came a coverage about this place called Pon Uthiyur where there are some hillocks which are considered as the Sanjeevani Hill of the south.

When the great Ramayana war happened between Rama and Ravana in Ceylon, Rama’s brother Lakshmanan was attacked by an arrow sent by Ravana which made him almost dead. So to cure him, Jambavan asked Hanuman to get a Sanjeevani herb from the Himalayan range in between the peaks of Rishabam and Kailasa. And Hanuman followed suit. But in the specified location in the hill between the 2 peaks he couldn’t find the herb. So frustrated he felt like breaking the hill into pieces. But he suddenly came up with the idea of lifting the whole hill and taking it to Jambavan and he did it. When he flew across the whole length of India from Himalayas to Ceylon a few pieces of the hill fell in several places along the length. One of it was in Uthiyur, where the sage Konganar Sithar meditated in a small cave at the top of the hill. Once Hanuman reached, Jambavan took the Sanjeevani herb from the hill and gave its juice to the whole battalion and saved everyone's lives.

This hill, till date, is considered to have all those medicinal plants including Sanjeevani. Though the program didn’t give any details about the medicinal plants in this it gave a decent coverage about the place on a whole with interviews from several locals. Though the program said that the place is near Kangeyam, I had no clue where in Kangeyam is this place. After searching the net for pretty long time, I found some details about this place. It was spelt Uthiyoor by some other site and atleast I got the info that its midway to Dharapuram from Kangeyam. We started off and were there at Uthiyur shortly.

It was a pretty small village with a hillock at one side. Not just a hillock, there were atleast 3-4. There was a little temple after a flight of 100 steps from the ground, which is the base temple ‘Uthanda Velayudhasamy Thirukoil’ with a huge water-well as well and the little path with few rocky steps beside the temple lead us to the base of a hillock and the steps ended there as well. There were few more little mandapams in a dilapidated condition.

There were few sculptures here and there, and also some hero-stones. But I couldn’t make out the era it could have been from. Must be Chola period with regards to its location, but which Chola king or which century, I had no clue.

From that point there was no proper path as well. And so started our trek. Somehow we assumed that the little temple like structure at the peak of one of the hillocks was our destination. There was a little muddy pathway that was rocky at most of the places. Also there were several smaller pathways (somehow I’m reminded of the riddle, ‘What is smaller existing thing than the ants.? It’s the ants’ food…!!!), that took us directly into the midst of the forest area of the hillock. We ventured into some of them and came back to the main pathway. At several places, we were faced with double roads and it was our own choice to take whichever we wanted to as there was no soul anywhere around to ask! The route was rocky and the hill was pretty vertical, not so shallow as Viralimalai. Many a places the muddy pathway was also missing. The sight of the same pathway continuing after a small distance guided through. Filled with several plants that formed a decently thick forest-like area, I am sure, several among these huge number of plants must be medicinal which would include the Sanjivani as well.

A route divided into 2 and there was a little board that showed an arrow to a route that read “Route to Chetti Thambiran Temple”. A little more trek and we were at the Chetti Thambiran Temple. This is a small temple formed by the space in between 2 rocks. The sounds heard here were freaky at times, thanks to the several rocks and boulders and heavy winds that blow through them.

A little more climb from there (in a good knows what kinds route!!! Do you see any defined path in the above pic? If not don’t worry. That’s the ‘path’ that had to be taken) took us to the hill top and there was a little temple of Lord Ganesh.

The wind was fantastic and the view was breathtaking. Care had to be taken not to go to the edges of the boulders there. A fall from there could definitely prove fatal. Some boulders dropped just vertically at 90 deg!!!

And my friend ventured to those points for the sake of the adventure and some photos as well!!!

While I took my heart’s content of photographs, we were soon accompanied by 2 more people. They were on their way to Sabarimalai in Kerala and had climbed to take the blessing of this Lord Ganesh. I enquired him about the Konganar Cave and he gave an astonishing information. We had to climb ‘that’ hill he directed, to another hill with few boulders atop. Wow!!! Remember that board we saw enroute? We had to take the other path at that junction and must have climbed the other one. I saw my friend and he gave a funny expression. Should we venture? I wanted to and he was like, “There is no point to come all the way here and going back without even looking at that cave”.

Yeah, this is the pic of the hill that we should have climbed from the other hill that we had actually climbed!!! So off we started of to that point where we should have diverted.

After walking some more distance in the right path, we met someone. Know what, I believe in God and something made me think, he was God himself. In an absolutely lonely forest which just no humans around, just to see him, I was relieved. He was an old man in his 60’s. He was on his way to the temple located at the midway of this hill. There was a wedding going on in this temple. He was telling me about himself that he’s a weaver etc. and he was often visiting this temple till some 10 yrs ago. Ever since then this was his trip after that.

This hill had several more herbs I guess. It was thicker and had several plants that I hadn’t seen before. There were several fruits that looked delicious. No, I didn’t venture to taste ‘em. I had no intention to die or even faint in that forest!!! Enroute, there was a funny structure of a tree. The ariel root of a particular tree had joined itself to another tree and had formed a swing.

But as we ascended the trees were less and there were more plants and shrubs. And soon there we reached that temple he told. It’s a typical small village temple. There were several monkeys here. And there was a decent crowd of around 15-20 people here, thanks to the wedding. The people were kind here. We were asked to eat and go, but we kindly refused and took enough water. Our bottles had long before got emptied, thanks to the ascent and descent of the first hill and again the ascent of the second hill.

From here, these people again guided us to the peak of the hill to go to the Konganar Caves. As we stepped to go higher, some strange wild sounds scared me to the core. After contemplating for some time, whether to venture up or not, we spotted a few more monkeys. Funny enough, it was those monkeys that produced those strange sounds like real wild beasts.

There atop at the peak, there were 2 people already meditating. Here again there was a little room created by the space between 2 boulders. It was here that Sage Konganar Sithar meditated and lost his physical self. Sithar’s are yogists who are in the high meditative state and lose their physical state and attain divinity.

There is a pathway to enter this cave from the rear as well. It could be entered from the rear side through a small tunnel like opening and crawled down into the cave. Else in a simpler way you could enter it from the huge front opening.

The other 2 people who were meditating there, had gotten up by now and were giving blown rice locally called Pori to the monkeys there. Only then I felt I should have brought some Pori as well. It was only at this point, I came to know monkeys store their food in their jaw when they get and sit down to eat it in peace later!!! After enjoying the pranks of the monkeys for some time, we started climbing down.

I can give you tip or two. Take some Pori, monkeys are gonna love you for that. Take enough water. Thank God, cell phone picks up signal here. And the most imp., it’s not ok for girls to venture alone here.

Even now, I have no clue about the specifics of the medicinal herbs or the Sanjeevani here. But even after climbing up and down 2 hills, which would have covered atleast 30km in total on foot, we weren’t all that tired. On any other normal day on a normal location we would have been almost dead. But here the tiredness was almost just as if we had walked hardly a km on a sunny day. Just as we say, ‘Love is in the air’, I am sure to say about Uthiyur that ‘Medicine is in the air’…!!!


TO REACH THERE

From Trichy: 73km via Kangeyam. Break journey via Kangeyam via Vellakovil.

From Tiruppur: 40km via Kangeyam. Break journey via Kangeyam.

From Dharapuram: 19km towards Kangeyam. Frequent buses are available.

From Kangeyam: 14km towards Dharapuram. Frequent buses are available.

Nearest Bus Stop: Uthiyur aka Pon Uthiyur

Food: There are a few local messes here. Nearest place for good restaurants and hotel is Kangeyam.


Dedicated to Arun

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

22 comments:

  1. That was a long exciting walk. I'm tired just reading about it.

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  2. oh wow! must have been a thrilling adventure!

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  3. Honestly your blog is very beautiful and interesting. Be sure that as soon as I have some free time I will hosts some of your gorgeous pictures. Regards and appreciation. NAMASTE!

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  4. Very exciting and adventurous journey. The shots are beautiful.

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  5. You sure have the nerve to go to places in the middle of almost nowhere...
    enjoyed ur guide ,envy you though :)

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  6. One more interesting place! Great post!

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  7. Hello Greetings and good wishes:)

    This is an amazing tale of adventure told in wonderful detailed description with captivating photos.

    You took me to a beautiful place steeped in mythology and history. I enjoyed the lovely tour and to tell you honestly I could not even have walked half the distance. Your courage,determination, spirit of adventure is truly marvelous.

    Wish you all the best:)
    Joseph

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  8. @Diane,
    Ha ha... But it was not too tired and rather refreshing!!! Magic of the place might be!!!

    @Magic Eye,
    It was. Indeed!!!

    @Phivos,
    I'd be glad to see my posts in your blog as well. Thank you so much!!! :)

    @Rajesh,
    Thank you dear..

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  9. @Sathish,
    Ahhhhh.. Dont envy me pls... :)

    @Jose,
    Thanks sweetheart.. :)

    @Joseph,
    Thank you so much... Bless me please that I must keep going and keep exploring all new places.. :) Thank u so much for the appreciation.. :)

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  10. very interesting place..ive never travelled ironically much in TN

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  11. uthiyur and konganar malai are close to my native village. it is a peaceful place and the locals love it.
    Happy to see it featured here. It is amazing to see the effort you took to find out about this place, explore it and write about it!

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  12. @Lakshmi,
    Why so???? Do visit TN, you'll love it!!!

    @Artbeautysociety,
    First, welcome to my blog!!! So nice to know someone from that part of world. Thank you so much for your appreciation. Do visit here often!!! Would love your comments!!!

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  13. My Salute to your Courage and Thanks to your friend who accompanied on your exploratory journey without discouraging you.

    Knowing your interest in places of religious & mythological importance, I would suggest you visit Kolli Hills as well.

    Best Regards,
    Senthil

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  14. following my previous comment. Some other places of interest to you may be
    1. Arthanareeswarar Temple (Thiruchengodu)
    2. Saneeshwarar Temple in Tiruchengodu (The statue believed to be made of Navabashanam - Told in Kalaingar TV yesterday)

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  15. @Senthil,
    Thank you so much for your comments.. :)
    Thank you again for the appreciation. I'll let my friend know your appreciation as well!!!
    I've visited Kolli as a kid!!! Yet to visit there as a trekker and to visit the temple!!! Hope to go thr soon.
    Thiruchengodu is on my immediate list. Will venture soon!!! :)

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  16. Hello Mitr,

    Cartography is my hobby and i am currently in the process of mapping the places i have known or came to know, in GoogleMapMaker (http://www.google.com/mapmaker), hoping it will be useful for people planning to visit places when they use google maps.
    Thanks to the detailed description in your blog, I was able to find and map the Uthiyur Hills and the details. I hope I have added the details right. I have also included your blog link in the description and the photo URL's.

    Thanks, Senthil

    PS: a small correction to the Title of the Uthiyur Hills blog. It states Karur , maybe it should be Tirupur or Kangayem

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  17. @Senthil,
    Thank you for including my blog link in Google Maps.
    Btw, I generally put in the dt. name in the title. That's why Karur!!! :)

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  18. History of kolli hills



    The Kolli Hills are featured in several works of classical Tamil literature such as Silappathigaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru and Ainkurnuru. The region was ruled by Valvil Ori around 200 A.D., who is praised as one of the seven great philanthropists of ancient Tamil Nadu. His valor and marksmanship are sung by several poets, and his exploits are a popular part of folklore. Ori is said to have killed a lion, bear, deer and a boar with a single arrow.

    The hills are said to be guarded by Kollipavai, the local deity. According to legend, the sages chose Kolli hills when they were looking for a peaceful place to do their penance. However, the demons invaded the hills to disrupt the penance when the sages began their rituals. The sages prayed to Kollipavai, who according to the myth, chased away the demons with her enchanting smile.




    Kolli Hills forest
    Apart from its historical significance, the mountains are covered with evergreen forests, but increasing areas of forests have been cleared for farming. Important farm products of the mountain ranges include coffee, tea, jackfruit, pineapple, black pepper and other spices. Rice and other minor millets form the staple food of the tribal people who inhabit these mountains. The jackfruit grown on these mountains is well known for its taste and fragrance and is often soaked in wild honey that is also harvested from these mountains. The mountains are covered by lush green vegetation in the spring and monsoon, and are streaked with streams which add to the natural beauty.



    Tourism
    Some of the famous spots are

    · Agaya Gangai Waterfalls

    Agaya Gangai is an enchanting 300 feet (91 m) waterfall of the riverAiyaru

    · Siddhar caves

    · Mini Falls

    · Arappaleeswar Temple

    · Ettukai Amman Temple

    · Masi Periyasamy Temple and falls

    · Selur View Point

    · Boat House

    · Botanical Garden

    · Seekuparai viewpoint

    · Sandana Parai

    · German swami's ashram


    indly feel free to call us for any further clarifications



    Warm Regards,
    Manimaran Maharajan|CEO | INEST INFOTECH | Bangalore
    CEO| wild orchid camp|Kolli Hills

    MOBILE: +919739700059
    manima2001@gmail.com

    http://kollihillresorts.weebly.com

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  19. @Manimaran,
    Whoa!!! That's long and thanks a lot for so much info!!!
    But are you sure you want it here or in my Kolli hills post!!!

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  20. Hello, In Google maps it was wrongly marked with another oothiyur which is near to kundadam in tirupur district now where there are no caves. Please correct that

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  21. Hello Sir,
    Actually I am searching for Exact samadhi place of Konganavar in Tirupathi. When Iam accidently seen your blog, i very much surpised to see konganavar cave . When i start reading , it is very interesting and i was eager to know whether you reached the cave . It is like thriller Novel. How many hrs it took to complete. With so many hurdles you visited Konganavar, do you felt any special vibration, what is the output ?

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