An article in the newspaper The Hindu about the place called Velayudhapalayam, where the Tamil Brahmi Script. Now what is that Tamizh Brahmi Script. It’s a very early Tamzh. The inception of Tamizh is unknown as I said in one of my earlier posts. Lemme lend a para from my own older posts which would be apt to include here as well. “The earliest written record of Tamil is more than 2000 years old. The manuscript called Tholkappiyam was a grammer book, which means the language must have been atleast a few thousand years older than that, that it has the grammer organized 2000 years ago. Amazing, isn’t it? This is the oldest language still surviving and has been recently awarded the classical language status. I am proud, that I know the language!!!”. Tamizh has kept on changing and so kept on surviving throughout.
Now, how was Tamizh some 1800-2000 yrs ago. It was pretty different than the modern Tamizh. Every letter has evolved since its inception. Tamizh Brahmi is the version or evolution of the language that existed at 1800-2000 yrs ago. Seeing the epitaphs of Brahmi Script was rather an emotional experience for me to know it’s a evolution of my language spoken by my ancestors.
Well, I should have gone there with a friend of mine. And my duty was to wake him up in the morning, as for sure he is not expected to wake up before 11 on a Sunday. I called him at 7:00 - No answer. 7:05 - No answer. 7:15. 7:30. 7:35. 7:40. And as time went on each time frame had increased no. of calls. At 7:40 I called him atleast 10 times. No answer. That’s it. I was done with it. I hopped into a bus and left for the place.
Getting down at Velayudhampalayam, I enquired the locals as usual about the temple. Oh ya, I didn’t tell you about the temple, right. Oh my, I didn’t even tell you about the little hillock. Ok. Well, Velayudhampalayam has this temple called
I enquired route to the temple and I was questioned back – ‘Which Temple.?’. Very valid question in
There atop, the hard climb is justified – the view was exquisite. Atop was the Balasubrmaniar temple. This temple was built in 2nd C AD when the land for this temple was given by the then Chera King Nandi Verman. The legend says that when Lord Muruga rested here for a while enroute to Pazhani when he fought with his family for the Gnyana Pazham. However, the present structure here is very new. Older inscriptions & few sculptures have been kept here in the new structure.
Enroute the flight of stairs are the shrines of Malai Kaaval Iyan and Idumban. There atop in the temple are the shrines of Balasubramaniar, Minakshi, Sundareshwarar and Natarajar. Saint Arunagirinathar has sung hymns on this temple.
The temple has a park maintained by a local team. Also while renovating this temple few more interesting stories where sculpted out and set up all through the stairs.
This place is called Velayudhampalayam because of this temple. Lord Muruga has a weapon in his hand always which is called a Vel. Ayudham means weapon. So that is Velayudhampalayam. This place is also called Arnattan Malai, which mean it’s a natural hillock and not man made. This is also manipulated as Arunattan Malai which means the hillock which belongs to the 6 regions i.e this was centrally located to 6 regions. Other names for the place are Pugazhimalai, Pugazhiyur and Pugazhur.
I enquired the priest here about the Tamil Brahmi Script and he said it is locked up and the key is with the security guy who would be at the base of the hillock. Then he also said that the key might be with his bro who was the priest at the nearby Mariamman temple. No other go, I went down to find this security guy who was missing. So I went to the
The gate to go to the caves is located near the Idumban Shrine. I was accompanied by the priest of
There are actually 2 caves and 4 gates. Heavy security to preserve our heritage!!! Passing through the first 2 gates took me to the first cave where first cave.
Enroute was this interesting tree here from atop which had its roots through the rocks and finally hanging atop my head!!!
Did I tell you these caves also had Jain Beds.? Samana Padukkaigal as it is called in Tamizh, these are flat surfaces chiseled out by the Jain Monks who resided here in the 1st & 2nd C AD. These were flat surfaces sculpted out of the rocks with an elevated portion for the head like a pillow. So creative, isn’t it.? Also are some little ridges carved out. These might have been used to light up lamps with oil and some cotton fabric.
Here was the first set of inscriptions. So brainy they are to create a little ridging of the rock all through its length and then inscribing their wordings. This ridging has helped the inscriptions to survive the harsh rains.
From there the third gate. Now the route is hardly little enough to hold a person. There was the second set of inscriptions.
The place has been completely fenced by the ASI (Archeological Survey of
The trek here was worth it, the view was amazing. From here within reach was River Cauvery. The saints must have walked upto Cauvery for a holy dip. Now cauvery here has a bridge and forms the boundary between Namakkal dt. and Karur dt. Within visibility were TNPL and EID Parrys.
Somehow the view from here atop reminded me of the flight landing in
These 2 caves are natural caves i.e they were not dug up by humans. One was north facing and the other was south facing. Now you must have deciphered – the travel from one cave to the other is almost walking all around the hill. The incriptions here tell about regional heads Kottri, Karuvur Ponvikan, Natthi, Perunkeeran, Aathan etc. Also these inscriptions tell about King Ilankadungo, his dad Perunkadungo and his dad Ko Aathan Sellarumporai.
While returning, just before the second gate, I spotted another area where the inscriptions were present. Another panel of writings of my own ancestors in my own language!!! I was overwhelmed.
From here I could spot other must see places – Kollimalai & Kabilarmalai. The priest informed me that the temple has a huge crowd on the days of Thai Pusam and Sura Samharam. So if you’re planning to visit the caves & inscriptions avoid these dates as he may not accompany you!!!
6 flights up and down the 400 stairs in search of the key, the priest etc etc etc was not wasted!!! My heart was content with an overwhelming sense of happiness!!! Its worth it!!!!!
TO REACH HERE:
Very near to Karur, Tamil Nadu.
From Karur: 16km
Regular buses available. Buses towards Namakkal pass through Velayudhampalayam.
Ph no. of the priests here:
Kurukkal Chandru: +91 94435 51890
Kurukkal Ramesh: +91 99522 26444
Mr. Kannan of Thanthondrimalai ASI: +91 97905 32052