Friday, December 1, 2017

Chitharal Jain Monuments, Vellamcode, Kanyakumari

Chitharal Jain Monuments, Vellamcode, Kanyakumari
The Chitharal Jain Monuments; also known as Chitharal Malai Kovil (literally Temple on the Hill), Chitharal Cave Temple or Bhagwathi Temple, Chitral; are situated on the Thiruchanattu Malai (Thiruchanattu hillocks) near Chitharal village in Vellamcode in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. Chitharal hills are locally known as Chokkanthoongi Hills. Chitharal is historically known as Thirucharanathupalli – the abode of Jain monks belonging to Digambara sect.

It is famous for the hillock which has a cave containing rock-cut sculptures of Thirthankaras and attendant deities carved inside and outside dating back to the 9th century. Jain influence in this region was due to the Jain King Mahendra Varman-I (610-640). It was converted into a Bhagavathy Temple in the 13th Century A.D. The temple is a protected monument under Archeological Survey of India (ASI). Plenty of visitors visits and enjoy the beauty of Chitharal hill and cave temple. Visit the place as a pilgrim not as a tourist.

Jain influence in this region was due to the Jain King Mahendra Varman-I (610-640). During the rule of the Cholas in the 11th century CE, the decline of Jainism began. The Chitharal caves were then converted into a Hindu temple in 1250 CE and an image of Bhagavathy (Durga) was installed. There are nine stone inscriptions in Tamil Vattezhuthu (script), Sanskrit and Malayalam dating back to 9th century CE. Presently this monument is preserved and protected by the Central Archaeological Survey of India from 1964.

The Temple Complex
For brief details, please refer below link;
The Jain images have been preserved by Central Archeological Survey of India and they are making yearly 3 day celebrations from 2009.
Chitharal Jain Monuments is located at about 6 Kms from Marthandam, 8 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 15 Kms from Thuckalay, 20 Kms from Colachel, 10 Kms from Kulasekharam, 6 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 19 Kms from Eraniel, 12 Kms from Thirparappu, 29 Kms from Nagercoil, 54 Kms from Kanyakumari and 50 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kuzhithurai and Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram. Chitharal is having a good access through roads and rails. There are lots of buses and other taxis available through the NH47 route to take tourists to this beautiful land. From Marthandam, go to Thiruvattar and then to Attoor and reach Chitharal junction. A 2 Kms road will take to the hills. One must walk for about 10 minutes to reach the temple.

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