Yet another time, the Perumal gave us an oppurtunity to have darshan of Sri Yoga Narasimha Swamy and Sri Yoga Anjaneya Swamy Temple – Sholingur.
Sholingur is around 120 KMs from Chennai (Guindy) near Arakkonam. Several routes are there to reach Sholingur and some of the popular routes are.
1. Poonamallee – Sunguvar Chathiram – Vellai Gate (Kanchi outer) – Kaveripakkam – Sholingur
2. Poonamallee – Sunguvar Chathiram – Vellai Gate (Kanchi outer) – Arakkonam – Sholingur
3. Poonamallee – Sunguvar Chathiram – Madhuramangalam – Parandhur – Thirumalpur – Arakkonam – Sholingur
4. Poonamallee – Thandalam ( MP Distilleries) – Narasingapuram – Perambakkam – Arakkonam – Sholingur
5. Poonamallee – Thiruvallur – Tiruttani – Sholingur
Of the lot, Route 1 and 2 are good, as we can travel in Bangalore Highway for most of the distance.
Route 3, has advantage of visiting Madhuramangalam Embar Swamy temple
Route 4, has advantage of visiting Narasingapuram Narasimha Swamy Temple
Route 5, has advantage of visiting Thiruallur Sri Veraragava Perumal Temple
In general, all the roads above are equally good.
Train is the best choice of public transport from Chennai to Sholingur. Plenty of local trains are there between Chennai Central – Arakkonam. Arakkonam Bus stand is around 1 km from Railway station. From Arakkonam, plenty of buses are there to Sholingur ( 30 Km). We can get down at Temple foothill itself ( Thakkan Kulam / Konda palayam). Though, Sholingur itself has a railway station, it is nearly 10 km away from the town.
As direct buses to Arakkonam are less from Chennai, we can try via Tiruttani or Kanchipuram.
Sholingur is also known as Kadigachalam ( Thirukkadigai. திருக்கடிகை) The name Kadigachalam came as the Lord gave darsan to the Saptharishi for a kadigai time (approximately 24 minutes ) and gave mukthi. It means that if one stays at this place for a Kadigai time and prays the lord, all his sins will go away. Chalam denotes Hill. Hence this place is known as Kadigachalam. He gave darshan to Baktha Prahalatha also in Yoga posture. Thirumangai and Pey azhvar worshipped this place with their pasuram and hence it is one of the oldest Temples. Vaishnava teachers denote this place as Chozhasimhapuram (சோழசிங்கபுரம்) also linking it with Chozha King Karikalan.
There is a small window opposite to Lord Narasimha’s sannidhi at Big Hill, through which the Lord gives darshan to Yoga Anjeneya Swamy at Small Hill. Yoga Narasimhar is facing east and the Small Hill is at the eastern side of the Big Hill.
Lord Anjeneya who is also in yoga posture said to have helped Indrathymna Maharaja in killing the Arakkan Nikumban and saved his country. .It happened on a Sunday and hence evey Sunday is an important one for Sri Anjaneyar here. People take a bath in the Chakkra Theertham in the uphill of Chinna malai and worship the Lord.
Pasurangal (Hymn by Azhwargal)
Yoga Narasimhaswamy Temple is one amongst 108 Vaishnava Divya Desam and Thirukkadigai is the 64th.
திருமங்கையாழ்வார் (1731, 1736)
மிக்கானை மறையாய் விரிந்த விளக்கை என்னுள்
புக்கானைப் புகழ்சேர் பொலிகின்ற பொன்மலையை
தக்கானைக் கடிகைத் தடங்குன்றின் மிசையிருந்த
அக்காரக் கனியை அடைந்துய்ந்து போனேனே. (2) 8.9.4
கண்ணார் கண்ணபுரம் கடிகை கடிகமழும்
தண்ணார் தாமரைசூழ் தலைச்சங்க மேல்திசையுள்
விண்ணோர் நாண்மதியை விரிகின்ற வெஞ்சுடரை
கண்ணாரக் கண்டுகொண்டு களிக்கின்றதிங் கென்றுகொலோ. (2) 8.9.9
பண்டெல்லாம் வேங்கடம் பாற்கடல் வைகுந்தம்,
கொண்டங் குறைவார்க்குக் கோயில்போல், – வண்டு
வளங்கிளரும் நீள்சோலை வண்பூங் கடிகை,
இளங்குமரன் றன்விண் ணகர். (2) 61
We left Chennai around 5.30 a.m on a Saturday, in our Swift. Reached Sholingur by 7.20 a.m and we went through route no. 3. After Sunguvar chatthiram, it was a pleasant morning drive through paddy fields and villages. Road was really good and we could comfortably cruise at 60 Kmph. Unlike our last trip, road between Arakkonam and Sholingur was well laid and we reached Sholingur – Thakkan Kulam, in less than 2 hours time.
Temple management has facilities for Tonsure, Dress change and Wash facilities at Thakkan Kulam (Amirtha Theertham). On the other side of the Pond, Sri Varadaraja Swamy temple is there. After having holy sprinkles from Thakkan Kulam, we proceeded to Foot hill of Periya Malai (Big hill). From Thakkan Kulam, it is alomst one KM to reach the foot hill of Periya Malai. Plenty of share autos are there. Good facilities are made available by the Temple management for Car parking and toilets for Bhakthas. Though Thulasi Malai and Flowers were available in the foothill, we didn’t buy anything. We have our previous experience wherein all these flowers (including Thulasi malai) were grabbed by the Monkeys while climbing up. Hence, we have brought Rock candy (கல்கண்டு) which can be hidden in our Shirt / Pant pocket easily. And, we took a stick from a local shop, to keep away the monkeys while climbing up.
It is my suggestion not to keep anything like bag, fruits, water bottle etc. in hand as it would be difficult to get along with monkeys. It always reminds me of the saying “as we acquire more, we spend more time of us to secure them”. So, it’s better to be empty or little to be comfortable and we won’t be distracted (not only by monkeys).
Periya Malai is 400 feet high and has 1305 steps in total. Those who cannot climb up by foot, “Dolis” are available. Charges vary and it appears to be a minimum of Rs.2000 ( Two thousands) per person. One can get it in the foothill itself.
We started climbing up, after having darshan of “Veera Anjaneya Swamy”. Being a couch potato, climbing up was not so easier. Within 150 steps, felt exhausted. It reminded me of my previous experienc in Tirumala, wherein climbing upto Kali Gopuram (around 1300 steps) used to be the toughest. Having known that we had to climb up for 1300 steps in Sholingur, it was like a target to be achieved.(Realatively lesser one to me comparing Tirumala). For every 100 steps, numbering has been done in the steps. It motivates us to indicate how much we travelled and how much is left out. It is common to see many asking others “how many steps are left out?”. Everyone will reach the destination for sure but we want to know how far is that ? As we climb upto 300 steps, refreshment stalls and toilets are available. Monkeys are aplenty but they just ignore those who don’t have anything. Being Saturday, good numbers of bhakthas were there. As we climb up, gradually crowd becoming lesser, as many of them taking rest at different intervals. As we reached 500 steps, there was no one in the vicinity, including the monkeys. It reminded me of the saying ” problems (are) appears to be plenty and bigger in the beginning and as we tide over them with confidence, they are no longer a problem to us”. Good that water facility is available then and there.
Throughout, I could see people of different ages with different abilities were climbing up. Age, gender, ability… nothing was a barrier to them. All were united in a mission… to climb up to worship the Lord. When I saw men and women in the age of 60s climbing up patiently with walking sticks, it was a great feel. As we have to exert energy to climb up, there is no way to any other distractions. A battery of kids, chanting “govinda govinda”, kept our tempo up. We too mingled with them. One of the devotees, in the age of late 60s, told me that he climbs up to have darshan every Saturday. He added further that every Friday night they start from Krishnagiri, reache the Temple the Saturday morning, have a dip in Thakkan kulam, have darshan of both the temples, then leave for Krishnagiri back in the evening. I asked him, whether do you have any specific prayer or need? He replied me smilingly, nothing. HE gave us strength to do this and we are doing it. That’s all. I was speechless. Is it called as sincerity? Is it the one “performing the duty without expecting the benefits? as told in Gita. As we sweat more, I felt worries were also going out and I was feeling light. The moment we realise that we are (have) nothing, we become light. As we shed our weight (desire), we are becoming lighter. When we have nothing, nothing else can distract us. All these questions and thoughts filled my mind.. By then, I was in the hill top.
Understood that Samprokshanam has been carried out recently. Thanks to the Bhakthas, who contributed for “roofing” of the steps. Otherwise, when I climbed up this hill for the first time, 15 years ago in a hot summer evening, it was open and was very difficult to climb up with bare foot. Today, it is fully covered. Although, last few steps were steeper, in less than 40 minutes, we reached the hill top. I just sat down for 10 minutes in cool breeze before proceeding for darshan.
As we seen in many temples, here also, free and paid darshans are available. As we do normally, we stood at free darshan queue. Surprisingly, no one in the queue talked and there was a pin drop silence. Having climbed up 1300 steps, one cannot think about anything else than the Lord. I believe, our ancestors have intentionally developed temples in such places to converge our thoughts towards the divinity. We reserve and preserve energy to worship and pray the lord and to climb down. So, there is no way to think and do anything else.
Unlike the other temples, no one pulled us while having ‘darshan’. Hope, it could be because of lesser number of devotees. It is good to note that queue has been made in such a way that we have to worship the Thaayaar first and then to workship the Narasimhar. This is being practiced by Vaishnavites. So, we had a very good darshan of Sri Amrudhavalli Thaayaar (ஸ்ரீ அம்ருதவல்லித் தாயார்). Same way, we had a peaceful darshan of Sri Yoga Narasimhar also. Sri Yoga Narasimhar is found in Veetru Irundha (sitting posture) kolam facing his thirumugham towards East direction. This time, we could sit in front of the sannidhi for about 20 minutes and chant Sri Vishnu sahasranaman unlike the earlier times, when we have to come out of the sannidhi immediately due to thronging people.
There is a paid “prasadham stall” where we can get Curd rice, Tamarind rice, Sweet Pongal etc. We had a little of prasadhams and sat for about 20 min. Though the mercury was rising, cool breeze kept us light, sweeping away the sweat. As we wanted to have darshan of Yoga Anjaneyar before noon, we started climbing down. Due to its elevation, it is not so easier to climb down fast, unlike Tirumala hills. So, we need to carefully keep our steps and in less than 20 minutes, we were at foothills.
It was 11.00 a.m and it’s the time to go to Chinna Malai, to have darshan of Sri Yoga Anjaneyar. Chinna malai is hardly 500 metres apart, which is at a walkable distance. There also a small pond and few choultries. I felt, that area was little crowder.
Chinna Malai (Little hill)is 200 feet high and has 406 steps to climb up. Though the steps are lesser, it is steeper. Here also, monkeys are aplenty. Steps are fully covered with roof and there is no worry about sun and rain. In less than 20 minutes, we climbed up. Our body is now tuned to this task and so we climbed up at ease. There is a pond (Chakra Theertham) in the top, well maintained. Have a peaceful darshan of Yoga Anjaneyar. Here, Anajaneyar is west facing, worshipping Yoga Narasimha Swamy. Abiding by the Lord’s wishes, Anjaneya is said to have remained here with four hands( Chathurbhuja Anjaneyar) in a Yoga posture with Changu and Chakram (Conch, Chakra) Jaba Maalai and the fourth hand with a Jaba Sankai( counting the Jabam).There are separate sannidhi for Sri Ranganathar and Sri Ramar adjacent to Anjaneya swamy. This temple appears to be bigger than Yoga Narasimha Swamy.
We sat there for about 20 min and it was almost 12 noon. It’s the time to climb down. While climbing down, legs were slightly shaky, as it was steeper. In less than 15 minutes, we were at the foothill.
In the downtown, nearby bus stand, Sri Aadhi Kesava Perumal Temple is there wherein the Uthsava Moorthy Sri Bakthavatsala Perumal (Thakkan) resides. There is a sannadhi for Adikesava Perumal behind the uthsavar. There are also sanndahis for Andal, Erumbiyappa and Thottachariyar. Amruthavalli Thaayaar from uphill visits this temple in Puratasi and stays here with Bhakatvatsala Perumal for two months( Purattasi and Aippasi). On the first day of karthigai, Thaayaar returns uphill.
While returning to Chennai, we drove via Route #2. Around 2.30 p.m we reached Vellai Gate (kanchipuram). Had Lunch at renowned Hotel Sakthi Ganapathy and reached chennai by 4.00 p.m.
Note : I didn’t stay in any of these places and I have no idea about the quality and service levels. However, being given as a reference to those who are in search of lodges at Sholingur.
1. C.A.M. Lodge – Near Thakkan Kulam ( Rs.400 for twin sharing non A/C room)
2. Sri Yoga Narasimha Guest House – Near Thakkan Kulam ( Mobile – 9444473034)
3. Sudarsan Guest House – Near Foot hill – 9489514533
4. Temple run Guest houses – http://www.sholinghurnarasimhar.com/eLodge.html
Few shops are available in the Foot hill.
Hotel Aryas, near Koot road (Thakkan Kulam) is said to be the good Vegetarian Hotel in the neaby.
1. Toilets and Drinking water facility is available in the foot hill, midway and uphill of the Periya Malai.
2. Other than winter, it is better to have darshan in the morning hours, as it is too hot
3. Karthigai month ( especially karthikai sundays) may likely to be crowder than other months.
Historic Temples in the nearby
1. Tiruttani Murugan Temple – 38 KM
2. Thiruvallur Sri Veeraragava Perumal ( 108 Divya Desa Kshethram) – 84 Km
3. Narasingapuram (Perambakkam) Sri Narasimha Swamy – 52 Km
4. Madhuramangalam ( Sunguvar Chattiram) Embar Swamy Temple – 57 Km
5. Thirupparkadal ( Kaveripakkam) Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal and Ranganathar Temples, – 30 Km
6. Kooram Sri Adhi Kesava Perumal And Sri Kooratthazhwar (Birthplace) Temple – 46 km
7. Thirupputkuzhi (Balu Chetti Chaththiram) Sri Vijaya Ragava Perumal ( 108 Divya Desa Kshethram) – 48 Km
Sl. 3 & 4 are enroute to Chennai via Thakkolam – Permabakkam ( Route no. 4)
Sl. 5, 6 & 7 are enroute to Chennai via Kaveripakkam ( Route no. 1)
Reference to similar blogs for more information about Sthala Puranam and History of the temple
Foothill – Thakkan Kulam ( தக்கான் குளம்)
Foothill – Sri Yoga Narasimha Swamy Temple
Sri Yoga Narasimha Swamy Temple – Big Hill ( பெரிய மலை)
Atop the Hill ( பெரிய மலை உச்சியில்)
Sri Yoga Anchaneyar )Sthala Puranam (சின்ன மலை ஸ்ரீ யோக ஆஞ்சநேயர் ஸ்தல புராணம்)