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Old 23rd March 2015, 17:43   #1
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Default A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Where: Inside deep forest at Achankovil, Kollam (GPS: 9.091659, 77.121509).


How did you get there: There are two routes from Kollam.
  • Via Punalur - Alimukku – Karavoor – Mullumala – Achankovil (approx 85 km from Kollam). The road is apparently in terrible shape in sections inside the forest and not suited for sedans/hatchbacks. Though apparently KSRTC and MUV's/SUV's are doing/should do okay. Also expect area dominance patrols by wild elephants.
  • Via Punalur - Thenmala - Aryankavu - Shengottai(before the town, make the left turn at 8.979494, 77.247868) - Panpoli - Achankovil (approx 117 km from Kollam), which we took. The road has a good surface, albeit an one-vehicle track once the ascent into the forest begins. In fact, we were held up by surface relaying.
Why is it important: There are five important temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in the Western Ghats in Kerala including the famous Sabarimala Shrine. It is believed that these temples were founded by Lord Parashurama. Dharma Shasta or Lord Ayyappa is represented in different stages of his life in these temples. Legend has it that Lord Ayyappa passed through Kulathupuzha, Aryankavu and Achankoil on his return to Madurai with the milk of leopardess.

In the Ayyappa temple (8.900897, 77.059114) at Kulathupuzha near Thenmala in Kollam District, Lord appears as Balaka or child and is known as ‘Manikantan.’

At Aryankavu (8.976504, 77.151289) in Kollam District, Lord Ayyappa appears as a young man - Brahmachari. Young females (10-50) are denied entry (same as Sabariamala).

At Achankoil Sasta Temple in Pathanamthita District, the Lord appears as a Grahastha with his two consorts Poorna and Pushkala.

At Sabarimala, Lord is depicted in the Vanaprastha form.

At Kanthamala, Lord apparently is a yogi. This temple is undiscovered/destroyed/legend/myth/invisible to humans.
Thanks: http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/11/fi...icated-to.html


Achankovil is a very small township with very basic facilities. Only BSNL is available for telephony/mobile connectivity (didn't check internet connectivity, although reportedly nil). Options for food is also basic. You will have to preorder if you are staying overnight. I saw only two accommodation options as explained below.

The township:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00001.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00002.jpg

KSRTC Punalur ordinary ready for departure:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00003.jpg

One of the two accommodation options available:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00004.jpg

As viewed from the temple:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00005.jpg

Temple viewed from the premises:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00006.jpg
We stayed there for a couple of hours. Typical government establishment; old, dirty, uncared for. Really cheap though ( I guess 400 or 500 per day). There are only five rooms.

The other option, Temple View Lodge:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00007.jpg
Didn't checkout the rooms (the phone numbers read +919446183996 & +919496150220). The complex also houses a "restaurant," BSNL telephone exchange, post office, and an Excise checkpost.

The lunch:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00008.jpg

Apparently, peacocks are a common sight:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00009.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00010.jpg

The temple:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00011.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00012.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00013.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00014.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00015.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00016.jpg
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00017.jpg

Distance board:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00018.jpg
Kumbhavurutti is a waterfall en route Shengottah from Achankovil. March is not the time to see it, hence didn't stop.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbhavurutty_Waterfalls

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 19th October 2015 at 10:22.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 18:54   #2
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Default A pilgrimage to Achankovil Ayyappa Temple

Achankovil river, almost dried up in summer:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00001.jpg

The road through the forest:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00002.jpg

A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00003.jpg

The valley (Tamil Nadu side):
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00004.jpg

A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00005.jpg

Where we drove down from:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00006.jpg

A temple up a small hill:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00007.jpg
Google tells me it is Thirumalaikoil (9.035708, 77.225161).
We didn't have time/were ignorant this time around; must make a return trip in full monsoon.

The hills as viewed from Kollam-Madhura Highway:
A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00008.jpg

A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli-image00009.jpg

Swamiye saranam ayyappa.
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Old 5th July 2015, 19:23   #3
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Default Re: A pilgrimage to Achankovil Ayyappa Temple

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklord View Post
Google tells me it is Thirumalaikoil (9.035708, 77.225161).
We didn't have time/were ignorant this time around; must make a return trip in full monsoon.
Since that time, the temple intrigued me so much so that the next time when I had two days on my hands, I decided to make a trip involving a visit to this temple.

The trip was bang in the middle of monsoon season, and the weather was pleasant half way through the trip with occasional showers.

Somewhere near Kottarakkara:
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Rain-soaked Kottarakkara town:
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The guardian trees on Punalur-Shengottah stretch:
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A dam in Kallada irrigation project:
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Pathimoonnu kannara palam (Thirteen-arched bridge):
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What awaits us on the TN side:
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The clouds kissing the hill:
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Kollam-Madurai highway:
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A wider shot of the kiss as viewed from TN side:
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A view of the Kollam-Madurai highway on the TN side:
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On the Kollam-Madurai highway, before Shengottah town, we have to make a left turn (at 8.979494, 77.247868) towards Panpoli. From Panpoli another left turn takes us to Thirumalaikoil (9.035315, 77.224979), approx 10 KM from the highway turnoff. There are adequate English signboards; only we have to be on the lookout for them.


Thirumalaikoil/Arulmigu Thirumalaikumaraswamy Temple/Thirumalai Kovil as seen from the approach:
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The foot of the hills where the actual ascent starts:
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The road toll (beyond the barricade) is Rs. 50. Should you decide to walk up, take the steps on the right. Tip: If you are walking and parking the vehicle here, make sure to park it a bit further than the township (because I have seen an SETC bus making a U turn here and the van in foreground was obstructing it).


We drove up the hill:
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The view from the top:
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Steps:
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This family decided they would take it:
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Thirumalaikoil/Arulmigu Thirumalaikumaraswamy Temple/Thirumalai Kovil:
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The premises:
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Old 7th July 2015, 23:47   #4
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Default re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

The first thing you notice is the wind. Forceful enough to lose balance for fully grown adults. Hold the kids tight and walk in the cover of buildings. A small video shot when the wind was less forceful:



A pond at the top of the hill, amazing:
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Views from the hill:
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Devi shrine in the premises:
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Views:
Can you spot the dam?
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All green from the fresh rains:
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A pilgrim lost in thought:
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Parking lot:
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Parting shot:
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Official website of Thirumalaikoil:
http://www.panpolikumarantemple.tnhrce.in/travel.html


We drove down, towards our next destination, Tenkasi Kasi Viswanathar Temple:
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Old 14th September 2015, 21:01   #5
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Default re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

By the time we reached Tenkasi Kasi Viswanathar Temple, it had already closed. We drove on to Tirunelveli, where we planned to stay for the night.


Tenkasi-Tirunelveli road:
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Had a tasty veg lunch near Alangulam:
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Stopped at a hotel in Tirunelveli, rested for a while, freshened up and drove to Tiruchendur. It was night by the time we finished our darshan, so only these pics:
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Alwartirunagari temple as we drove back from Tiruchendur to Tirunelveli:
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Could not have darshan as it was too late.
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Old 18th October 2015, 23:24   #6
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Default re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

After a breakfast of delicious idli-vada and coffee, we set out to Nellaiappar Temple:
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Tirunelveli town:
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Car street around the temple:
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No cameras allowed inside the temple.


After having our darshan, we drove back towards home.
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The heat was stifling and the car a/c stopped working. So, we took a break and had a few tender coconuts:
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A gooseberry farm nearby:
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A game of cricket in progress:
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We knew, since it was beyond darshan time, that Tenkasi Kasi Viswanathar Temple would be closed, but anyway decided to have a look-see from the outside since it was just beside the main road.

The temple gopuram:
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The street in front of it:
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After that, we had a pretty uneventful drive back to home.

The parting shots:
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Old 19th October 2015, 13:41   #7
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Default Re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th October 2015, 14:52   #8
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Default Re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Reminded me of my visit to Thirumalaikovil some years back,great place for people in trivandrum for a one day trip.Achankovil is only 25-30 km from thirumalaikovil so it can be combined as a one day trip.There is an interesting bit of information regarding the achankovil temple,the place is infested with snakes and that too venomous ones and since there is no medical facilities in the vicinity ,people bitten by snakes even if at midnight, are brought into the temple and the priest administers chandan and water from the idols hands and the poison is neutralised .Courtallam water walls too can be visited which is only 15 km from thirumalaikovil on the tenkasi road.
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Old 20th October 2015, 16:21   #9
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Default Re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Darklord, quite informative travelogue!
Didn't know much about most of these places, thanks for putting down the mythological details.
Looks like a good monsoon destination with not much crowd.
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Old 21st October 2015, 09:08   #10
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Default Re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Will definitely be going soon on this route. Being from TRV, have travelled a lot on the punalur thenmala aryankavu route, but never took the detour. Also wish to try the alternative route from Punalur. The Xuv5OO will come handy here.
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Old 27th October 2015, 15:06   #11
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Default Re: A drive to Achankovil, Thirumalaikoil and Tirunelveli

Nice to see a travelogue on one of the routes I've toured frequently (The one via Thenmala - Aryankavu)! Drove to Thirumalai Kovil a few years back in my Polo from native to Courtallam to Thirumalai Kovil. I'm not sure if you noticed but there's a very narrow bridge that you encounter after crossing Aryankavu (en route to Shengottai). This bridge is notorious for the frequent pile ups it causes in this route especially when trucks fully loaded with wooden logs move around. Didn't you make a stop at Palaruvi near Aryankavu? It's a divine waterfall devoid of tourists as it is not much known to many people other than the locals and regular visitors. However, there are clear signboards mentioning about the deviation to the waterfall - a stop there might have been refreshing very much during the monsoon.
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