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Old 19th September 2022, 11:57   #1
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Default 3 temples of Kulithalai

The Three Temples of Kulithalai
Prelude-1:
After my Srisailam trip (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...travelled.html (Drive from Pondicherry to Kalahasthi, Tirupati and Srisailam via the roads less travelled)), I wanted to install dashcam in our Spresso. Since options are very much limited in Pondy, I ordered DDPAI Mini (Rs 3699/-) along with Samsung EVO Plus (64GB) mSD card (Rs 598/-) from Amazon after reading reviews in various forums. It was a simple DIY with the camera was fixed between IRVM and Fastag (in fact on the Fastag) using 3M double tap and cable was routed through roof liner and left A pillar cover. I tested the action during a small drive for attending a function and found to be working well. (Since there are so much information available regarding this DIY, did not post in separate thread)
Prelude -2:
I had finished my college in 1986 and lost touch with college friends as I was working all over India at places like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bokaro, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore etc., When we moved to Chennai , met one of such friends who is my wife’s office colleague and through him I joined in their WhatsApp group in 2020( after my VR retirement). Due to the onset of Covid and subsequent Omicron pandemic , the meeting proposals were blocked, mostly by me, as I used to write a lengthy explanation why such meetings to be avoided time being ( it was not that other people were interested in such meetings) . Since the Covid threat has subdued now and everything has been back to normal slowly, the meeting mood was slowly popping up. One of the friends had his son’s wedding arranged in Trichy on 1st September and invited everybody (mostly in person) and booked rooms at Guru Inn service apartments (wedding was at Hotel Ajanta). So now another chance had come for my wife to continue the temple visits since that area is heaven for temple visitors.
The Plan:
Initially I thought Srirangam (Thiruvaranganathar) temple would be automatic choice but she had other plans.
The Legend:
“Once upon a time Vayu Bhagavan (Lord of winds) and Adisesha (Bed of Lord Vishnu) had a dispute to find out who was superior, to prove the superiority Adisesha encircled the Mount Kailash and Vayu tried to remove this encircle by creating Twister. Because of the force, 8 parts fell from Kailash in 8 different places which are Thirukonamalai(SriLanka), Thirukalahasti, Thiruchimalai,Thiruengoimalai, Rajathagiri, Neerthagiri, Ratnagiri, and Thirupangeeli.” (Note: Malai in Tamil means Hill).
I don’t know how much of the above legend was true and how come all the parts fell only in Southern part of India (may be due to centrifugal force or something) even though they all started from Himalayas.
Out of the above places, Ratnagiri (called as Ayyar or Ayvar Malai) and Thirugonamalai are near Kuliththalai (Trichy – Karur Road). Along with Kadambavaneswarar temple in Kuliththalai, the 3 temples are for Lord Siva and as per the protocol, one should visit Kadambavaneswarar (Morning), Rathnagereeswarar (Noon) and Maragadhachaleswarar in Thiruengoi Malai (evening).
Our plan was to visit the 3 temples of Kuliththalai and Musiri (legend above) on 31st August and then attend the reception. Next day visit Thirivaanaikaaval temple in Srirangam (opening around 6 AM) and return for breakfast and Muhurtham (9 to 10.30 AM). Return to Pondy after lunch. She has few relative in Trichy (in fact at the time of our marriage, her family was in Trichy only) but none of them was available at the time at Trichy.
The Journey:
As was my practice, car tank was full already and things were packed including umbrellas (which turned out to be a masterstroke) and kept ready on 29th night itself. But when I woke up at 3.45 in the morning, I saw Varuna Bhagavan (Lord of Rains) had other ideas as it was raining heavily. But a quick look at weather forecast (as if all their predictions come true but no other way to go) showed that it was a surprise rain. On the other hand, wife was coolly getting ready to leave (why not, as I had to drive). Fortunately, at 5 AM when we were about to start the car, rains stopped (only to help us open the gate without getting drenched).
There are many routes to reach Kulithalai. Most of them are via Trichy (to reach Trichy many routes again). But decided to take Villupuram, Perambalur, Thuraiyur route for a change (also it is the shortest). After we left our apartments, rains started again and continued up to Villupuram. ( video). But driving was problematic not because of the rain but due to road widening work but mostly smooth as the traffic was thin. After Villupuram rains completely stopped and stayed dry up to Kuliththalai. Took the Perambalur bypass to reach Kuliththalai at around 9.30 AM.
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Perambalur Turn
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Perambalur Bypass

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Thuraiyur
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Musiri turn towards bridge
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Kaveri Bridge approaching
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Kaveri Bridge
Temple 1 – Kadambavaneswarar at Kuliththalai:
When we approached the Kaveri River bridge, wife suddenly wanted to touch Kaveri water and also, if possible, a Pillayaar temple (as it was Vinaayagar Chaturthi day). We found a place where both her wishes fulfilled. From the bridge needed to take left on a dirt road to reach the bypass road and then turned right to go under the bridge to reach the river. (River had good flow of water as it was 3rd time Mettur dam was opened I heard). From the banks of the river, the road went directly to the Kadambavaneswarar temple (first in the list). As I was in my bermuda, I did not go into the temple. Wife went inside and came back after 30 minutes or so (1nd surprise). Then finished breakfast near the temple in a small tiffin centre in a house (only 60/- for stomach full of Idlies, vadais and Dosais) (2nd surprise as she (so Me-too) normally skips breakfast on such visits).
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Joining Karur-Trichy Bypass
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Kaveri River Closeup
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Kadambavaneswarar Temple

Temple 2- Rathnagereeswarar at Ayyar( Ayvar) Malai:
Started towards Ayyar( Ayvar) Malai at 10.30 which is about 5 kms on Manapparai road. Unlike the 1st temple, this one was on a hillock and had about 1100 steep steps. I changed to pants (wore on bermuda) and tried to accompany her. When I reached 250 steps(marked), I decided not to take further risk as I needed to drive also. (I had one office friend who collapsed and died while running after a local bus in Chennai which made me to realise not to take unnecessary risks as had nothing to prove to anybody at my age). Wife returned at around 1 PM and as per request drove around the hill before starting towards Kuliththalai town. (Latter she herself was surprised that she came back in one piece as many young people also struggled to keep up during the steep climb). Cable car was almost ready and under testing now.

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Manaparai Road turn towards Ay(y)var malai
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On the way to Ay(y)var malai
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Ay(y)var malai
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Ay(y)var malai entrance
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Cable car ready not yet ready
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Steep Steps( 1100 )
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From the top of Ay(y)var Malai
Temple 3 –Maragadachaleswarar at Thiruengoi malai :
On the way rains started again and we decided to finish lunch here and decided to move to Thirivaanaikaaval temple (as this temple opens at 3 PM and we had time to finish which was planned for next day morning) as the 3rd temple had 500 steps (not covered and) , steep and may be slippery. And also, as per my information, the priest comes in the evening at 4 PM only so we could not wait more than an hr for opening of the temple in the rains. Finished lunch at Café Srinivasa (which we enquired at the breakfast centre in the morning itself and recommend) and then wife half-heartedly agreed to change of plans but wanted to at least drive around the hills (since I had mentioned driving in the rains was not a problem). So, we crossed the Kaveri River bridge again and reached Thiruengoi Hill at around 2.45 PM. There we got the information that the priest was already in the temple( It seems he is available from 10 to 5 all days) and many people had already climbed. Immediately wife took a spot decision to climb. I gave her 1 hr time (15+30+15) she surprisingly agreed and went up while I waited down in the rains (we had brought the umbrellas which was bought during the Srisailam trip). Even though our plans changed again, I was actually happy that she could complete the target in this trip itself and, if not, she would definitely try to come back in future to finish the temples again (meaning we had to start from the first temple again). As promised, she came down around 4 PM and after finishing the compulsory drive around the hills we headed towards Trichy.
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Temple entry road
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Thiruengoimalai
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Ay(y)var Malai from top of Thirueongoi Malai

Checked in Guru Inn at around 5.30 PM and reached Hotel Ajanta at 6.15 for reception. Since it was a meeting of friends after many years, many stayed late but as I had another temple trip in the morning ( and also teetotaller -not even tea) so excused myself and went to sleep early.

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Guru Inn
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Hotel Ajanta
Temple 4 – Thiruvaanaikaaval at Thiruva(Sri)rangam :
Since the we needed to be at marriage hall for breakfast , reached the temple by 6.30 AM and finished by 8 AM.( no rush and so I also went inside). (did not take the bypass road as it was early morning and drove via Mainguard Gate- Chathram bus stand both directions).
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Thiruvaanaikaaval temple
Return :
Attended the marriage and after lunch left for Pondy.
This time I tried Veppur, Vridhdhachalam , Cuddalore route as the Villupuram -Pondy road was under construction. Started around 2.30 PM ( on the way dropped a friend in Srirangam )and reached Pondy at 7.30 PM.

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Trichy Kaveri Bridge under repair now.
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Kollidam Bridge
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Padalur Toll
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Veppur Turn
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Vridhdhachalam ByPass
Summary:
Road Conditions:
Pondy to Villupuram—Construction going on in many places but drivable. (40 km)
Villupuram to Perambalur – GST road no problem(108km)
Perambalur to Kulithalai - Mostly drivable . Perambalur bypass was good. In Musiri need to take bus stand road to reach the Kaveri Bridge. (70km)
Kulithalai to Trichy – Tolled 2 lane but wide road in very good condition. (40km)
Trichy – Veppur : GST road No problem.(100km)
Veppur to Pondy: Drivable mostly. In-between has tolled road also. Only constrain was the traffic between Cuddalore to Pondy. (106km)
Accommodation:
Guru Inn: Good Service apartment near to Busstand and Railway station with ample car parking.recommend
Hotel Ajanta: Famous hotel ( from 1966) in Trichy for Veg food next to Central Busstand with ample parking
Our Spresso (only 4500 Km) behaved beautifully over the full trip. AC was a chiller (but it was raining mostly). Mileage was round 19 Km/l. Average. Except one or 2 places, I did not drive in 3 digits speed.

PostScript:
Since our Spresso Completed 6 months( also nearly 5000Kms) , gave for 2nd free service which was only washing and checking. Bill came to 14/- (only windscreen washer) and I purchased the cabin(A/C) filter for Rs 230/- (including GST) from service centre itself.
Good Bye all until next time and take care.

Last edited by kvsneela : 19th September 2022 at 12:10.
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Old 22nd September 2022, 12:12   #2
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Default Re: 3 temples of Kulithalai

What a lovely relatable travelogue ! Is there a decent hotel in the town? Could not figure out clearly from the log. Want to do a two day trip from Bangalore sir.
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Old 22nd September 2022, 12:22   #3
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Default Re: 3 temples of Kulithalai

@kvsneela - Good to know about the temples in the area. I pass through Kulithalai atleast thrice a year. I knew about Ayyar malai, but did not know about the other 2. Maybe next time I will try out these temples. Have you seen the Bikshandar Koil also known as Uthamar Koil ? Temple with a separate Sanctum for Lord Brahma? This one is on the Trichy Toll gate roundtana to Musiri road.

To reach Kulithalai from GST Road (When coming via Perambalur) it is best to come till Trichy > Bye pass > Cross the river Cauvery on NH> Take a U turn and reach the other side of Kauvery bridge via service lane into the city (Road leads to E R High school > Chintamani) and proceed. Roads are faster in this section. The Thuraiyur - Musiri or the Trichy Toll gate roundtana to Musiri segments are slow and filled with small towns / villages. Undoubtedly the Trichy toll gate roundtana to Murisi section is very scenic due to the fertility provided by Cauvery river flowing along.

Few pics of your ride would also be nice.

Last edited by pugram : 22nd September 2022 at 12:24. Reason: Added the service lane part
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Old 22nd September 2022, 13:48   #4
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Default Re: 3 temples of Kulithalai

Thanks for posting this lovely travelogue. Sure brings back memories of evening chats with my folks (who lived in Kulithalai at that time) sitting on the Musiri bridge - then a toll road - and of weekly trips to Kadambar kovil.
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Old 22nd September 2022, 15:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neerajku View Post
What a lovely relatable travelogue ! Is there a decent hotel in the town? Could not figure out clearly from the log. Want to do a two day trip from Bangalore sir.
Thanks Neerajku. By Hotel u mean in Kulithalai I presume for night stay. Since We did not plan to stay in Kulithalai, did not enquire about hotels. ( Kulithalai is a small town so good hotels may not be available). Better to stay in Trichy or Karur ( may be nearer from Bangalore side) as both these cities are only 40 Km away from Kulithalai and the Trichy- Karur Road was very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pugram View Post
@kvsneela - Good to know about the temples in the area. I pass through Kulithalai atleast thrice a year. I knew about Ayyar malai, but did not know about the other 2. Maybe next time I will try out these temples. Have you seen the Bikshandar Koil also known as Uthamar Koil ? Temple with a separate Sanctum for Lord Brahma? This one is on the Trichy Toll gate roundtana to Musiri road.

To reach Kulithalai from GST Road (When coming via Perambalur) it is best to come till Trichy > Bye pass > Cross the river Cauvery on NH> Take a U turn and reach the other side of Kauvery bridge via service lane into the city (Road leads to E R High school > Chintamani) and proceed. Roads are faster in this section. The Thuraiyur - Musiri or the Trichy Toll gate roundtana to Musiri segments are slow and filled with small towns / villages. Undoubtedly the Trichy toll gate roundtana to Murisi section is very scenic due to the fertility provided by Cauvery river flowing along.

Few pics of your ride would also be nice.
Dear Pugram,
Since we were to attend the reception in the evening, planned only 3 temples in Kulithalai. If fact during our marriage wife's family were staying in Kambarasampetti on Trichy- Karur Road and did not have time to just explore the nostalgia.( Temple programme is wife's department and hopefully she will not read this post about Uthamar Temple)
U r correct in mentioning the best( fastest) route via GST road but I normally don't like to take highways ( boring) unless time is short. Most of the times I like to take the roads less travelled( but decent roads not dirt tracks since my car is not 4x4))) through small towns and villages. It may take little more time and so I plan the trips accordingly.
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Old 1st October 2022, 09:57   #6
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YouTube video of this trip here:
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