Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sri Subramania swami temple–Vallimalai near Ranipet

It was a long pending desire of mine to visit this hill temple near Ranipet where Valli did penance and was married to Murugan.My friend Dr.Balamurugan neurosurgeon is a frequent visitor to this temple and with his company we set out to see this place today morning. It was a nice experience.
How to Reach:
Vallimalai is about 15 kms after Ranipet

After Ranipet turn right into the Tiruvalam road and proceed till you reach the Ponpadi road (SH 124)   On your left you can see the Temple arch welcoming you.IMG_20151024_082156_HDR
Legends and stories of the temple:
Valli is supposedly the daughter of Mahalakshmi and Vishnu who was conceived when a drop of Mahalakshmi sweat was dropped on the vines and a deer happened to swallow the same.She germinated in the deer and was delivered on the vines in the forest.A tribal king called Nambiraja (a hunter-Vedar in Tamil) found her and brought her up after naming her Valli after the vines she was found on. Murugan learnt of her existence from Narada and started wooing her hand and pretended to be an old man .Valli was engaged in protecting the crop of the millet called Thinai she had a rope in one hand and a stone in the other to ward of birds. murugan asks for some honey and Thinai a cereal and pretends to suffocate when she serves it to him.She then rushes to the saravana poigai and gives him water.Here she sees a huge elephant trumpeting which scares her and she rushes into the arms of Murugan.
when Nambiraja comes by and sees them Murugan transforms into a tree here and then with Ganapathy’s help they elope to Thiruthani nearby and get married .As per Nambiraja’s wishes they come here with Deivanai and give darshan to people.
There are temples for Murugan( Gopuram seen  in the pic above) ,Valli (seen below) and there is a pond called the Saravana Poigai at the foot hills
After witnessing the abhishekam for murugan at the foot hill we proceeded up the steps. There are 309 steps which were built with the help of Sri Kripananda variar
The steps are steep and pathway infested with friendly monkeys which are  very bold and used to humans so cover all edibles properly.There are mantaps helpfully built for souls like us to take rest frequently and proceed up slowlyIMG_20151024_084128_HDRIMG_20151024_085013_HDRIMG_20151024_085018_HDR
There are no shops enroute so please buy all pooja articles below itself and please stock  water  .The temple has provided water in the resting mantaps but  potabilityis a concern.
The entire hillock is an ASI MonumentIMG_20151024_090449_HDR
After a climb we see the kodimaram / Dwajasthamba and temple entrance IMG_20151024_090505_HDRIMG_20151024_090521_HDR
The garba gruha of the temple is actually a cave formed between the two boulders seen above and the gopuram is built on the sanctum housing Murugan with valli and Deivanai
As you enter the temple on the left you see the sanctum for Valli she has a rope in the right hand and a stone for scattering birds in her right palmIMG_20151024_090636_HDR
The chamber inside has a shrine for Varasiddhi vinayakaIMG_20151024_090652_HDR
A short flight of stairs on the left leads us to the main sanctum where there are the idols of Subramanya , Valli and Deivanai in the kalyana kolam.There are also many upa devathas and statues of Saint Arunagirinathar who composed the Thirupugazh and also a tunnel which supposedly leads up to Thiruthani and the Thiruthani temple  sanctum also has the other end identified.The priest said he had travelled up to a short distance in this before he  turned back due to snakes. The tunnel is now barred with a narrow opening and the whole floor re built and snakes are not a problem now. He served us sweet pongal which we partook a little of and proceeded further. As Valli did penance here to Vishnu we are blessed with a sadari  with Vishnu pada as in a Vishnu temple
There is a short pathway around to go around the temple for doing pradakshinam with a stunning view IMG_20151024_090536_HDRIMG_20151024_090540_HDR
As we came out the best part of our visit beckoned us. One of the temple sweepers came up to us and  literally pushed us to climb up the hill for about 3 kms of unpaved paths to see the ashram of Thirupugazh swamigal a famous saint who lived here for many years and attained siddhi ( for more details of this very great man please visit he link
we could also visit the places where valli as an unmarried girl meditated on Vishnu  to marry Murugan. It was a divine intervention which pushed us both up the adventurous route which tested us city dwellers up  the jungle path..
During this trek we befriended a young engineer working in Chennai Sri Ramakrishna who is a great Muruga bhaktha and who has built a temple for Murugan near Viralimalai the temple I visited last month.So giving courage to each other we ventured on these jungle trails and arrived at the ashramIMG_20151024_093704_HDRIMG_20151024_095103_HDRIMG_20151024_095141_HDRIMG_20151024_095943_HDR
we saw the temple where Sri Satchidananda swamigal has consecreted an idol of Pongi (bubbling like a water body) another name of  ValliIMG_20151024_100216_HDRIMG_20151024_100135_HDR
IMG_20151024_100900_HDRThen we saw the serene ashram and the Adhishhtanam of the swamiji inside a caveIMG_20151024_100517_HDR

For more details of the ashram please refer to the link below
we were patiently taken around by the caretaker Shri Ethirajan and shown all the interesting places like the water tank, the trees , Ganapathy rock which is a fossilled rock protected by ASI

Still further up which required us to climb on bare hot rock was a place where Valli used to live and extract oil from the seeds and also a serene Shiva temple. My city slicker legs wobbly by the trek and also my fear of heights prevented me from climbing up how ever our new friend Sri.Ramakrishna ventured up and photographed the place and has promised to send me the same shortly.
After a stunning time we made our way back through the jungle track to paved tracks . the hot sun by this time gave us both a bevy of blisters but the whole episode was so breath-taking we were both not mindful of the discomfort and came down in high spirits of a time well spent.
It was a truly divine trek and we were both happy at this bonus of an unexpected visit to the ashram which was a first to my friend who has been visiting this hill for more than 20 years
Today (30/10/15) As promised Sri.Ramakrishnan has sent me the pictures from the hill top which he took. I have posted them here along with his pic.A big thanks to you sir.