March 22, 2023

Chitharal is located about 45 kilometers away from kanniyakumari. It is famous for the Rock-cut temple. Hillock  at Chitharal has a cave containing Rock-cut  sculptures of Thirthankaras and attendent  deities carved inside and outside dating back to 9th Century A.D. King Mahendra Varman I was responsible for the Jainism influence in this region.  It was converted into Bagavathy Temple in the 13th Century A.D. Cars and Vans can go upto the foot of   the hill. One has to walk for about 10 minutes to reach the temple. The Jain images have been preserved by the Central Archeological Survey of India. It comes under Vellankode panchayat.

The Chitharal Jain monuments, presently called as Chitharal Malai Koil are the ruins of Jain’s Training Centre in small rocky hills called the “Thirucharanattu Malai”, situated in a small village called Chitharal. The place is a scenic beauty and is very excellent place. Chitharal is 7 km from Marthandam, 55 km from Kanyakumari, and 36 km from Nagercoil.

To reach the monument in hill top, one has to walk 800 metres for around 10 to 20 minutes in the steep steps built in the hill. From the top of the hill, you can explore the scenic beauty of Rivers, Lakes, Mountains, Villages, Coconut fields, Churches and Buildings.
There is a specialty in the huge rocks present here. Because the rocks look like that someone has kept one rock over the other rock.

History of Chitharal Malai Koil

Presently this monument is preserved and protected by the Central Archaeological Survey of India from 1964.
This Jain monument is considered to be built in 9th Century AD. It is known as “Thirucharanathupalli”. The rock cut sculptures are situated in the caves in the hills. The sculptures carved here are of Thirthankaras and attendant deities. This hill place was once a pilgrim centre for Jain’s. During the period of King Mahendravarman I (610 – 640), the influence of Jain’s in this region was high. The Jain’s were given the name as “Charanan”.
In the temple, idols of “Parshwanathan” and “Mahavira” are carved.

In around 1250 AD, during the decline of Jainism, this Jain Pilgrim centre was converted into a Hindu Temple, and the image of Bhagavathi was installed. As per belief, the Bhagavathi Goddess present here is worshipped as “Thirucharanathu Bhataariyar – Pathmavathi”.
There are stone inscriptions written in Tamil Vattezhuthu, Malayalam and Sanskrit dating back to 9th Century.

centuray, overtaken by Hindus in the 425 AD. It was a jain temple and after converted into a Hindu temple. Chitharal temple is a goddess temple dedicated to Bagavathi (Devi). Thirucharanathumalai is a hillock located in Chitharal village near Marthandam. On the top of the hill under a path that seems naturally hanging there in a temple with mandapam, corridor and balipeetam with a madappalli (kitchen). There are 3 sanctums housing Mahavira, Parswanatha and Padmavathi Devi. The idol of Bagavathi was installed instead of Padmavathi Devi (Pathmavathi Devi) by Sri Moolam Thirunal, king of Travancore in 1913. Above the hanging path, there is a dilapidated tower on a rock on the northern side. Bas-relief sculptures of all the 24 Tirthankaras are found. Some inscriptions belonging to the 9th century are also found here. It was a Jain training centre for both males and females in those days. Jain monuments in Chitharal is as Jain culture and civilization seemed to have disappearing from world. Chitharal is included in the national heritage list. Now Chitharal hillocks are under the protection of Archeological Survey of India (ASI), Govt.of India.

Chitharal Jain Temple Timings

The Chitharal Jain temple is open from 5 am to 9 pm and 7 days a week. One thing to keep in mind is that there are no entry fees to visit the Chitharal rock Jain Temple. If someone asks to pay the money, don’t give it to them as it is totally free to visit there. 

Chitharal Jain Temple Architecture

The Chitharal Jain temple is hammered out of a natural cave. You will see three sanctums inside the main temple. The Hindu temple is on the south side of the main temple. There is one more monument on the hill, we can go there by climbing a few steps above.

Additionally, it is known that around the 13th century the cave temple was converted into the Bhagvati temple. If you enter the Chitharal Jain temple you will find that there are 3 rooms where the first has the image right above it. And the other 2 are empty because the prayers are conducted in all the rooms. 

Mode of transport to visit Chitharal Jain Temple

By Road: Kanyakumari has one of the best roadways systems in all over India. This roadway is well-connected with other major cities. Because of the best services of public transport you can consider travelling to Chitharal Jain Temple by road if you are not too far. Your distance must be less than 250 km. Otherwise you can face the problem, then you should go by train. 

By Train: Major states are also connected to Kanyakumari by the means of train. A high-speed rail corridor will also run in Kanyakumari station The top speed is 320kmph and will be able to complete 482km in just 2 -2.5 hr. So because of well-connected routes trains could be recommended to visit Chitharal Jain Temple. 

jain temple

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