Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chitharal Jain Temple - Solitude Unlimited

Chitharal Jain Temple – Solitude unlimited

Chitharal has been there in my itinerary for some time now but somehow it got postponed again and again. Actually I was to visit the place with my friends the previous weekend on the route to Nambikoil but we somehow managed to land ourselves at Agastyar falls near Ambasamudram (that is food for another travelogue). So when Pramod told me that he wanted to go for unwinding somewhere this weekend, I chose Chitharal.

“The Chitharal Jain Monuments are located in a small village situated at a distance of 7 km from Marthandam and 55 km from Kanyakumari. Chitharal is historically known as Thirucharanathupalli – the abode of Jain monks belonging to Digambara sect. It is famous for the hillock which has a cave containing rock-cut sculptures of Thirthankaras and attendant deities carved inside and outside dating back to the 9th century. Jain influence in this region was due to the Jain King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640).” – courtesy Wikipedia.

Route – Trivandrum – Balaramapuram – Neyyattinkara – Kaliyikkavila – Marthandam – Attoor – Chitharal
From Trivandrum to Marthandam it is a straight route on NH 47. From Marthandam take a left to Attoor. From Marthandam to Attoor it is approximately 6 kms. From Attoor take a left again. After some 100 mtrs or so, there is a board which says Chitharal Jain Temple. Take the kutcha road adjacent to that and after a 1 km ride on that road you can see the arch to the temple.

Distance – From Trivandrum it is a 52 kms ride/drive to Chitharal.

The ride – Pulsar 150

Cameras – Sony A230 & Sony A290

We started late in the morning at around 10.30. We were deliberately lazy as we knew it was a short ride only to Chitharal. But the problem with late starts is always the traffic. The route between Trivandrum and Nagercoil is always a crowded one and that day also it was not an exception. If you want to enjoy the ride in this route, you have to start early in the morning. But we made decent progress and soon we were at Kaliyikkavila. Stopped for a cup of tea and also confirmed the route to Chitharal. The cup of tea disposed off, we were off to Marthandam which was nearby only. From Marthandam it is another 7 to 8 kms ride to Chitharal, the details of which I have already elaborated above.

We parked the Pulsar at the base of the temple. From the base we had to climb around 100 steps (not sure about this, was not counting) to reach the top. The temple is cut out of rock and there are some sculptures of deities and Thirthankaras. The temple and temple site belongs to ASI now. Apart from a urinal which I suspect was locked, there are no facilities for tourists visiting the place.

The hot sun was beating mercilessly on us and we were going through the bottle of water at a fast pace.

First glimpse of the temple
On the way we saw a Chameleon basking in the sun. Out came the cameras, and the zoom lenses.
The photo shoot also provided us with a much needed break. After some time we started the climb again. Pramod was complaining repeatedly that he now has the lung power of a 5 year old. Some more breaks later, we reached the top of the hill. The place was completely surrounded by rocks. The temple itself is built into the rocks. The first thing we saw was the top of the temple. We could stand there and shoot some photos from there.
The deities were placed in another level beneath this. We climbed down to that level and found this.
The temple itself was closed and we could not get into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. But we found one lamp burning inside the sanctum sanctorum. We looked around for any possible entry into the temple but there was none. So we satisfied ourselves with photos from outside the temple.
The area around the temple was very scenic. Another thing I liked about the place is the absolute absence of people. This is not your usual touristy place wherein you cannot frame a shot in your camera without someone entering the frame. We really had a ball shooting pictures of the place. One thing that has to be mentioned here is the view from the top. The view from top of the temple and the hill is absolutely spectacular.
We spent some time at the top and then it was time to return home. We returned home at around 4 in the evening. All in all, this entire ride provided both of us with a much needed break. Hope you enjoyed reading this log.

Some tips:
1) Try to start in the early morning itself. This will help you in reaching the place quickly without getting stuck in traffic jams en route. Also it will be easier to climb the steps to the top in the early morning.
2) Carry some water with you. I saw a tap at the top but don’t know whether it is advisable to drink from there.



  1. Me also Visited once..Nioce place

  2. Very interesting blog.Its very good to explore new things and in your blog i get to know many things and the way you wrote are very good.Thank you for sharing. SRM Travels

  3. Hi, At present NH 47 Marthandam flyover work is ongoing and it may finish after 1 year. Bus or car from TVM –Kuizthurai- Thickurichi-Chitharal jain temple.
    Bus travellers get down at Thickurichi. From Thickurichi it is around 1 KM. Can get auto.

  4. Hi, At present NH 47 Marthandam flyover work is ongoing and it may finish after 1 year. Bus or car from TVM –Kuizthurai- Thickurichi-Chitharal jain temple.
    Bus travellers get down at Thickurichi. From Thickurichi it is around 1 KM. Can get auto.

  5. There is another route to the place. Take the road to left from Payanam, on Marthandam - Athoor road. You can reach Chitharal in just 2.5 km. Going Athoor - Chitharal junction - temple is actually much round about. Marthandam to Athoor/Kulasekhram buses will go via Payanam. You can either take a leisure walk or an auto ride which will charge up to Rs. 50.