6th May, 2016
SERVARAYAN TEMPLE, YERCAUD
The god of the Servarayan ranges and of the 67 odd villages in these hills, Servaraya Perumal is the guardian of the Shevaroys, and his temple is no grand monument filled with amazing sculptures. I would call it a temple of surprises and wonders, as old as these ancient hills themselves, probably dating back 2000 years or more.
The steep mountain road to the highest point of the Shevaroys makes for a very enjoyable drive. The temple is on a flat hilltop.
A modern outer façade leads to the entrance of the cave. Here you have to stoop to enter and bend down for a few feet into the cave. The cave is wider inside and you can stand up straight. This is where you see the idols of Servaraya Perumal and KaveriAmman on a rocky platform
TEMPLE OF SURPRISES
You wouldn’t expect a cave temple at this height– 5,326 feet above sea level (1,623 metres ASL)!
The goddess is Kaveri Amman. Yes, you’re right – the goddess of river Kaveri is worshipped at this highest point of the Shevaroy hills!
The idols of Servaraya Perumal and Kaveri amman are small -11/2 feet tall but adorable!
Servaraya Perumal holds the conch and discus in his hands while goddess Kaveri holds a lotus flower in her hand.
The roof above the deities is moist and drops of water fall at intervals on the idols. This flow of water dries up during the dry summer months.
In the dark recess behind the god and goddess the cave goes on. Visitors are not permitted to go beyond this point. A story is told by the local tribal people that the cave goes all the way to Thalakaveri in the state of Karnataka, which is the origin of the Kaveri river. No one knows for sure, but it is a tale that has been told for generations. Surely there must be a reason why there is a temple for goddess Kaveri at these heights but it is a reason that has been lost to us, lost in the mists of time.
There is a great tree at the entrance, its vast trunk covered with small bags of prayer offerings.
There are just a few houses some distance away from the temple.
Across the road, there is a wishing well where you throw pebbles and make a wish.
Breathe in the exhilarating, pure, cold mountain air. The vast flat hilltop above the temple is a great place to relax, to have a picnic with your family, or just enjoy the spectacular 360 degrees views and the play of clouds in a sky that is so close that you feel you can almost touch it!
From this high vantage point you get a breathtaking view of the hills that stretch in rows upon overlapping rows into the distance. You can also see bauxite mines on the hills.
The festival in May is an important one for the tribal people called as Malayaalees -the people of the hills, when they gather here in their hundreds.
7 kms from Yercaud lake. You can go by car or take a taxi. Alternately you can hire an auto near the boathouse to take you to the temple.
The temple is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.