Chitharal Jain Monuments – Chitharal Malaikoil
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).It was converted into a Bagavathy Temple in the 13th Century A.D. Chitharal hills are locally called Chokkanthoongi Hills. Now this place is famous as Malaikoil. The temple is a protected monument under Archeological Survey of India (ASI). Plenty of visitors visits and enjoy the beauty of Chitharal hill and cave temple. Visit the place as a pilgrim not as a tourist.
There are 9 stone inscriptions in Tamil vattezheutthu, sanskrit and Malayalam dating back to 9th Century A.D.
Chitharal- A small village located 55km away from Kanyakumari. The place is well-known for its hillocks and ancient Jain Temples. These temples of Jain Deities' which were considered to be built in 9th century AD, and these sculptures are the main attraction in Chitharal. Also these sculptures are historically known as Thirucharanathupalli, and are situated inside the caves on a very long Hill.
At the foot of the Thirucharanmalai hillock, one can see a stylish Kerala Style Arch made of rocks and is the starting point of your Trek. The atmosphere and the indications at the foot will not give you any indication of a Hard Climb ahead. So be prepared for a hard steep climb of a 800 meters.
It will be better, if you select a day with sun is not too sharp. All over the trekking time one can see several cement benches to sit, but the hottest sun will not allow you to sit on them. Colorful flowers and some trees with red and yellow flowers around these benches complets the picturesque.
Now, a question will arise in you, why we suffer all these...? The answer is, after these steep climb you are going to another era. Because, Chitharal is one of the last few vestiges of Jainism. Some years before, this rock shrine was a pilgrim center for the Jains'.
Around the period of the decline of Jainism during the rule of the Cholas in the 11th Century, it is believed that Chandragupta Maurya, along with a Jain ascetic Badrabhahu, reached Sravanabelagola in 298 BC. Their disciples travelled to this region to spread Jainism and chose the hillock for meditation. It was, however, converted into a Hindu temple in 1250A.D., and an image of Bhagavathy was installed.
The top hill, thus named, Thirucharanmalai, means `the hill holy to the charanas'.
When you reach the top of the hill, you can see or feel the enchanting beauty of Chitharal. The cave which made Chitharal more famous, is also a natural beauty to explore...!
From the top, one can see or enjoy the beauty of winding rivers, lakes, fields, clusters of villages, coconut fields, tall church spires, and the lines of Western Ghat covered with white clouds; and is a mind blowing scenery, which you won't get from anywhere.
Another main attraction at the top hill is two large rocks facing each other, and one can explore whole beauty of the foot through the small window created by these rocks. Also at the top hill, one can see some ruined or parts of ancient temples, which is believed to be of Charanas.
The whole rocky area is carved with Jain deities' images and is also a part of ancient era.
How to get there: Chitharal (also spelt Chidaral) is 55km from Kanyakumari, 36km from Nagercoil and 7km from Marthandam. The approach road is from Kandapuram, leading to Elanthavilas. Chitharal is located exactly 4km North East of Kuzhithurai.
The district administration is busy giving the place a face lift. Many tourists have begun visiting the spot to catch a glimpse of the frescos and the panoramic view of the hills. So please don't miss the ancient beauty, while planning a trip to KanyaKumari...! Chitharal is a small located at a distance of 7 km from Marthandam and 55km from Kanyakumari. The place is known for its hillocks with rock out sculptures of Jain Thirthankaras.
Attractions in Chitharal Chitharal is a small located at a distance of 7 km from Marthandam and 55km from Kanyakumari. The place is known for its hillocks with rock out sculptures of Jain Thirthankaras. Jain deities’ temples are another marvelous attraction in Chitharal. It is believed that these sculptures were built in the ninth century and was historically known as Thirucharanathupalli. The sculptures are present inside the caves on the one and half long hill. The stretch has steps leading to the hilltop. How to Reach Chitharal
Chitharal is having a good access through roads and rails. Airport: The nearest airport is situated in Thriruvananthapuram at a distance of 45km away. Railway station: Marthandam railway station, 10km away is the nearest railway station. Roads: There are lots of buses and other taxis available through the NH47 route to take tourists to this beautiful land. From Marthandam, go to Thiruvattar and then to Atoor and reach Chitharal junction. A 2km road will take to the hills.
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
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 Central Archeological Survey of India
How to reach
Thiruvananthapuram / Nagercoil ----> Marthandam ----> Attoor ----> Chitharal (distance from Marthandam – 7 Kms) ---->Arumanai
Accommodation facilities are available at Marthandam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari and Nagarkovil.
Thiruvattar Adikesava Perumal Temple