Saduragiri Hill or Chathuragiri otherwise known as Sivanmalai is situated 5 km from Watrap (Vathirairuppu) near Srivilliputhur. The name Saduragiri came from Chathur (4) Veda (Vedas) Giri (Hill), where all the four Vedas met and formed the hill. Another meaning is that the whole mountain is in square (Chathuram) in shape so the name Chathuragiri. Saduragiri is the Abode of God. It is otherwise also called as Mahalingam Hill.
This is a mysterious hill where it is believed that siddhars still live, worship the lord Shiva.
Once at Kailash, Lord Siva and Parvathi were worshipped by several saints, ganas, siddhars and sanyasis. When everybody did pradakshinam to both, one Maharishi called "Bringi" did pradakshinam only to Lord Siva, ignoring Parvathi. When Parvathi asked Lord Siva about, why Bringi Maharishi did not pay his tributes to her, Lord Siva explained that those who had left everything and think only about "Moksha House" will perform duties that way and at the end they will join me and those who wish to enjoy "Ishta Kamya Moksha" will worship us both and enjoy everything in life. Since everybody wanted to enjoy "Ishta Kamya Moksha" in life they pay their tributes to both of us and this Bringi wanted only "Moksha", he pay tributes only to me (Lord Siva). On hearing this Parvathi Devi cursed Bringi Maharishi, he lost all flesh from his body since flesh is in Shakthi (Parvathi) form. Bringi Maharishi was unable to stand without shakthi and fell down. On seeing this Lord Siva, to protect his devoted/realised disciple, threw a stick with which, the Maharishi walked away.
On seeing this, Parvathi decided that if only she become "Ardha Nari" of Siva, she will be able to achieve her goals and thought to do a pooja/thavam/penance to appease Lord Siva to grant her the position. Parvathi Devi left Lord Siva and went to find a suitable place and on reaching the hill she sat under the shades of "Kallala Tree" and started her meditation. The tree was near to "Sattanadha Muni Siddhar" cave. There was no rain for nearly 12 years in that place and on the presence of Goddess, the entire place flowered back with greenary. On seeing the Goddess, the Muni went and received her by paying tributes and enquired about her arrival at the place. On hearing the message, the Muni arranged everything and Parvathi Devi made a Prathishtanam of Linga with Sandalwood Paste. Goddess worshipped Lord Siva with flowers, mantras and meditation. On being appeased, Lord Siva appeared on his "Rishaba Vahana" and accepted the demand of Goddess. On their return Lord Siva proclaimed that since the Siva Lingam was worshipped by Parvathi Devi, it should be worshipped only by Maharishis only and those who wish for "Kamya Loka" should not do pooja to the lingam. And if they do so, they may stand to hate "Ishta Kamya Loka" and will become "Moksha Desired" person and ultimately join him. Lord Siva blessed everybody and went away. After that, Sattanadha Muni worshipped the "Santhana Lingam" and "Chanangi Muni" followed suit.
It is also said in Siva Puranam that the four Vedas joined together and formed this mountain and that is why it is called Chathur(ved)agiri.
Temples in this hill:
* Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy Temple
* Sri Santhana Mahalinga Swamy Temple
While reaching these temples, there are even other sanctums as follows;
* On the way to the hill up to Sundara Mahalingam temple:
* At Thaniparai entrance, separate sanctums for Lord Ganesha, Rajakali Amman, Pechi Amman and Karuppanna Swamy.
* At Kora Kunda (Korakkar), two sanctums of Sivalingams inside two separate caves.
* On the way up twin Lingams in a single sanctum called "Rettai Lingam". (Sankaran Narayanar Lingams).
* Vana Durga sanctum.
* Pilavadi Karuppaswamy sanctum.
* From Sundara Mahalingam up to the top of the hill the following sanctums are there deep in the forest.
* Vana Durga
* Oonjal Karuppan Swamy
* Korakkar Scripture Rock
* Vella Ganapathi (White colored Lord Ganesha)
* Nadu Kattu Ganapathi
* Naga Kanni Kavu
* Periya Mahalingam
* Thavasi Cave (where it is said that Siddhars are still there and one can enter only with their permission).
Temple timings and festivals:
At Santhana Mahalingam Temple the daily pooja starts by 3 'O' clock in the morning. The second jama pooja is performed before sunrise. At Sundara Mahalingam temple the daily pooja starts by 6 'O' clock in the morning. At both the temples Ardha Jama Poojas will be done before 18:00 hrs and closed. On full moon and new moon days, the time schedule changes according to the visit of pilgrims.
During full moon and new moon devotees visit the temples and pay their penance and have darshan. Pilgrims will climb the mountain only in groups and not in solo, since the forest is full of animals. Those who have strong heart and health are advised to climb up. The new moon during the month of July-August (Aadi Amavasai) attracts about 10 to 15 lacs devotees who come there to have the darshan of the Lord Mahalingam.
Entering from Thaniparai the first sanctum for Lord Ganesha
Rajakali Amman sanctum
Pechi amman and Karuppanna swamy sanctum
After these sanctums' you have cross few hilly areas;
Way to Sangali parai
Sangali parai from below
Sangali parai after climbing
Paths after Sangali parai to reach Korakkar cave
Rettai Lingam sanctum
On the way after Rettai lingam sanctum towards Vanadurga sanctum
People who carry food grains up the hill, resting near Naaval ootru
Vazhukku parai slope
This path leads to places Varusanadu, Theeni, Kambham, Sinnamanoor. On the way down to Uppu thurai there is a sanctum for Maaligai Karuppa swamy.
Vana Durga sanctum
Pilavadi Karuppaswamy sanctum
On the way to Santhana Maligam temple, zoomed photos of Thavasi cave.
Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy Temple entrance
Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy Temple at entrance
Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy Temple (Generally taking photos are prohibited in temples particularly focusing towards moolasthanam and so in here too)
Sri Santhana Mahalinga Swamy Temple entrance
Sri Santhana Mahalinga Swamy Temple
To extreme left is Navagraha, left gopuram is Santhana Ganapathi, the big gopuram is Sri Santhana Mahalinga Swamy and to the right is Lord Muruga
Top left gopuram is Lord Muruga and the right (straight) gopuram is Sri Santhana Mahadevi
To right is 18 Siddhars statue
How to Reach here:
Pilgrims coming from Chennai, has to come to Madurai and get down at Krishnan Koil Bus Stop on the way to Srivilliputhur then go to Watrap (Vatthirairuppu). From Watrap you have to go to Thaniparai, the base of the hill. Buses are available even from Srivilliputhur to Watrap and Thaniparai. Pilgrims travelling from South has to pass Nagercoil – Tirunelveli – Rajapalayam – Srivilliputhur – Watrap -Thaniparai.
One has to take Pothigai Express from Chennai to Sengottai and get down at Srivilliputhur. Then from there they can take a bus to Thaniparai (base of the Saturagiri Hill)
Up the Hill:
For the first timer, it takes nearly 4 to 5 hours to climb to the Top of the hill. Rest, can reach the top within 2 to 3 hours. On the hill there is no electricity, no telephone connection, no range for cell phones no shops, no hotels, and no lodges. Annadhana' will going on from morning to evening near both the temples and stay in the shelter provided there before dark falls. Basic amenities are provided at the hill. Devotees are requested not to spoil the natural gifts in the hill. Everybody can avoid plastic covers and intoxicant materials.
* Madurai to watrap 65 km (60km from airport & 68km from maatuthavani)
* Virudnagar to watrap 35 km
* Rajapalayam to watrap 31 km
* Srivilliputtur to watrap 20 km
* Devotees are requested to climb the mountain only from Thaniparai region. There are so many other ways from different directions to top of the hill. But they are very dangerous. Atleast they can find some other person within a gap of 5 minutes while climbing/getting down.
* Sathuragiri is not a place for research. Avoid it.
* Do not take heavy luggage. It will be very tough to climb.
* Take drinking water, Torch light, Blankets and small snacks.
* Head load carriers are available (M. Baalu - 9787194596, P. Manoharan - 9360650995, K. Marimuthu - 9047576577; these names and phone nos. are painted marking which i found while climbing up the hill. I don't know about there availability, do contact them before you start climbing if you are in really need.
* Do not pluck flowers or leaves on your way or break any branch of the tree. Everything belongs to the Lord. Each and everything in the hill has its own power.
* Annadhana will be provided from morning to evening near both the temples and stay in shelters' before dark falls.
* Do not walk in the dark without proper torch light.
* If you happen to see any animals, stay quiet and wait for it to move away and then proceed, especially elephants are more dangerous.
* Do not go into the jungle alone or climb up the hill without proper guide.
* Excellent guides who knows nook and corner of the entire forest are available. Take their assistance to climb further and follow strictly their instructions.
* Sri Subbaram is the only official Priest at Santhana Mahalingam Temple - excellent man devoted his life to the worship of Lord Santhana Mahalingam and service to any pilgrim through free annadhana.
* Sri Periyakaruppan is the official assistant to Shri Subbaram poojari.
* The Adivasis are known as Palliyargal, who started wearing clothes from the '70s only. Previously they used to run away on seeing pilgrims and other visitors. Now they have been repatriated to Thaniparai, by the Government.