A spellbound hoard of 7 hills on the lines of Nilgiri biosphere reserve set on the Western Ghats on the outskirts of Coimbatore. Admired as the Kailash of South, Velliangiri hills have long been the hub of spiritual pilgrimages and thick pristine forest tagging along each other. Though not as big as the other Kailash up at North, it is no less than a breathtaking overview of a blissful mountain and undiluted ambiance. This blog is a complete tourist guide of Velliangiri, a comprehensive approach towards the south Kailash. Apart from being a spiritual bearer, this is also touted to be a great trekking sport for locals.
Velliangiri Malai forms on the lines of Western Ghats. It is also known as the Saptagiri, with 7 individual hills each altitude ranging from 520m to 1840m. It is nuzzled by Coimbatore to the east, Siruvani hills to the south, Palakkad on the west and Niligiri Mountains to the north.
The average temperature ranges from 0 °C during winter to 41 °C in the summer. There are seasonal rivers depending on the climate as well as Noyyal originating from Velliangiri.
The history dates back to powerful deity Shiva and his alliance with a proud woman who was an epitome of love and grace. A beautiful maiden back in South India always aspired to tie knots with Shiva and be his beloved wife. Lord Shiva is believed to be self made, powerful creator and destroyer of power, realising that she needs to be equally powerful and trivial enough to stand beside him; she soon started practicing yogic sciences to become the epitome of sanctity and eternal purity.
This persuaded the almighty Shiva to commence his journey to the maiden, which stirred up other gods as they feared that he might never make it back to their place if he ties the knot with a woman down south.
The woman drew a particular sunrise as a deadline before which the powerful deity should make it, failing which she will make her soul leave the body. The other gods cooked up a conspiracy to take away the momentum and stop Shiva from reaching her on time. They faked a sunrise to make Shiva believe that he was too late to reach her even though he was so close to grace the place. Disappointed with his despondency, he started his journey back to where he came from.
Heartbroken maiden left her body by standing at the tip of a place in Kanyakumari which is now a popular shrine. Contemplated with his decision and pace, Shiva on his way back chose Velliangiri as his place to relax and pull up everything together. We have no clue how long he stayed there but there is a popular belief that wherever the powerful deity rests to experience spiritual connection that place will be called the Kailash and hence Velliangiri is called the south Kailash, though not comparable to the huge size, space and competence of Kailash at North, Velliangiri hills still stands out to be a artistic beauty with melodic ambiance streaming down in the 7 hills.
Relationship between Isha and Velliangiri
It is a known fact that Sadhguru was smitten by the godly ambiance and nature of the 7 hills on his journey to find the perfect spot for setting his Isha yoga center back in 1992.
His search ended in just 11 days with the commencement of his Isha project with Velliangiri as the backdrop. Read more to know about the relationship between Isha and Velliangiri hills.
How to reach Velliangiri
Velliangiri or Sapthagiri hills is located at the border of Coimbatore and Palakkad. It is around 30-40 kms drive from Coimbatore depending on the route. Unlike other tourist places the road taking us to the hill is often void of any traffic or people, a solid point for those who would want to experience enlightenment at peace.
There are regular 14D buses plying from Coimbatore to Poondi from where you can walk to the Velliangiri. Ardent devotees from Coimbatore can be often seen walking all the way to the hills from the shrines during auspicious days
The road till mountains is often breathtaking with trees at both sides, with birds chirping and Adiyogi gracing at the other end. Learn more about Adiyogi
When to trek?
The Velliangiri mountains comes under the watchful eyes of forest commission, hence trespassing round the year is strictly prohibited and is also touted to be dangerous with sightings of wild animals often surfacing the internet.
Some people come for the usual trekking experience while most others comes for the spiritual liberation, no matter which club you join you can visit the Saptagiri hills during the months of Mid Feb to mid May, the same time when the Maha Shivaratri falls.
Upon request with the Forest official’s entry during new moon day and full moon day are occasionally arranged thought one needs to be careful with wild tuskers out there conquering the bamboos when no human intervention is deployed.
During the commencement of your journey up hill, forest officials will have a closer look at what you carry in order to pick out the plastic carriers to maintain the decorum of the bio environment atop.
The Velliangiri trekking usually begins at night so that the shrine can be reached at the dawn the next day. Everyone’s experience differs on the intention they have before taming the hills. So we have compiled a list of user’s experiences and generalized both the trekking and spiritual front together giving you a painted picture of what one can expect from the trip.
User trekking experiences
So no matter who you are, always be prepared for the fun yet tiring journey up ahead as some of the hills tend to have higher altitude with tougher terrain conditions for people to tame. You can get a bamboo stick at the foothills for just Rs.30/- which would truly be of good use considering the strenuous ride up ahead. The first hill would be of a steady steep draining the energy like a piece of cake, one should be careful with small rocks and slippery fields, there is a small temple at top of the first hill which marks the completion of it as well. There is a small shop atop where you can get lemonade and other basic juices to quench your thirst.
The second hill is also a bit steep but your body would have been accustomed to the challenge by now and you can get water here from rocks, which is called Sunai, the purest undiluted water source you can ever taste. The other hills are quite easy to climb when pitted against the first two, it is at the 4th hill you can get a clear scenic view of Coimbatore from a higher altitude.
At the mid of sixth hill you get to see a clear water body flowing down, there is also a small Shiva linga beneath the water where people usually take a dip in the holy water before continuing their journey to the mammoth seventh hill.
There are not proper steps up top the 7th hill, making it the hardest part of the journey, after a brief tussle at taming the rocks, you finally get to the top where you get to witness the lord Shiva in his powerful glory, apart from that you also get to see the heavenly climate with a fresh breeze of cool air taunting you with an enchanted smile and mist. You can spend 20 to 30 minutes there after which you are supposed to climb down. The journey usually takes around 10 to 12 hours for a one way trip.
What to check before trekking?
A valuable piece of advice, get a proper torch with you as there are chances of spending a whole night resting among the rocks. Women are generally not allowed, owing to the security reasons.
An experience of a lifetime where the surreal spiritual enlightenment and challenging trekking scenes club together to give out a vivid essence of pleasure. But be mentally and physically prepared well in advance to take down the mammoth task up ahead. Watch this space for more interesting news about Coimbatore and places nearby.