Monday, 27 January 2014


27, January 2014. 
When I received the e-mail for registering  from  J Chandra P R O of   R.E.A.C.H Foundation ( ( )  to GUDIYAM CAVES VISIT,  immediately replied yes.  After that I searched for more details in the web. It was interesting and it kindled me further. I was very eagerly waiting for the 26th Jan 2014 to arrive.  I used to learn may things like Chozha / Pandya / Pallava period temples during this type of visits.

We are fortunate enough to  visit this caves / temples with Mr Sathyamurthy, an Expert from Archaeology ( formerly worked with ASI ), Mr Badrinarayanan, a Geologist ( formerly worked with Geological Survey of India ) and Mr Vakula Varadharajan, the Historian.  Even-though heard many things, but I was able to reproduce very little in this post, since they are beyond my understanding / knowledge.  Also I had my co-passenger as Mr Anantha, from Nanganallur ( 9445166074 )  who is also  interested in this type of Visits, music and  culture.

As usual I joined this visit from Guindy along with 36 members in two vans. We reached Poondy Oontreeswarar Shiva temple after crossing Thiruvallur ( The Place Poondi ia also called as Thiruvenpakkam. This is the  17th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva sthalam  in Thondai Nadu, where Iraivan has given an Oontrukol   ( walking stick ) to Sundarar, when he lost his eyesight, while he was on the way to Thiruvarur via Thirumullaivayil, Kanchipuram – Details of this temple will be posted separately  after Thirukoil Uzhavarapani scheduled on 2nd Feb 2014 ).  The group comprised of Ladies, 2 kids and young & very young aged peoples. After the dharshan of Lord Shiva Oontreeswarar, we had our breakfast at the temple itself.

We reached Goonipalayam Village ( Nampakkam Road ) around 10.15 Hrs  after crossing Poondi reservoir ( Sathyamoorthy Sagar ). Since there is no proper sign boards we missed the route twice. Parked our vehicle at the end of concrete road and started our trekking. The actual start point is from the Tall watch tower. The path  was   full of pebbles and it was difficult to trek on the pebbles. The thick growth of vegetation also made the trek  further tougher.  The route was a frightening one. We could hear some birds chirping, otherwise it was too silent. There is no passerby through out the trek. A local lady from other side of the hill came along with us. A dog was also followed us during the trek. ( May be expecting some biscuits from us ). Even-though the 2nd cave was about 7 KM it looked like,  we have trekked a long distance. And the path was stretching like Hanuman's tail. Everybody  exhausted due to scorching sun. On the route there was no big trees to take shelter. 
Old straw roof Hut at Goonipalayam Village - The starting point of our trek   
 Trekking on the pebbles path
 Still we have to trek
 Conglomerate of pebbles rock 
 Conglomerate of pebbles rock
People throws the plastic wastes - too bad . 
Conglomerate of pebbles rock ( Local people call this as Thalayari, the kaval Theivam to Sri Mannachi Amman. He was made as Kaval Theivam, since  he had seen Sri Mannachi amman was eating food prepared by her.  Learned from the Local lady who trekked along with us )
We are approaching the 2nd Cave  
There are about 16 caves in this Allikulli Hill range and we are able to cover only two. All the caves are natural formation of conglomerate of pebbles of latterite or geological formation pebbles. The pebbles were  formed due to running of river Cauvery via this region ( Yes the present Cauvery  flowed through this place with an  origin from Palhat – Kerala. Due to natural diversion / obstruction at Mettur the river changes its direction to the present route  - this is as per Mr Badrinarayanan, Geologist ). Now the the same river is called as Kusasthalai river. There  are huge beehives clinging from the roof of the 2nd    cave.  
 Entrance view of the 2nd cave 
 A Devotee is performing pooja to Sri Mannachi Amman 
View of the opposite hill from the cave 
 Devotee's offerings to Sri Mannachi Amman 
 A cave within the cave 
Large beehives clinging from the roof of the cave  
Sri Mannachi Amman 
There is an Amman sila moortham  called Sri Mannachi Amman was installed by the locals and regular poojas on Sundays are also conducted by a lady. People from far off places like Pichathur in Andhra Pradesh visits this Amman  and pongal is  being offered.  
 Nature’s twist( Look at this looking like a man and head like an elephant)
Nature's twist 
After 2nd cave,  we had been the 1st cave also, on the way to start point, even-though most of the people exhausted. There we found  a water source  above the cave. It was a panoramic  view of the hills from there.

 Our peoples are taking rest in the first cave 
Panoramic view of the Hill above 1st cave 
The dog followed us throughout the trek
The important details of these caves are…..
1.   There are 16 caves in this Allikulli Hills range.
2.   These caves are approximately 120,000 years old.
3.   These caves were once in the ice glaciers.
4.   In the year 1863 Sir Robert Bruce Foote, a British geologist  had done research on these caves and he had discovered some of the stone tools used by the Palaeolithic people ( Stone age ) between 29 to 18 thousand years before..
5.   In the year 1930 Mr Krishnasamy, an Archaeologist discovered 16 caves in this hill region.
6.   In the year 1936 Cambridge University of United States had studied these caves.
7.   Palaeolithic people used these caves as temporary shelter. 
8.   Since the soil and caves are conglomerate of pebbles there is no big trees.
9.   Now these caves are under the control of ASI ( Archaeological Survey Of India).
1.   The Gudiyam cave is about 70 KM from Chennai.
2.   You can reach Via Thiruvallur, Poondi, Goonipalayam on the way to Nambakkam
3.   Goonipalayam is 11 KM from Poondi via Poondi reservoir ( Sathyamoorthy Sagar – a drinking water source to Chennai city and a transit reservoir to Pauzhal for Krishna water )

4.   From Goonipalayam one has to take a trek to about 7 KM to the 2nd cave from watch tower.

Started our trek back to the base where we parked the vehicles. Had our lunch around 14.30 Hrs. On the way to Chennai we had been to Thiruvur and Aranvayal Shiva Temples. The details are as follows.


Iraivan : Sri Singaantteeswarar
Iraivi     : Sri Uthpalaambal

Some of the important features of this temple are …
  1. This temple is on the North side of river Coovam. The village Thiruvur is 40 KM from Chennai on the way to Thiruvallur.
  2. The temple was in good shape and regular poojas are conducted during 13th century Pandya Kings.
  3. From 1st Jadavarma Sundara Pandiyan to Chozha King Vijaya Kanda  Gopalan’s period Kalvettukkal  of total in 12 nos available in side the temple of which two numbers are kept at the entrance of south side Rajagopuram.
  4. It was believed that Rishya Singeeswarar worshipped Lord Shiva of this temple and hence Shiva is being called as Sri Singaantteeswarar.
  5. During 1st Jadavarma Sundara Pandiyans 11th year( 1261) rule,  the temple was built as a stone structure. Before the stone construction the temple was built by Ozhukarai alais Thiruvannamalaiudayan belongs to Ozhukarai alias Kulothunga nalloor. He was the Chief of the Place called Vembayur alias Thugadur.
  6. The Attaka Pillayar temple on the west side of river Coovam receives  the maanyam ( மானியம் ) for burning of lamp from the Shiva temple.
  7. The complete temple was reconstructed  between 1998 to 2004 in stages.
  8. Ambal is of Chozha period Moortham in standing posture with a beautiful smile on her face.
  9. In  the artha mandapam  relief of Rameswarar, Thirunageswarar, Jambukeswarar (Thiruvanaikka), Rishya Singaateswarar are available on all four sides of a pillar.
  10. In the outer prakaram sannadhis for 5 Ivar, Athimuga Vinayagar, Vallal Kumaran with Valli Devasena, Singara Chandran, Singara Suryan, Singara Bairavar, Vallalar, Saptha Kannikaikal and Naagar.
  11. In koshtam moortham for Vinagar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma and Durgai.
  12. There is no Navagrahas sannadhi. Since Ashta Thikku Balakars are on the top of Rajagopuram, a separate sannadhi for Navagrahas was not built.
  13. It was also told that there is an underground tunnel available  from the present Madappalli and the same was closed during the Kumbhabhishekam with out investigation.
  14. The Rajagopuram was built during Vijayanagara period.
  1. The Village Thiruvur is on the highway between Chennai to Thiruvallur about 40 KM from Chennai. All the buses used to stop on the main road of Thiruvur.
  1. Mr Soundararajan 9952414369 and Rama Vimalan 9382664946 may be contacted for more details.

 One of the kalvettu is erected in front of the temple ( seems to be of latter period )
 The three tier rajagopuram 
 Front arch at the entrance of  the maha mandapam
 Sudhati Natarajar with Ambal  and Nandhiyamperuman with Suyasambigai
 Gajabirushta Rajagopuram 
 Moolavar Vimanam with Dhakshinamoorthy and Lingothbavar 
 Sri Valli Devasena samedha Sri Vallal Kumaran 
 View of the Rajagopuram from inside temple 
 Sri Rishya Singeeswarar worshiping Lord Shiva 
 Vallalar Sannadhi 
 Attakappillayar Sannadhi by the side of the road
                                                Attakappillayar - a big size moortham 


After Sri Singaantteeswarar dharshan we proceeded to another Shiva temple about 3 to 4 KM at Aranvoyal. 

Some of the important features of this temple are .....
  1. Shiva Sri Thaazheeswarar  in Naagabaranam looks cute. It was a Pallava period temple. The temple is under reconstruction.  
  2. Mr Vakula Varadharajan explained us the beauty of the Chandrasekarar with Ambal in sitting posture with left leg up in folded position.
  3. He also explained the beauty of Natarajar, the muthra details and functions of Damuru and fire on the hands.This is the Natarajar with Ganga ( small ) on the jada mudi. The jada mudi are of  three numbers on either side.
  4. Sri Kaamkshi amman with Sri Ekambareswarar are in a separate sannadhi.
  5. The moolavar vimanam is of Gajabirustam type.
  6. The Nandhi has been shifted to east side from South side and looks cute. We could see minute details on the Nandhi.
  7. The mottai gopuram is on the south side, is used as the main entrance.
  8. Tamil Kalvettukal ( Tamil inscriptions)  was found around the left pillar on the south side entrance.
  1. The Temple on the opposite side of Thiruvur Village. All the buses from Chennai to Thiruvallur passes  through Aranvayol bus stop and the village is about 1 KM from Main road.


 View of the main shrine entrance arch with Moolavar gajabirushta vimanam 
 Entrance arch 
 Nandhi - preparing for the installation 
The old Pillayar - see the araigan thread ( அரைஞான் கயிறு )  - He used the snake
 The old tamil inscriptions around the pillar seems -  Pallava period 
 South side mottai gopuram 
Sri Mahavishnu & his concert - See the Chakra is in straight position-  sitting posture of  his concert,  left leg is up
 Natarajarwith Manikkavasakar and Ambal
 A closer look of Ambal 
See the Ganga on the left side of jadamudi and difference between left and right eye ( Left side supposed to be Ambal )

After dharshan we returned back to Chennai around 19.30 Hrs  with lot of pleasant memories. I extend my gratitude to R.E.A.C.H Foundation and the Experts Mr Sathyamoorthy, Mr Badrinarayanan, Mr Vakula Varadharajan and our friend Mr J Chandrasekaran.

I was surprised to receive a call from Mr Vakula Varadharajan (+91 9840499986 ) on 21-03-3014, 21.36 Hrs and he had given some comments and appreciated me, the way in which I had written the post.   I was really very happy to receive the comments from an Expert.  I tried to incorporate all the comments and if any mistakes still, I will correct the same. 

 Thank you very much Sir. 


  1. Mr. Velu Chamy, Thanks for such a post with every detail. It was a pleasure to read through and revisit the places through your blog. Though very insignificant, you included my name there as well......

    1. Thanks Anantha for the comments, it is true, is it not....

  2. Thank you very much. Wonderfully you made us visit the places through your writing.

  3. Thanks SS Mani for the comments.