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Agastya Mala

A view of Agastya Mala from the base
Elevation 1,868 m (6,129 ft)
Translation Hill of Agastya (Malayalam and Tamil)
Location
Location Thiruvananthapuram District, India
Range Western Ghats
Coordinates 8°37′N 77°15′E / 8.617°N 77.25°E / 8.617; 77.25

Agastya Mala (Malayalam: അഗസ്ത്യകൂടം) (also known as Agastyarkoodam or Agasthyakoodam) is a 1,868 metres (6,129 ft) peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala in the Western Ghats of South India. The mountain lies on the border between the Indian states of Kerala (in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram District) and Tamil Nadu (in Tirunelveli). The perennial Thamirabarani River originates from the eastern side of this hill and flows into the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu.

Agastya Mala is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. The Tamil language is considered to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agastya at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves.

Contents

Geography

A view of the Agasthyamala range from the Tirunelveli rainshadow region to the east.

Agastya Mala is located 32 km from Neyyar Dam. The major city and airport nearest to Agastya Mala is Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum) and its Trivandrum International Airport, around 61 km away. The nearest railway station is Ambasamudram, Tirunelveli District. There is a trekking path, nearly 32 km, from Bonacad

Trekking Routes

Idol of Agasthya Muni at the top of the hill

The peak of Agasthiyamala can be reached only by trekking up to it. While the Kerala government has been favourable to the pilgrims wanting to visit the peak, the Tamil Nadu government allows certain number of applications even though they have strict rules within the wildlife sanctuary. Every year in the month of May, Sundarampillai (late) from Papanasam used to organise a big group of pilgrims to go on a devotional trek.

Vegetation

The lower elevations of this peak are also known for their abundance of rare herbs and medicinal plants. Around 2,000 medical plants used in Ayurvedic treatments are found here. Europeans, particularly those from England, were the first to establish tea gardens around the base stations of the mountain at Brimore, Bonacaud, and Ponmudi.

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve harbours rare flora and fauna. Tourists are permitted to the area only with permission from the forest department of Kerala. Annual trekking passes to the peak are issued from the forest department during January-February only.

Other major rivers which originate from the mountain are the Karamana River, which flows through the Thiruvananthapuram District and is the major source of drinking water to the city, and the Neyyar River (also in the Thiruvananthapuram District).

See also

References

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