Chitaral Rock Shelter: Ancient Jain Abode changed as Hindu Temple
Chitaral is a village situated about 7 km north-east of Kuzhithurai Municipal Town (Kanyakumari District) in NH 47 in 8-15" N latitude, 7-15" E longitude. The village is accessible by road from Kuzhithurai via Arumanai, a distance of about 12 kms. From Chitaral junction there is a cartable road (2 km) running upto the foot of the hill. A trekking path 2 to 3 m wide, winding up to a distance of half a kilometer lands the visitor at the cave temple entry point.
The small craggy hill is called the Tiruchcharanathu Malai as per the inscriptions at the temple, meaning the holy hill of the charanas, the eight classes of Sramanas (Jains) who have attained siddhi (salvation). Thus Tiruchcharanattu malai became the hill sacred to the Jaina ascetics of the classical era (upto 5th century A. D.). The place seems to have been sufficiently famous in earlier times so as to attract Jaina ascetics from such distant strongholds as Tirunarungondai in Tirukkoyilur taluk of South Arcot district and from Kudavasal in Tanjavur district both in Tamil Nadu.
For a more detailed account of the temple click here
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