Velapar Murugan

Site: Velapar Murugan (வேலப்பர் முருகன்)
Map: +9° 51′ 2.40″ N, +77° 35′ 54.00″ E, 500m.

This is located en-route to Theni from Madurai city, past a township called Aandipatti. There is also a small road side rest-stop/temple – DharmaSastha (தர்மசாஸ்தா) located here along the way, at 339m. We got a generous helping of piping hot brown sugar pongal prasadam wrapped in clean banana leaves there.

The priests in the destination temple, Velapar Murugan, and the area itself is from a community of native/indigenous tribal folks (ஆதி). The perform puja chanting was distinctively different in their native Tamil dialect (neither Sanskrit nor classical Tamil). We went off season so the whole trek was quiet and to ourselves.

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The last quarter stretch of steps to the top.
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The temple.
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About 2 km walk on a narrow and rocky dirt trail, past the temple, some berries - kalaakaay (கலாகாய்) up high on the tree tops. The ripe ones look and taste a bit like navaa-pazham.
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The three local kids who accompanied me on this trek, feasting on kalaakaay after going through all means to get at these branches from the tree tops.

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