Monday, March 16, 2009

Agastyakoodam (also known as Agastya Mala, Agastyarkoodam or Agasthyakoodam)

This is a hill in the Trivandrum District, south east to Nedumangad Thaluk in the Sahya mountain range. Agastya Mala is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya. There is an idol of Agasthya Muni at the top of the hill where sage Agastya used to do penance.

Indian mythology has a number of references to the divinity of sage Agastya. He is the one who taught the famous Adityahrudayam mantra to Lord Rama. He could drink the entire oceans using his divine powers. He is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. The grammar of Tamil language is supposed to be a boon from this sage. Agastya rasayana is an ayurvedic medicine usually given to people who are asthmatics with constipation, sneezing, blocking of nostrils and congestion of throat.

The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve harbours rare herbs and medicinal plants. 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. It is from this 1890 metre high hill ranges originates the Neyyar, Karamana and Kuzhithur rivers. Thousands of devotees and tourists flock to this spiritual and scenic hill every year.

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