Samanar Hills in Madurai – A Retreat into Tranquillity

The city life we live these days is overpowering and sucks the life energy out of us quite easily. It therefore becomes extremely essential for a city dweller like me to simply get away from the hectic life and leave my soul free to explore the silent expanses that exist in the most unknown corners of the world.

samanar-hills

Samanar Hills, Madurai | Image Resource: flickr.com

I am constantly trying to identify secluded historic locations because they are places which have remain untouched and undisturbed for thousands of years and are a pure reflection of human history. The Samanar hills located in the Keelakuyilkudi village 15 km north of Madurai city is one such beautiful historic site which the Archaeological Society of India has preserved with diligence.

It was sad to know that before the Samanar hills were identified as historic sites of immense importance and significance to the discovery of 8th and 9th century evolution of Jain religion, illegal quarrying was prevalent here. A large part of the hills were depreciated due to illegitimate and indiscriminate digging. The ASI tried to undo the damage but was only partially successful. The academic minds then forced the government to take action and today the Samanar Hills have been restored quite well.

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Samanar Temple cave | Image Resource: i1.trekearth.com

jain-hill-samanarJain Hill Samanar | Image Resource: 3monthsinindia.files.wordpress.com

The Samanar Hills are located at a picturesque location and even if for a moment we were to forget its gigantic historic relevance it will still be a great tourism spot. The locals have been coming to the Samanar Hills for centuries as a recluse from the summer heat and fast city life. Even during the British days a few explorers came to know of this beautiful location and became frequent travellers. The ASI became aware of this location due to these early British explorers.

The hills have several caves and were homes to many Tamil Jain monks or Samanar Monks after whom the hills are known. The Tamil monks created many carvings on the walls of these caves. The carved idols on the walls of these caves depict the life and times of the 9th and 10th century in southern India. It also transmits the message of non violence which is at the core of the Jain religion. One major attraction is the idol of Lord Mahavira which is carved in great detail in the Samanar Caves.

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