Girivalam shrines – Vediyappan kovil

  • Vediyappan or the Lord of the Forest is an ancient dravidian deity, said to be a manifestation of Lord Shiva and worshipped under this title by tribals and jungle dwellers. He is a guardian deity and his temples are usually found in the woods and other forest areas. He is often worshipped inside a natural glen of trees surrounded by rocks and all around him are stone sculptures of many wild animals who form his faithful band of followers. And of course, as is the tradition for guardian dieties, one or two stone horses are kept close by in readiness for him to mount and ride like the wind on any rescue mission for his devotees when they need his protection.

    A really authentic Vediyappan shrine can be found if one takes a little forest trail right opposite the Seenuvasa school on the outer girivalam. Here in the midst of  a lovely green forest enclave, stands a very ancient and imposing deity of Vediyappan surrounded by his coterie of wild animals and other woodland creatures like sprites and driads. And there are also three magnificent horses with their guards ready to take the god on their backs and flee to the help of any devotee in trouble. It is very impressive to just walk up this seemingly innocuous path and then suddenly stumble upon these surprising horses with their brilliant colours, forming a stark contrast to the surrounding landscape.