Allu Arjun’s blockbuster movie ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ mesmerized the audience with stunning shots canned in exquisite places. It is interesting to note that some of the eye-catching scenes in the film were picturized in a sleepy village on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. The picturesque Panpozhi hamlet is on the way through the forest to Achankovil.
The Thirumalai Kovil temple is located on a small hill adjacent to the Sahyadri Hills, which is also known as the Western Ghats. Before reaching the temple, one could see a small building that looks like a check post and the huts near the structure have roof sheets rather than the conventional grass roof for more protection.
The popular ‘Srivalli’ song in the film was mainly shot at the Thirumalai Kovil in the Tenkasi district of Tamil Nadu. The female lead character’s village and the festival were created through an artificial set near the entrance of the temple. It is noteworthy that 526 steps lead to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple atop the hill. One can also travel in a vehicle to the top by paying Rs 50 for a one-km drive to the temple. And this road’s toll fee could probably be the most expensive one in the world! The parking space is spacious and you can comfortably park your vehicle there. The striking red-and-white steps of the temple stand out in ‘Pushpa’ movie too.
Obviously, it is quite breezy at the temple and the atmosphere is filled with devotion and piety as ‘kumara sthuthis’ flow rhythmically from the vintage horn loudspeakers. This temple dates back over 500 years and its main deity is ‘Balamuruga’. Legend has it that the Pandala king took the initiative to build this place of worship. The vistas from atop the hills are breathtaking as one could see the Westerns Ghats on one side and valleys on the other.
Real ‘Pushpa’ village
Though a ‘Pushpa’ set was established near the Thirumalai Kovil, there is a real ‘Pushpa’ (flower) village, which is Sundarapandiapuram in the Tenkasi district. It is an age-old village replete with ‘agraharams’ (Brahmin colonies) and many films were shot at these ‘agraharams’. It is said that Nayanthara’s ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini’ was canned in the oldest house on this Brahmin street. All the houses in the ‘agraharams’ have small ponds on the rear side of the building. There is no doubt that Sundarapandiapuram has some aesthetically beautiful streets.
There are different hues for every house, just as there are different hues for regional gods. Certain trees are draped with bright gaudy sarees and revered. Mini cradles are hung and yellow threads are tied around the trees to propitiate gods. Sundarapandiapuram is the flower bed of Tenkasi and during the blooming season, the whole region would be covered in different kinds of flowers.
Arulmigu Vishwanathar Temple is a prominent place of worship in Tenkasi dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple made of stone blends with nature and the inside of the temple is airy and breezy even when the sun is blazing down. The sculptures in the temple are masterpieces and can take you to another world. It is indeed a pleasure to take a peek into the past by browsing through the ancient script of ‘Vattezhuthu’ engraved on the walls.
When you are in Tenkasi make sure to have the authentic and lip-smacking chicken biriyani from Hotel Greens Land and the cute little coin parotta and pepper chicken from Rahmath Border Hotel in Sengottai.