Photo Credit : Vimal Joseph
Agastya Mala also known in various names like Agasthyakoodam, Agastyarkoodam or Agathiyar Malai is a 1,868 meters (6,129 ft) peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. Agasthyakoodam is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas.
The shrine was installed under the auspices of the Chenkottukonam Madathipathi Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi Thiruvadikal who entered the forests with Hindu Aikya Vedi activists and his followers especially from the Kani Tribe demolished the cross erected by Christians.The Tamil language is considered to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agathiyar at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves.
The mountain lies on the border between the States of Kerala (in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram District) and Tamil Nadu (in Kanyakumari district, Tirunelveli District). The perennial Thamirabarani River originates from the eastern side of this hill and flows into the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. Other major rivers which originate from the mountain are the Karamana River, which flows through the Thiruvananthapuram District and is the major source of drinking water to the city, and the Neyyar River (also in the Thiruvananthapuram District).
The peak of Agathiyarmalai can be reached only by trekking up to it. While The Tamil Nadu government allows certain number of applications even though they have strict rules within the wildlife sanctuary. The Kerala government has been favorable to the pilgrims wanting to visit the peak. Every year in the month of May, Sundarampillai (late) from Papanasam used to organize a big group of pilgrims to go on a devotional trek.