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Chitharal Caves

The exotic Chitharal Caves are located at a distance of 7 km from Marthandam and from Kanyakumari, the distance is 55 km. The small village housing these caves are historically recognised as Thirucharanthupalli. This village was once home to the Jain Monks from the Digambara sect.

This village is famed for the hillock having the famous Chitharal Caves, featuring the rock sculptures of the Tirthankaras tracing their origin back to the 9th century. The influence of the Jain King Mahendra Varman I resulted in the creation of these beautiful caves. The 13th century saw the transformation of this cave into the Bhagavathy Temple.


Known locally as Chokkanthoongi Hills, this place is presently known as Malaikoli and the temple is presently protected by the ASI or the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple reveals 9 stone inscriptions written in Tamil Vattezheutthu Sanskrit and Malayalam languages, tracking their roots back to the 9th century A.D. Famous for its Jain Temples, the exotic sculptures known as Thirucharanthupalli, form a prime attraction of Chitharal. The Thirucharanmalai hillock features a 'Kerala Style Arch', showing the starting point for you. The exclusive sculptures of The Jain Tirthankaras take you closer to their era and make you aware of the artwork that influenced the world of art and sculpture back then and how the expert craftsmanship has retained its prominence even in the modern era. Here, you find the rock sculptures of Jainntheertha Parswanathan, Pathmavati Devi and Mahaveer together.

Visitor's Information

This is an ideal location for ardent trekkers. Taking a hard uphill climb for apparently 800 meters is sure to make you feel the zeal of seeing some of the most exotic sculptures. However, you mustn't think of sitting on the scorching hot rocks for some rest. The location gains its beauty from colourful flowers and trees.

As you reach the top of the hillock, you get to witness the exotic beauty of the meandering lakes, fields and villages including churches and the streaks of the Western Ghats, all brought within one frame in a concise form. The nearest attractions that you can visit along with this ancient hill cave are Thiruvattar Adikesava Perumal Temple, Mathur Aqueduct, Padmanabhampuram Palace, Thirparappu Water Falls, Petchipaarai Dam and Perunchani Dam.

This is one of the most picturesque attractions near Kanyakumari that's perfectly ideal for the adventure tourists and nature lovers who want to spend some time in the peaceful arms of the nature. The beautiful locales and intricately architected sculptures are sure to rejuvenate your soul and make you feel close to the fascinating works of historical art.

How to Reach

Chitharal Caves, also known as Chidaral is located close to Kanyakumari (55km), Nagercoil (36km) and Marthandam (7km). The journey by road starts from Kandapuram and continues to Elanthavillas. Chitharal is ideally placed 4km to north east of Kuzhithurai.

The closest airport in terms of proximity is located in Thiruvanthapuram, almost 45 km away. Additionally, Chennai is well connected to all major Indian cities, airports and some international airports too.

The Marthandam railway station is at a gap of 10km.

You can easily get taxis from the NH47 route. You just have to reach Thiruvattar from Marthandam. From Thiruvattar, you reach Atoor to get to the Chitharal junction.

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