While during my last trip to the Shevaroy Hills, it was a soul-seeking drive to discover the inner stillness. And there was a craving to stay at the centre of this acclaimed stillness, and I wanted to go to a place nearby to continue the search of my wandering soul and read about Kanchanagiri hills near Ranipet, which is 1500 feet in altitude. It is a 125 Km drive from Chennai towards Vellore. The Thar was filled with fuel, and I left home at 5.00 am. I stopped at Anna Nagar arch to have a cup of fresh coffee. It improved my driving performance as I have noticed that both the lane-keeping ( Standard Deviation of Lateral Position ) and speed maintenance are managed well for two hours since the consumption.

The plan is to drive to Poonamalle and pass through Sriperumbadur, and it is a 37 minutes drive to reach Kanchanagiri hills from Walajapet. It was an exciting start, and as I came to the district road 555, small villages like Ammoor and Kalpudhur took me back in memory lane, recalling my childhood vacations to Arumugneri near Thiruchendur. Tiny houses like cabins on the sloppy hills and the narrow roads with some cooking and a few washing clothes while others bringing water from the nearest tap to their home. I saw tiny kids freely playing in the morning. It looks like this community is not bothered by the pandemic as they were taking natural therapy of adding vitamin D from the morning sun, and performing their daily chores was a super cool sight.

I was happy to witness this natural backdrop and noticed the stillness around me without rush or hush. Glad that I was at the right place to continue my search, and tar topped roads were looking fresh and new. The uphill drive was bliss as I navigated seven hairpin bends easily as no vehicles were coming down, and it was only 8 am. I climbed higher, and the houses at the foothill became smaller and smaller before I reached the top. Parked the Thar at the entrance of the Kanchangiri Devasthanam campus and met a few locals at the hilltop who were on their daily 45 minutes walking. It was a surprise for them about my solo drive to visit this hidden gem, understood from them that there are 1008 lingams on the hill. There is a unique rock called the Manipaarai, which sounds like a bronze bell when tapped. 

I said bye to them, changed my footwear to trek the hill, and started to appreciate the appearance of the 60-acre rocky landscape filled with grass and palm trees. As I walked further, I noticed a white pillar at the top and wanted to reach the top to check what was around. The path was pebbly and rough. I found it adventurous with the chill, strong breeze becoming a little wild with the woosh sound. I felt alone and the perfect spot to reflect and measure the depth of the stillness. 

As I reached the top, it was a magnificent 360-degree grand view, a range of mountains far away and little villages immediately down the hill and with few water bodies to my left side as well my right side. The wind challenged me to stand firm this time, and I sat down to register the scene and stored it in my million gigabytes brain storage system.

Not many know about this unknown hill, and visiting this gorgeous hidden hill near Chennai will be a treat. I spent an hour sitting at the top and wondering the purpose of these secret places turned into sacred sites. Maybe it is true that people who lived here many years back would have seen the silent soundless peace in front of them, unlike in today’s format of life, it is complicated to experience this deathly quiet tranquillity. With my soul-filled, I decided to walk down towards my Thar. I took another path to enjoy a different view of serenity, saw the small and big stones glowing in the sun, wanted to bring back some souvenir of these radiant minerals but decided not to. Left nature untouched to become bold and beautiful as more travellers like me visit this humble, sedated mystic veiled hillock. I will come back again during the rainy season as the scene will be incredibly stunning and help me regain inner stillness. Drove to a Lala Pettai and decided to have breakfast at hotel Satish. I ordered two idlis and vada. I was not surprised by the food taste as I was always confident of these tiny food holes, which serve divine, delightful unique morning meals with heavenly sambar and chutney.

Kanchanagiri hill is about 2 km from Lala Pettai, 10 km from Ranipet, 32 km from Sholingar, 28 km from Vellore and 124 km from Chennai.