Living in a suburb surrounded by 5 small hills-the Panjapandava hills(that how we named it when we were kids), it’s the only happiest thing at that point with no shops close by, no schools close by or parks. Somehow out of everything we slowly realised the worth of it as we grew up. I am so excited to talk about the most accessible hill which turns out to be our energy pill by its existence.
When we were kids, we used to have a fight while we go to school in the van, its basically a debate on whether we should call her- Pallavaram hill or Tirusulam hill. You can choose anything you want. I go with Tirusulam hill even though I used to take the side of Pallavaram Hill during those debates. Tirusulam hill is one of the tallest around Chennai and home to various local species of flora and fauna mostly deciduous. You can spot distinctive and colourful flowers, trees, shrubs, birds and reptiles and a lonely palm tree along the way when you take a walk. Apart from these, be ready to get awestruck by the view which I can interpret in 2 ways. First, you can see the way nature and human merge when you are a first-timer there. Second, you can see the way slowly humanity engulfing the extraordinary landscape by placing man-made boxes replacing trees, lakes and ponds.
This comparatively large hill is a perfect spot to recharge your mind, body and soul amongst the bustling life. Since we were kids, our days and nights passed while looking at her solemnly.
Previously, there were no restrictions at the same time there are no roads and no steps too. So, it’s like, you have to walk through the forest among the woods through beaten tracks.
Back then, in our street, all our parents used to take us to the hill often. It’s an expenseless picnic. We pack foods and snacks in the container and go to the hilltop where there used to be a huge banyan tree under which we all spent more time staring at the view in awe, playing and talking. I still remember how our dad took my brother and me so often, where we go and see the sunset and watch the flights taking off and landing. We search for all the places we knew out of the cluster of buildings from that height. Sometimes we leave when the darkness reveals the stars in the sky and the land. Our legs hurt while climbing the hill back then and it feels like its the tiresome thing to do in the world, somehow we have developed a sense of respect and love towards her.
The hill is quite famous, many can’t easily recognise it. It is a movie shooting hub. A lot of Tamil movie and television shows are taken there, like Shree, Bose, Vyabari, Gentlemen giving us a chance to see celebrities back then. You see, information reached us so faster than you expect. My brother and I got to see actor Manobala once, of course, we were so proud seeing celebrities.
The hill also has a combination of religious structures such as temple, mosques and churches resulting with festivities which happen now and then. In the past, there will be bustling shops set up at the top of the hill for Milad-i-Nabi. Little down, there is a Murugan Temple, so far Thaipusam and Panguni Uthram are when a large number of the local community celebrate it.
Slowly, as time went, there were many restrictions put forth for the security reasons of the Airport. Also, people started to misuse the place for the crime of their own. The Railway office and signal tower are at the hilltop, its employees are allowed without restrictions for a long time. So for years, most of us enjoy its beauty from our home and visit twice a year during festivals.
After a few years, again hill becomes well known among many athletes and sports club. During the weekends a large number of people started coming there for training, like runners, cyclists and skaters. As the steps were laid down on the way to the temple route, many people also started using the steps for their fitness. Old and middle-aged people also visit to meditate and relax during the early morning. My brother and I always take steps in the past as the road used to be chaotic. Also, I take only steps whenever I go alone for festivals which happens during summertime staring at people and families. Luckily, I often get to meet people who I haven’t encountered for years.
If you wanted to seek relaxation and peace, summer is not the right time. I don’t encourage people to go there like I already mentioned being a deciduous forest all the plants turn dry, it is like a desert. The festivals are fun you also get free food but make sure to carry more water as you will lose your energy faster. Take some rest(look before sitting) as some of you might need to catch some breath as it’s not like walking in the roadway and the gravity pulls you so hard. Whether you take steps or the road, the hot soaring summer heat feels like peeling your skin off. Even though I go wearing a cap to the temple, I come back home like a dry cucumber.
Apart from this, things are a little mess too. There is a problem with humans. They take everything for granted, whether its nature, animals and their fellow humans and their relationship. They don’t care ruining the beauty and set an ultimate example for others to throw litters and trash in the home of endless numbers of species residing there. There are also some thoughtless locals who just, you know, use it for unimaginable things (pooping&drinking) which is sad and disgusting.
So, I recommend you’ll to take the steps only during festivals(as the steps will be pretty clean). Or else on a pleasant day, when all you wanted is to recharge, but then ends up ruining your eyes and nose and hate the place for the rest of your life. We can’t expect everything to be perfect every time. So, while selecting the route, roads are the best option mostly.
Taking roads after summer will be the most beautiful experience. As the rainy season begins, the plants suit themselves in fresh leaves and shimmering flowers. As you go for a walk in the morning on the roads, with birds chirping and the chorus of insects such as grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and cicadas, welcomes you along the way.
You can enjoy this if you are with a gang who prefers to enjoy nature rather than yelling and screaming and ending up in trouble. Also, don’t freak out at pigs which bathed in the red sand, thinking its a warthog and runaway for your life, just like I did. There will be some snakes, pigs and goats around which definitely will be bothered by your presence.
Apart from everything, it is the best spot for your spiritual regeneration with pure oxygen for free. The view is massive, extraordinarily splendid when it is sunny than when it is cloudy. You can see the faded smoggy horizon, the water glistening in the ponds and lakes which are encroached by the colourful houses and multistory building. It will be enchanting and overwhelming with lots of details which looks like the hills are rising with so many frozen green waves around. Despite all, it would be really nice if you be patient and sit and enjoy the view.
You can’t stay a long time during the rainy season as the weather is unpredictable. It looks like sunny and then suddenly it starts to rain out of nowhere without giving you any signs. So again take some water and umbrella at some points also be aware that the network is not accessible. Also try to avoid visiting during the foggy season, because the entire hill will be completely unfindable amidst the fogs.
We all always wanted to go to a place where we can have fun and enjoy the moment. There are also times when we wanted a place where we can go to relax, think alone and declutter the burden of our hurry burry lifestyle. Taking a walk in a place like this and taking a view from a tall place like this is the best way to retrace your spiritual connection and get back your balance.
Grab a bag, wear a durable shoe, take some water and wander through the roads and immerse in the views. It is also appreciable if you try to be a responsible traveller who doesn’t litter the precious nature with your snacks cover. Leave all your worries here but take all your trash back without littering.
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Location: Pallavaram Hill, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.