With no proper records in place, evidence from books suggest that forests became highly popular with scores of hermitages housing famous sadhus and sects. Historical interpretation now suggests that most of these ancient hermitages went on to become famous holy sites and are now thronged by thousands of people for pilgrimages.
One famous ancient story is of the sage Agastya who is said to have lived and meditated deep inside what is now the Neyyar Tiger Reserve near Trivandrum. An extremely difficult place to reach, there have been constant calls to open the site for devotees who may want to visit the temple of Sage Agastya. Or, take the case of the Shikarji temple at an altitude of 1,300 metres on the Parasnath Hill in Jharkhand which is considered to be one of the most auspicious sites for Jains who believe that 20 out of the 24 tirthankaras attained nirvana there. Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand, Amarnath Cave Temple in Jammu & Kashmir, Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib, Tungnath and Rudranath temples in Uttarahand, Pavagarh Mahakali Temple in Gujarat, Sabarimala in Kerala, and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh are some of the better managed religious sites which were located inside forests or in remote landscapes.
Yet, the tragedy is that the very reason for which temples came up in these remote locations has been compromised. Solitude, peace, and frugalness have been replaced by masses of devotees looking to visit these locations. And the early forested landscapes either disappear or reduce considerably. If these religious sites could talk, they would definitely curse human beings for destroying nature all around them.
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