Agastyatīrtha is a place of pilgrimage in the Paṇḍya region in South India.
- It is a place of pilgrimage lying close to the southern sea in South India. Arjuna, having set out on a pilgrimage for twelve years after violating the condition of the Pāṇḍava brothers’ spending nuptial turns with Draupadī, came to this place while visiting the holy places or tīrtha (tirtha) near the southern sea. It is said that five tīrtha, namely Agastyatīrtha, Saubhadratīrtha, Paulamatīrtha, Kārandhamatīrtha and Bharadvājatīrtha, had been abandoned by brāhmaṇas (Brahmins), sages and and all good men. Brāhmaṇas had told Arjuna that those five tīrtha had become haunts of five fearsome crocodiles, who pulled down into the water the pilgrim bathers. Even after hearing these words an exceptionally brave Arjuna went in for a dip at Soubhadratīrtha. As said to him by the sages, the crocodile came and caught hold of his ankle with his jaws. With the crocodile clinging to his ankle, Arjuna dragged it towards the shore and came out of the water with it. The crocodile instantly assumed the form of a beautiful woman. She said to Arjuna that as the result of pestering a brāhmaṇa, he had cursed and turned them into crocodiles, who had been haunting the waters of the five tīrtha since then. At the woman’s request, Arjuna rescued her other friends from the waters of the other four tīrtha and broke the curse, thus purifying the waters around these cursed places of pilgrimage. In our opinion, Agastyatīrtha had become inaccessible to the people because of various reasons. Arjuna brought back to life these about-to-be-obliviated places of pilgrimage. Agastyatīrtha is one of the important places of pilgrimage over here. [See Vargā]
- It is also possible that Agastyatīrtha, along with the other four nearby tīrtha, had come to be infested by terrifying marine creatures and had thus come to be avoided by pilgrims. It is perhaps for the same reason that these places came to be marked as evil places of pilgrimage (mandatīrtha).
- Scholars often identify the Agastyamalai Hills of the mountain range separating modern day Tamil Nadu and Kerala with Agastyatīrtha. Agastyamalai is the source of the river Tāmraparṇī (Tamraparni). The other name for Agastyamalai is Agastyakūṭa (Agastykuta). According to a different opinion, Agastyamalai is a part of the Kalīñjara Parvata (Kalinjara mountains).