श्रीराम जय राम जय जय राम, শ্ৰীৰাংজয়ৰাংজয়জয়ৰাং, শ্রীরাম জয় রাম জয় জয় রাম , શ્રીરામ જય રામ જયજય રામ, ಶ್ರೀರಾಮಜಯರಾಮಜಯಜಯರಾಮ, ശ്രിറാം ജയ് റാം ജയ്‌ ജയ് റാം, శ్రీరాంజయరాంజయజయరాం

Shri Murugan Temples – Tamilnadu

Skanda – also known as Murugan, Kartikeya, Subramanya

Is one of the most revered deities in the southern state of Tamilnadu. The 6 most temples dedicated to Skanda important ones are the Aaru Padai Veedu shrines, where it is believed that Skanda the commander of the Gods, sojourned during his battle with the demon Soorapadman. These shrines have been revered in 2000-year-old Tamil poetry of the Sangam age.

Tirupparamkunram

Tiruppaamkunram TN

Near Madurai enshrines Subramanya celebrating his marriage with Devasena the daughter of Indra. The shrine to Shiva here has been revered by the Tevaram hymns of the Nayanmars.

Significance: Tirupparamkunram is hailed as one of the 6 padai veedu shrines of Murugan and is visited by thousands throughout the year.

Deities: Tirupparamkunram enshrines Murugan as the leader of the armies of the Gods, and as the Lord of Devasena, the daughter of Indra, the King of the Gods.

Architecture: Tiruppamkunram features rock cut shrines as well as mandapams lined with elaborately carved pillars.Tirupparamkunram – a Tevara Paadal Petra Stalam. The shrine to Paramgirinathar in this Murugan temple has been revered by the hymns of the Nayanmars of the 1st millennium CE.

Festivals: The entire city of Madurai wears a festive look as Vishnu and Skanda from Tirupparamkunram make their way to Madurai to attend the Divine marriage between Shiva and Meenakshi.

 Tiruchendur

Tiruchendur TN

Tiruchendur is one of the six Aarupadai veedu shrines of Murugan, enshrining Senthilandavar. It has been venerated by the Tamil Sangam Period work Tirumurugatruppadai and by 83 Tiruppugazh hymns of Arunagirinathar. It is one of the most visited shrines in Tamilnadu, and is located on the seashore in the southern part of the state near Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari.

Situated on the route between Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur are 9 of the 108 Divya Desam Temples of Vishnu, collectively known as Aalwar Nava Tiruppatikal, the first of which is Sree Vaikuntham and the 9th, Aalwar Tirunagari. There are several literary works singing the glory of Tiruchendur. The Sangam works Puranaanooru and Akanaanooru speak of Tiruchendur as Senthil and Alaivaai respectively. Illango Adigal refers to Tiruchendur, Tiruchengode and Swamimalai as abodes of Skanda in his work Silappadikaaram. While the other five padaiveedu shrines are situated on hills, this is situated on the seashore, bounded on the north and the east by the sea. Legend has it that Skanda vanquished the demon Soorapadman and his army, in his fortress Veeramahendram situated in the middle of the ocean here.

Legend : Although the shrine is of ancient origin, much of the structure here is from the 19th through the 20th centuries. Inscriptions from the 9th century Pandya rulers are seen in the temple.

It is believed that this shrine was originally rock cut structure, cut out of a local hill, and later renovated with granite. The temple is an imposing structure with a nine tiered gopuram (137 feet in heicht)adorning its entrance, visible for miles around. In front of the temple is the Shanmukha Vilaasa mandapam with several carved pillars. The main entrance to the temple faces south although the sanctum faces the east. The temple has two prakarams. The sanctum to Subramanyar (moolavar) is located within the innermost mandapam. Adjacent to the sanctum is the Panchalingam shrine in a cave like structure, where it is believed that Subramanyar worships Shiva. Adjacent to Subramanyar’s sanctum is the Senthilaandavar sanctum housing the processional images of Subramanyar with his consorts. Also in the innermost prakaram facing south is the Aarumugaswamy shrine facing south. Also in the inner prakaram are images of the 63 nayanmars, and shrines to Natarajar, Karaikkal Ammaiyaarand others.

 Outside of the enclosure described above, in the inner prakaram are shrines to Valli and Devasena also facing east. The outermost prakaram is lined with pillared corridors, and it houses shrines to Dakshinamurthi, Mukkunni Vinayakar and Arunagirinathar. On the northern side of the outermost prakaram is a shrine to Venkatachalapati (also known as Nellai Govindan), along with sub shrines to Gajalakshmi, Pallikonda Ranganathar with his consorts.

 The Skanda Pushkarini or the Naazhi Kinaru is a step well is believed to have sprung up when Skanda’s spear pierced the ground. It has an outer and a smaller inner well. The water in the outer well is brackish while the water in the inner one is fresh and clear.

Festival :Â Kumara Tantram is the worship protocol observed here. Eight worship services are offered each day to Subramanyar. Special worship services are offered to Shanmukhar on the Vishakam asterism each month, and on Chittirai Vishu and Aippasi Vishu.

 The last friday of each month witnesses a procession of Senthilandavar and his consorts in the outer prakaram.There are 2 annual Bhrammotsavams here celebrated for 12 days each in the months of Maasi and Aavani. On the seventh and eighth days of both of these festivals, Shanmukhar is housed in the Shanmukha Vilaasa mandapam before and after the processions. The chariot festival happens on the 10th day and the float festival on the 11th.

 Also celebrated here is the annual Skanda Sashti festival in the tamil month of Aippasi where Soora Samhaaram is enacted in all its splendour on the seashore, following which Skanda’s marriage with Devasena is enacted.. The Vishaakam festival is celebrated for 12 days in the month of Vaikaasi.

Arulmigu Dandayudhapani Swami Devasthanam- Palani

The Legend or Sthala Purana of Palani

-Palani-1- small

How Kavadi tradition began

Sage Agastya wanted to take two hills—Sivagiri and Sakthigiri—to his abode in the South and commissioned his disciple Idumban to carry them. Idumban bore the hills slung across his shoulders, in the form of a kavadi one on either side. When he was fatigued, he placed the kavadinear Palani to take rest.

palani2At this stage, Subrahmanya or Muruga had been outwitted in a Bhagavan Shri Murugan (Shri Kartikeya) temple, Palani, Dindagal, Tamilnadu- smallcontest for going round the world. Ganapati had won the prized fruit (pomegranate or mango) by simply going round His parents. Long after, this, Subrahmanya came sweating on His peacock to find that the prize had already been given away. In anger, the frustrated child left the divine parents and came down to Tiru Avinankudi at the Adivaram (pronounced Adivaram. It means foot of the Sivagiri Hill). Siva pacified Him by saying that He (Subrahmanya) Himself was the fruit (pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge; nee —you. Hence the place was called ‘Pazham Nee’or Palani. Later, He withdrew to the hill and settled there as a recluse in peace and solitude.

When Idumban resumed his journey, he could not lift the hill. Muruga had made it impossible for Idumban to make it. In the fierce battle that ensued, Idumban was killed but was later on restored to life. Idumban prayed that:

  1. whosoever carried on his shoulders the Kavadi, signifying the two hills and visited the temple on a vow, should be blessed and
  2. he should be given the privilege of standing sentinel at the entrance to the hill.

Hence we have the Idumban shrine halfway up the hill where every pilgrim is expected to offer obeisance to Idumban before entering the temple of Dandayudhapani. Since then, pilgrims to Palani bring their offerings on their shoulders in a kavadi.The custom has spread from Palani to all Muruga shrines worldwide.

Other Information-

  1. Palani is in the state of Tamilnadu and is in the district of Dindgal. It is around 57 km from Dindgal, 105 km from Madurai and around 400 km from Chennai. Madurai well connected by railway route to both Chennai as well as Bangalore (via Dindgal) and by air to Chennai.
  2. Approximately 1 Crore devotees come for darshan here every year from Tamilnadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
  3. The Vigrah is made up of  Nav Pashan (herbal) and is bound by special rasayan ( herbal Chemicals). The abhishekam Tirtha is said to be of special significance due to its medicinal values.
  4. Lacs of devotees do padyatra in the month of January to the shrine.

Swamimalai

TN-Swamimalai

Swamimalai is one of the 6 padai veedu shrines of Skanda where he sojourned during his battle against the demon Soorapadman. It has been praised in Tirumurugaatruppadai of the tamil sangam period and by the Tiruppugazh hymns of Arunagirinathar. Swamimalai is located in the vicinity of the temple town of Kumbhakonam. Very closeby is the grand temple of Tiruvalanchuzhi. This temple is associated with the legend of Skanda having re-initiated his father Shiva, with the concept of the oneness of creation of Omkaram.

This temple is built at an elevation, on an artificially constructed mountain, reached through a flight of steps. Although the shrine is of ancient origin, much of the structure seen now is of the 20th century.The outermost prakaram of this temple is at the ground level. The second one is half way up the stairs, and the innermost prakaram is around the Swaminathan shrine.

At the lower level are shrines to Meenakshi and Sundareswarar (said to have been built by the Pandya ruler Varaguna Pandyan of Madurai who is also associated with the Mahalingaswamy temple at Tiruvidaimarudur) and the prakaram where the golden chariot is taken in procession on special occasions.

The Netra Vinayakar shrine is located adjacent to the flagstaff. The southern entrance of the temple has a 5 tiered rajagopuram. A flight of 60 steps representing the cycle of 60 years in the Tamil (Indian) system of beliefs leads to the Swaminathan shrine in the upper level. Facing the sanctum is an elephant and not a peacock.

Subramaniar is enshrined with Valli alone in the shrine in the inner prakaram and he is known as Senapati. Also in the southern precincts of the inner prakaram is Subramanyar enshrined as Sabapathi again with Devasena, with his arms stretched as seen in Nataraja images. Also enshrined is Shammukhar with his consorts Valli and Devasena. There are also shrines to Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi, Veerabaagu, Arunagirinathar, Surya, Chandra, Idumban, and Dhandayutapani here.

 The sthala ‘Vriksham’ is the Nellimaram and this tree is said to be a manifestation of Bhudevi. The theerthams here are Vajra theertham, Saravana Theerhtam, Netra Pushkarini and Kumaratturai (Kaveri). Legend has it that a blind devotee was blessed with eyesight after a dip in the Netra Theertham as he arrived at the Netra Vinayakar shrine.

Festivals: Six worship services are carried out each day. The Kartikai asterism each month attracts large crowds. Skanda Sashti lasting for 6 days is one of the most important festivals celebrated here

Tiruttani

TN Tiruttani

Tiruttani is one of the 6 padai veedu shrines of Skanda, and it represents the site where Subramanyar stayed after destroying the demon Surapadman. It has been revered by the Tiruppugazh hymns of Arunagirinathar, Tirumurugatruppadai of the Sangam period, Tanikai puranam by Kachiappa munivar. Ramalinga Adigalaar is also associated with this shrine.

History: This temple has been mentioned in the Sangam period work Tirumurugaatruppadai composed by Nakkeerar. The Vijayanagar rulers and local chieftains and zamindars have patronized it.To reach the hill temple there is motorable road, and through a flight of 365 steps. It has 4 prakarams and a series of towers. There is a shrine to Aabat Sahaaya Vinayakar who is said to have come to the aid of Skanda in winning Valli’s hand in marriage.

Legend :Legend has it that Subramanyar married Valli from the nearby Vallimalai hills. The same legend is associated with Velimalai in Kanyakumari district. Indra the king of the Gods gave his daughter Deivayanai in marriage to Skanda, and presented his elephant Airavatam as part of his offering. Upon Airavatam’s departure Indra found his wealth waning. Subramanyar is said to have offered to return the white elephant, however Indra bound by protocol refused to accept a gift that he had made, and insisted that that the elephant face his direction, hence the image of the elephant in this temple also faces the east.

It is believed that  Skanda imparted knowledge of Tamil to the sage Agasthyar and he is regarded as Veeramurthy, Gnanamurthy and Acharyamurthy in this shrine.

 The processional image of Skanda is housed in a Rudraksha vimanam with his consorts. The shadkona padakkam or the hexagonal medallion is adorning the image of Skanda is decorated with green stones and is of great beauty. Also of significance, here is a golden vilva garland.

 Festivals: Four worship services are offered each day here. The float festival is celebrated in the month of Aadi, Bhramotsavam in the month of Maasi, during which Valli Kalyanam is celebrated on the 8th day, and the Skanda Sashti is celebrated in the tamil month of Aippasi. The gold and silver peacock vaahanams are of great beauty here.

Pazhamudir Solai

 This is one of the six of the holiest of Murugan shrines referred to as the Aarupadai Veedugal.

Unlike the other five temples, there is no grand edifice surrounding the central shrine of worship. However, this is a holy shrine venerated by the Skanda puranam and by Nakkeerar’s Thirumurugatrupadai of the Sangam period. Arunagirinathar’s Thirupugazh also reveres this shrine.

This shrine is located on a hill adjacent to the Kallazhagar Temple in the outskirts of Madurai, a fortified temple complex, revered as one of the 108 abodes of Vishnu glorified by the hymns of the Alwars.