PALANI MURUGAN TEMPLE
Lord Muruga is the deity of the Tamil Land. The temple at Palani is an ancient one, situated at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level. The deity of Palani Murugan is known as Dandayudhapani Swami, the Lord having the Staff in his Hand.
One also gets to see the “Patha Vinayakar” temple and the Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple enroute the hill top. There are two broad Praharams in the hill top temple. Idols of Vallabha Vinayakar, Subramanya Vinayakar, Nakkerar, Arunagirinathar can be seen in the second Praharam that houses the Nayakkar Mandapam. The Rajagopuram is composed of five tiers. Bypassing the Paravel Mandapam and Navaranga Mandapam, one can approach the sanctum sanctorium of Dhandayuthapani.
There is a sannidhi for Bhogar who was a saint who dedicated himself to Lord Muruga and contributed immensely. The Vimanan which roofs the Garba Graham is made of Gold and offers a stunning and spectacular sight to the devotees.
HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE
There is a legend how Lord Murugan came to this sacred spot. Narada Muni, a sage, brought a golden mango to the divine court of Lord Siva when Lord Siva was seated with his consort Parvati and His children Lord Vinayakar and Lord Subrahmanya. Narada gave the fruit to Lord Siva and implored Him to eat since it was a rare, miraculous Jñanapalam, the fruit of wisdom. As a loving husband, Lord Siva gave it to Parvati and requested her to eat. As a loving mother, she wanted to give the fruit to her children. As there was only one fruit and it should not be cut, they announced a contest and said that the winner would be given the fruit. Whoever completes one round of the globe first will be given the fruit.
Lord Subrahmanya mounted His peacock to go around the world. Lord Vinayakar circumambulated around His parents, symbolising the world, and got the fruit. On return, Lord Subrahmanya found that He was cheated. In anger, He renounced His family and came to this spot to settle forever. Lord Siva and Parvati came to pacify Him. They said, “Pazham Nee” (‘You are the Fruit’). Hence the name Palani is a popular syncopation of the two words mentioned.
Legend has it that Idumban, a disciple of Sage Agasthayar, while carrying two hillocks by the name Sivagiri and Sakthigiri, on his shoulders as Kavadi, wanted to rest for a while and placed these hillocks on the ground. Lord Muruga, mischievously immobilized these hillocks and Idumban could carry the Kavadi no further.
Following this as a tradition, the Muruga Bakthas carry Kavadis of milk, Sandalwood, Flowers etc.
Kings Contribution :
Scriptures show that Cheaman Perumal, a ruler of Kerala, built the main temple sometime in the 7th Century AD. Kings Jadavarman and Krishnadevaraya are known to have generously donated for the temple construction. The Nayakars and Nagarathar community rulers were greatly involved in the construction of certain parts of the temple. The other portions of the temple was constructed in the period of Cheran Kings during their rule of South Kongu Nadu. In the scriptures found in the sanctum sanctorium (Garbhagraham) dated 13th century it is known that Pandiyan Kings, Chola Kings also contributed greatly for the festivals of this temple and worshiped Lord Murugan.
Lord Murugan presides by the name of “Kulandai Velayuthaswamy” at the Thiru Avinanguidi temple located at the foot of the hills at Palani. Climbing a flight of steps leads to the Palani hill temple which is approximately at a height of 450 feet over the ground level. Palani Aandavar awaits majestically at the hill top temple to bless the thousands of Murugan devotees who come to worship him.
Lord Muruga Names :
The presiding deity, Lord Dandayudhapani Swami, is the son of Lord Siva and son-in-law of Vishnu. He has other names such as Kulandaivelan, Balasubrahmanyan, Shanmukhan, Devasenapati, Swaminathan, Vallimanalan, Devayanaimanalan, Palaniandavar, Kuriñjiandavar, Arumugan, Jñana Pandita, Saravanan, Sevar Kodiyon, etc.
Golden Chariot :
The Golden Chariot Festival (A very famous occasion in which golden image of the Lord goes around the temple in Gold Plated Chariot)
The Golden Chariot goes round the praharam on the top of the hill in a ceremonious procession along with nadaswaram, Tiruppukazh music and other temple paraphenalia at 7 pm on all Karttikai days and as per the request of the devotees. The illuminated Golden Car is a veritable fairyland.
Panguniuttiram, Thai Pucam, Kanda Sasthi, Agni Nakshatram are the major festivals. Vaikasi Vishakam, Tirukkarttikai and other festivals are also celebrated
DAILY WORSHIP :
Seven worship services are carried out each day here.
Viswaroopa darisanam :
The day commences with the Viswaroopa darisanam in the morning. The concluding worship service involves a procession of the deity in a golden palanquin in the temple and the palliyarai sevai.
Panguni Uttram :
Panguni Uttram is celebrated for 10 days as the annual Bhramotsavam. This festival is celebrated only at Tiruvavinankudi in the foothills to Muthukumarar the festival deity here.The There Thiruvizha is held on the last day of this festival. Offerings of Kaveri water brought from Kodumudi by thousands of devotees in kavadis are made to the deity.
Agni Nakshathram :
Agni Nakshathram is celebrated in the month of Chittirai and Vaikaasi.During this time, thousands of pilgrims circumambulate the hill.
Vaikaasi Visaakam :
Vaikaasi Visaakam is celebrated for 10 days.
Skanda sashti :
Skanda sashti is celebrated for 7 days. Soorasamharam is enacted on the last day of this festival in which both Chinna Kumarar the festival image of the hill temple and Muthukumaraswami of Thiruvavinankudu participate.
Kaartikai Deepam :
Kaartikai Deepam is celebrated for 10 days. In addition Kaartikai asterism in each month is celebrated with a procession of a golden chariot in the hill temple.
Thai poosam is celebrated for 10 days here in the month of Thai.
Palani Murugan Pujas :
There are six pujas every day. At 5 am the Lord gives Visvarupa Darshana. The first puja is Vizhapuja at 7:15 am followed by Kala sandhi at 8am, Uchikalam at 12 noon, Sayaraksha at 6 pm and Rakkalam at 8 pm.
Devotees also go round the Palani hill before the ascent and in the “Giri valam”- get to pray at any of the sixty-eight Vinayakar temples abutting the giri valam route. The Tamil months Chitrai and Vaikasi witness the maximum number of devotes performing the Giri Valam.
Tonsure ceremony is a special feature of Palani. Many devotees of all ages perform tonsure ceremony at Palani.
The Devasthanam has constructed pilgrims’ resthouses, single, double, deluxe and air-conditioned rooms as well as cottages. Reasonable rates are collected from the devotees.
Giving annadanam at the hill temple at 12:30 pm is a useful scheme for the benefit of the devotees. If a donor deposits Rs 25,000, the interest of it will be utilised for annadanam on a particular day as per the request of the donor
Palani Dandayudhapani Swami Devasthanam has the honour of being the temple of highest income in Tamil Nadu and second only in all India after Tirupati.
Palani can boast of a railway station – just 2 Kms away from the foot of the Palani Malai. The Palani railway station is mid way between Dindigul and Coimbatore.
Palani can be reached in about three to four hours journey from any of the nearest airports: Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy.
The nearest tourist information office is at Madurai. Information is also available from the office of the Devasthanam Information Centre at the Palani bus stand.
Two winch rope cars operated electrically come in as great relief to those ailing and aged, who may not be able to climb the traditional route of 697 steps.
Tamils, Keralites, Bengalis, Sri Lankans, Malaysians, Fijians, Africans, Australians and Americans to name a few come here to worship Lord Muruga. Thus, Murugan worship cuts across provincial boundaries and national frontiers.