Marudhamalai Hills Arulmigu Subramanyaswamy Temple is situated at a height of about 500 feet in a plateau on the Western Ghats, fifteen Kilometers northwest of Coimbatore, amidst lush vegetation and Salubrious climate.
Marudhamalai Hills, dedicated to Lord Murugan (Dandayudhapani) is classified under kunruthoradal, one of the six main abodes of the God. Set against the backdrop of hazy blue hills dotted with shrubs and bushes of varied hues, the sacred shrine verily reflects the picture of Lord Muruga, magnificently mounted on his vehicle peacock, flaunting and Swaying its feathers and plume in full bloom.
The Sanskrit word Achalam denotes mountain. As the mountain here abounded in marudham trees, it came to be known as marudhachalam. Marudhamalai is also called marundhumalai, for it is overgrown with shrubs and bushes of medicinal properties. Hence, marudhamalai is befittingly given the name marundhumalai(mountain of medicines). This is referred to as Marudhamalvarai, Marudhavarai, Marudha verpu,Marudha Kundru, Marudhavongal, Kamarpirangu, Marudhachalam,Velvarai in Perur Puranam.
The hoary past of the temple can be traced in such ancient works as Sage Kachiappar’s Perur Puranam. the origin of the temple is rooted in legendary antiquity and dates back to the age of Surapadman, the demon destroyed by Lord Subramanya referred to in Skandapuranam. The inscriptions found in Thirumuruganathaswari Temple, Thirumuruganpoondi placed the origin of the temple in the 12th century A.D. Kongu Nadu was divided into 24 regions in the early days. It is learnt that one such Arai Nadu in the west has its boundary in the Marudhamalai Hills. Perur Puranam and the insciptions at Thirumuruganpoondi speak of Marudhamalai as the very manifestation of LordMuruga Himself and the maeudham tree as the symbolic representation of his spear (vel). Marudhamalai is celebrated by saint Arunagirinathar in his celestial songs.
Moolavar At length, we reach the top where Lord Subramanya reigns supreme in all His radiance, exuding grace and charm! The idol made of granite is about five feet in height, facing the east with the right hand holding the Dandayudham(rod), the left hand placed on the hip and a spear (vel) placed across. The image bears a close resemblance to the Deity at palani. The status at the sanctum sanctorum, divested of all its adornments, loined with a slender cloth brings to our mind the ‘Andi Kolam’, the aspect of a mendicant assumed by the Lord in palani. What distinguishes Marudhamalai Andavar from Palaniandavar is the sporting of a turban on the head with a tuft behind. The beauty of the deity defies all description and is more a thing to be experienced than expressed! Sage Kachiyappar says even tens of thousands of Maras (love gods) cannot match Lord Muruga of Marudhamalai in his magnificence! The word marudhachalapathy means Master of the Hills, which abound in Marudham trees. The Lord assumed the appellation after the association of the words, Marudham, Achalam and pathy, representing the marudham tree, the Hills and the Master respectively.
Standing at the foot of the hill, as we gaze towards the north, in the distant hills, we discern three stones in diverse colours, which are the petrified from of three thieves cursed by Lord Muruga for their sinful act of plundering the treasures belonging to the temple. Just below the stone forms, there is a flat stone which, it is said, is but the jewel box stolen by the thieves. It is said that Lord Muruga came in the guise of cavalier, chased and punished them.
The Shrine of Idumba:
The Shrine of Idumba is located almost in the middle of the path of the steps. The image of the deity is carved on a huge round rock in the posture of carrying a kaavadi. Married couples having no issues worship the deity and offer toy cradles with the firm faith of being blessed with progeny by the grace of God.
Continuing our ascent, we find a beautiful mandapam, enshrining what is called ‘Kudirai Kulambu’(hoof marks of the houre). It is believed that the horse of Lord Muruga caused the marks, as he marched against the demon Surapadman. Or it may be the horse on which Lord Muruga rode and chased the robbers referred to earlier and might have been imprinted by them.
The presiding deity, it is said, is a later installation. The original deity of Lord subramanya with his two consorts, Valli and Deivannai, is enshrined nearby to the south in the outer Prakara. They are the very Deities referred to in the perur puranam. It is here that the gods persecuted by Surapadaman approached Lord Subramanya and implored Him to destroy the demon. The deities are all of spontaneous origin(Svayambhu).
The Main shrine:
The shrine is not a big one. The sanctum sanctorum and the Ardha Mandapam are comparatively small. The front mandapam is wide enough to accommodate a fairly large number of devotees. Sivalingam flanks the presiding deity on the left and Ambigai on the right in the outer prakara.
Pambatti Siddhar Cave:
Siddhas are mystic philosophers, who exercise their mental faculties to the utmost and attain Godhead by means of meditation and reflection. They are endowed with incredible powers of the mind by which they perform great miracles and astound the common world. Siddhas can set at rest all their senses and awaken their spirit alone. Thus they blessed mood they enter into a personal communion with God.
As this siddha used to animate dead snakes and dance with him, he was popularly known as Pambatti Siddhar. Once he transmigrated into the dead body of a king and performed great miracles. He composed songs of enlightenment. ‘Siddharudam’ is a work attributed to this prophetic genius. Lord Muruga took joy in teasing and tantalizing the siddha with his spiritual pranks. Once as an enormous boulder came down rolling and gaining momentum, the siddha tried to halt it, arrested its movement and averted a great havoc.
The Pambatti Siddhar cave is another shrine drawing our attention. It is located on the slopes towards the east and can be approached by a narrow path, protected by a stone hedge or parapet. Pambatti Siddhar used this cave as his abode for meditation on Lord Muruga and attained salvation here. One can notice a natural image of a snake on the rock.
Of the eighteen noted siddhas with such attributes, one was Pambatti siddhar greatly revered in the Kongu Region. He is Credited with having lived in the company of snakes and made them dance to his tunes. He himself was delighted to dance with them, once, in the course of his wanderings, he chanced to meet one, Satti muni Siddhar, a contemporary and counterpart who initiated him in to the art of entering into trances- the Jeeva Samadhi Nilai.
A snake comes to the cave everyday and feeds itself on the fruit and milk kept for it. There is an underground passage from the cave to the primal shrine through which Pambatti Siddhar wended his way everyday to worship Lord Subramanya in the company of his consorts.
There is a cluster of trees closely interwinding with one another. Under this is installed an Idol of Lord Ganesha. Daily poojas are performed to this deity also. The breeze wafting along the foliage is an unfailing cure for all diseases of the people. A host of saints, invisible to the common man’s eyes, are supposed to dwell here doing meditation. An aged Irula tribesman, who was 75 years old identified the entangled trees as korakattai, ichi, Banyan, Vakkanai and Ottu maramand added that there was one tree in the group, Pepal in the days of yore, but that it is gone now. The tribesman also said that this tree existed in the same manner even during his childhood. This is a unique phenomenon attracting not only devotees but also botanists.
Two Kilometers north of the main shrine is situated ‘UchipillayarKoil’ gracing the devotees. The idol has been recently installed. On every ‘chathurthi’ the deity is bedewed, anointed and adorned as devotees throng the temple in great numbers to worship on that day.
Footpath Leading to the Temple:
Right from the foothills to the temple on top we find Elegantly built Mandapams erected for devotees to takes rest. These are a boon to the sevarthees who frequent the temples.
These are springs of holy water with the names Marudha Theertham and Skanda Theertham. A dip into these springs brings forth health and wealth to devotees.
The marudham tree is the sthala vriksham (sacred tree of the shrine).
Several amenities and facilities have been provides for the benefit of the devotees to worship the deity. A good motorable road has been laid up to the hilltop by the Devasthanam. This is by all means a great boon to the physically handicapped who cannot climb the steps. There are mini buses run by the Devasthanam, plying to and fro in Quick succession at a very nominal change for the benefit of theDevotees. The Ghat Road is also electrified.
At dusk, it is a varietable feast to the eye to stand far away from the hills and gaze at the illumination spiraling like stars strung together in the sky.
On the hilltop there is a wedding hall for celebrating marriage and at the foothill, there is a resthouse, called Marudham which has twelve rooms provides with excellent amenities for stay and worship.
Method of Worship
Daily poojas are performed according to Kamika Agamam.
Festivals & Poojas
There are several festivals celebrated glorifying Lord Marudhachalapathy like Krithigai, Adi Pathinettu, Padivizha, Tamil New year’s Day, English New year’s Day, Karthigai Deepam, Thaipoosam- Brahmothsavam, Panguni Utthiram etc. The Thaipoosam car festival, most splendid and spectacular, attracting a large number of devotees.
Daily Poojas and Archanas
Daily Poojas and Archanas are performed for the presiding deity. There are schemes enabling the devotees to perform abhisekam and archana for the deity everyday. An endowment investment of Rs.3000/- under ‘Nithya Pooja Kattalai’ will facilitate a devotee to perform abhisekam and archana in his or her name on a day specified. An offering of Rs.50/- to the temple will fetch the prasadam of the deity of the archana performed in the devotee’s name on krithigai for one full year. Prasadam is sent to the devotee concerned by post. Mention may be made here that several devotees from abroad have joined these schemes and are blessed by Lord Muruga.
Temple Pooja Times
Viswaroopa Darsanam 6.00 A.M.
Kalasandhi 9.00 A.M.
Uchikkalam 12.00 Noon
Thirukoil kappiduthal 1.00 to 2.00 P.M
Sayaratchai 5.00 P.M.
Ardha Jaman 8.30 P.M.
The offering of Thirukappu may change on certain occasions and festive days.
Deputy Commissioner / Executive officer
Subramanya Swamy Thirukoil
Coimbatore 641 046.
Perur puranam lists the three neighboring hills, Vellingiri, Nili and Marudhamalai as the manifestations of Lord siva, Parvathi and subramanya respectively and the three hills taken together as the very symbol of Somaskanda.
A siddha, overcome by tiredness and thirst, sought shelter under the shade of a marudham tree and prayed for the mercy of Lord Muruga for a shower of water, which sprang at once, as though by a miracle from the tree.
As water gushed out from the roots of the marudham tree, the siddha jumped in joy, glorifying Muruga as the Lord of marudham and jalam (water). With the passage of time, Marudhajalapathi became Marudhachalapathi.
According to Perur Puranam, Surapadman, the scourge of the gods aided by his mighty brothers, Singamukha and Tharaka arrayed against them and struck terror in their already agitated minds by his sudden changes and surprising depredations. Unable to bear the agony and anguish, the gods approached Lord Siva and sought His Succour.
Lord siva comforted the gods that Lord Muruga would come to their rescue, root out and destroy Surapadman and his retinue enmasse. The gods hasten to the Marudhamalai Hills to await the advent of Lord Muruga, their saviour! Perur Puranam also alludes to a king called kusathvajan, who it is said, was blessed with a male issue, only after worshipping Marudhamalai Murugan.
The names like Marudhachalam, Marudham have been in existence even in the 12th century. Evidence of this information is found on the inscriptions in the temples of Avinashi and ThirumuruganPoondi. Many inscriptions especially No:249 and No:573 of 893 found on the walls of the Garbagraha of ThiruMuruganpoondi, Sri Muruganathar temple explain incidences where these names are mentioned.
Nearby Tourist Spots