Viralimalai is one the bus route between Madurai and Tiruchy. Viralimalai is 25 kilometers from Tiruchy and 40 kilometers northwest of Pudukottai. From Alankudi Viralimalai is 371/2 Kilometers. Viralimalai temple is on top of a big rock and can be seen from a far off distance. Viralimalai Temple is the heart of the town of Viralimalai. Hence the town takes the name of the hill.
When the temple and its allied properties were acquired by Vadi Lakkaiya Naicker, the temple was further renovated and built by their successors and the decendants of Marungapuriyar. In the 18th century the temple was under the control of Pudukottai Thondaiman. In the 18th and the 19th century during the Karnataka war Viralimalai Tiruchirapalli was a military area. The tourist bungalow here was built in 1822 for the army chiefs to halt and rest. The Palayamkarars used to offer cigar to the Lord.
The hill is small and rocky. From the foot of the hill a beautiful flight of steps take us to the top. These footsteps are engraved on the rock and are 207 in number. In between there are beautiful mandapams for devotees to rest. There are thick woodly orchards on the hill and peacock abound in these orchards. Great saints and yogis were believed to have been in the form of “Kura” trees and worshipped Lord Muruga and hence the name Viralimalai derived from the Tamil word “Viravi”.
We find the statue of Kasiappa Munivar and Naradar in the hill temple along with the Sculpture of Arundadhi and Vashishtar. We also find the sculpture of Aarumugam and Arunagirinather on the pillars found on the way to the temple. The temple is located on top of the hill and can be seen from a far off distance. A beautiful flight of steps along with mandapams for devotees to rest, take us to the top of the hill. At the foot of the hills the water tank called Saravana Poigai is located on the southern side. On the eastern side there side there is a shrine for the goddess ‘Maikannudaiyal’. It is customary to worship this goddess before climbing up the hill.
On the way to the hill top we find the Idumban Sannidhi, a small cave shrine for Meenakshi Sundreshwarar and a Mandapam called Sandana Kottam at the end of flight of the steps. Adjacent to the Sandana Kottam Mandapam we find the Navarathiri and Shanmuga Moorthi Mandapam.
Next to the Navarathiri Mandapam we find the south facing Raja Gopuram. In the Shanmuga Moorthy Mandapam of this temple with a single prahara the utsavamoorthy gives darshan along with devas.
In the western part of the prahara we find the shrines of Vinayagar, Dhakshina Moorthy, Agathiyar and Arunagirinather and in the northern side we find the shrine of Chandikeshwarar and Bairavar.
The shrine for Navagraha is located on the way to the Maha Mandapam in front of the sanctum sanctorum. In the Maha Mandapam Natarajar, Sivagaml, Manicka Vinayagar and Srinivasa Perumal with consort await to bless the Devotees. On the outer walls of the garbagraha we find inscriptions. Inside the sanctum santorum Lord Muruga is enshrined in order to bless the devotees.
The vision of the Lord inside the garbagraha is soul stirring. The Lord is in the form of Arumugan, six faced and with 12 hands seated elegantly on the peacock facing east. The divine consorts Sri Valli and Sri Deivannai stand on either side. As the Sivachariyar offers camphor the devotees can see the three faces at the back in the mirror while the other three can be viewed directly.
This temple is especially known for the peacocks that are found in plenty. Cigar is a unique offered to Lord Dandayuthapani during Arthajama pooja in Palani. During the reign of Ramachandra Thondaiman of PuduKottai the Lord is believed to have appeared in his dream and requested the offering of cigars for the Kalasandhi and Sayaratchai pooja. The king is said to have been cured of his diseases after the offer of cigars to the Lord according to history. We also find a number of caves in whish the saints and yogis were in penance. This is a place where the Lord blesses devotees with the power to control the indriyas or senses. Naradar and Kasiyappar had offerad prayer to Lord Subramanya for getting their sins propitiated. The dumb Sivachariyar got his speech after offering poojas to Lord Muruga. These and many more are the specialties of this temple.
The Sthala Vriksham in this temple is “Kasi Vilvam”.
Sages and saints were in the form of “Kuru” trees and worshipped the Lord of Viralimalai. Hence this place was called Viravi Malai which later became Viralimalai. The poet saint Arunagirinather has mentioned in his songs about saints staying and worshipping Lord Muruga in this hill temple.
Saint Vashishtar’s wife Arundati forgot to feed Lord Muruga when he was born at Saravana Poigai. Due to this she was cursed by her husband. In turn Vashishtar was cursed by Lord Muruga for the ill fact he brought on his wife Arundati prayed here in Viralimala to ward off their curse.
Saints like Kasiappa Munivar and Naradar are believed to have offered their prayer here in Viralimalai to ward off their curse.
The representative of the Palayamkarar Karupamuthu pillai used to visit the temple every Friday. During one such visit, due to heavy rains there Mamundi was also flooded and Karupamuthu pillai was cut off from the mainland.He neither had food to eat nor cigars to smoke and was in great misery as he was a chain smoker. Lord Muruga appeared before him, cigar and matchstick and also took him to the temple for Darshan. From that day cigan is offered to Lord Muruga along with Neiveidhyam and given away as Prasadham to devotees.
On the southern part of the foot hill Saravana Poigai, the Sthala Theertham is located. It is also called Naga Theertham
Method of Worship
Daily poojas are performed six times a day as per Kamika Agamam.
Festivals and Poojas
Thaipoosam, Panguni Utthiram, Kanda Shasti Adikrithigai are the main festivals as in other Murugan Temples.
On the outside wall of the sanctum sanctorum, we find few inscriptions. There are certain information on the history of the temple.
In Triuchy and Viralimalai there are many private boarding and lodging houses and food facilities are also available.
Shri Shanmuganathan Temple Devasthanam
Tiruchirapalli – 621 316
Nearby Tourist Spots
• Madurai Arulmigu Meenakshi Temple
• Arulmigu Thiruparankundram Temple
• Tiruchy Rock Fort Temple
• Arulmigu Samayapuram Mariamman Temple
• Tirukarkudi-Uyyakondan Hill