Murugan Temple Palani

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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We left Madurai about 2 pm, stopped by at the Ramakrishna Mission School near Madurai before reaching Palani about 8 pm. There are many hotels where can stay. Get a decent double room for about 600-1000/. Temple is on top of a hill, early morning view. Temple name is Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple.

We went during Thai Poosam in 2016. Devotees walk kms even in the dark to reach here. The Government had made a paved walkway. Enough places enroute for devotees to eat and sleep.

Devotees dance along the way. We took pics of devotees on way back. "The idol of Muruga in Palani is chiselled out of Navapashana. Devotees wh partake of the oblations performed over such deities get immense benefit. It was Bogar, one of the 18 Siddars installed this medicinal image with the help of his disciple Pulipani. It is said that Palani is the Samadhi Stahala of the sage Bogar, who was instrumental in forming the idol".

We reached at about 6 am. Starting point there is a Ganesha Mandir where devotees offer pranams before the short climb up. According to tradition "In Mount Kailash, Paramasiva offered a fruit to one who circumambulate the world first, the contestants being Ganesha and Muruga. Ganesha walked round his parents once, proclaiming Siva constituted the entire wisdom and got the fruit. Muruga perched himself on his mount, the peacock and went around the world. On seeing Ganesha with fruit, Muruga became angry. He was persuaded by his father to stay at Palani (Palam-Ni) (You Yourself are the fruit).

Just before the main temple is a tree where devotees make offerings. Attracts large number of devotees. U can go by steps or aerial rope way. There is a road running around the hill for Giri Pradakshina - we missed that.

Temple overview. Large number of devotees were in temple premises even before sunrise. Temple is very ancient but epigraphs only from the 14th century a.d. Are seen. They belong to the Pandyas and Vijayanagara kings.

Devotees. Since vehicle of Muruga is peacock devotees come with its feathers in large numbers. Steps are 659. "this temple is one among the six Padaiveedu’s of Lord Muruga."

How they manage to put the rod in cheek and survive is something I cannot understand.

View of Palani town from top of hill.

Devotees. This temple is small, not much of architecture so album has more pics of devotees.

Devotees.

Temple Rajagopura, it is a five storeyed. The gopura is 63 feet high.

Devotees making offerings. Line for darshan was too long so we offered pranams from outside. Very powerful vibrations in temple. Felt very good there and after we left.

Lighting a lamp.

Peacock vehicle of Muruga.

Offering respects, Namaskarams.

What you see is called KAVADI in Tamil. "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."

Lady carrying Kavadi on her shoulders, top is an image of Muruga - it is covered by an umbrella. When Muruga settled on the hill, Idumban found he could not lift the hill as Murugan made it impossible for him. The two fought. Idumban was killed and brought to life thereafter.

This Kavadi has notes. Offerings are coconut, bananas, there is a pot probably has milk used for abhishekam. "Idumban prayed that: whosoever carried on his shoulders the Kavadi, signifying the two hills and visited the temple on a vow, should be blessed and he should be given the privilege of standing sentinel at the entrance to the hill. "

Devotees holding Kavadi. "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 Dandâyudhapani. Since then, pilgrims to Palani bring their offerings on their shoulders in a kavadi." To know more about Kavadi Click here

At temple entrance devotees with what seemed like their Guru. The simplicity touches me. I did stop halfway and offered pranams at the Idumban shrine but did not know its significance.

Devotee.

Thanks to these wonderful women that the temple and steps were spotlessly clean.

Students with their Guru seem to be preparing for some offering. Each one of them has a coconut in front of them. To read about importance of coconut Click here

This is Anga Pradakshinam. Lady lies on the floor, rolls her body to cover the entire temple. Her husband helps keep the sari in place.

Devotees singing in open area outside temple. Smiles all around. To visit temple site Click here

Devotees. Many devotees shaved off their hair like the child you see on right of pic.

Steps that take you down. Temple very well organised, place to get prasad-drinking water-darshan-crowd management etc. Really liked it.

Peacock, vehicle of Muruga, at foothill before you climb the steps.

Local musicians. Long shanayi type instrument is called NADASWARAM and what both men are playing is called DHAVIL. Thanks to friend Chitra for helping with such descriptions.

Different type of musicians with Kavadi.

How do devotees manage this. This is called ALAGU KURRUDHAL.To see video of temple Click here

Devotees getting blessings - you have to put some money in elephants trunk to get blessings. Many children get scared but very enjoyable.

Devotees heads get clean shaven here. Palani is 472 kms from Chennai, it is 10 kms away from the Palani Hills and very close to Kodaikanal, 64 kms away. Wish we had known - would have loved to visit.

On way from Palani we saw Thai Poosam celebrations in a village - sharing some pics.

Dancing to some music with beats. To see video of dance Click here

Deity being brought into village. Chariot pulling is called THER THIRUVIZHA. The Utsava Murthi of the temple is kept in the chariot and pulled around 4 main streets around the temple. This ritual is THEROTTAM.

After dancing meals. All eat food together, no difference between rich and poor.

Devotees in temple. Pic shows color and style of wearing dhoti. Some caption material taken from Temples of Tamil Nadu published by Padippu Chemmal. Credit and copyright lies with them.

Lady was limping yet doing parikrama of temple. Her husband caught her hand to give her support - ie what marriage is all about. Loved Palani. Must visit.