Temples of Tamil Nadu - Palani Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The Palani temple is situated in the district of Madurai about 112 km from Madurai and 152 km from Trichi. Lord Murugan called Thandayudapani is the presiding deity of the temple. This temple is on the 450 feet high Palani Malai in the town of Palani. There are around 690 stone steps lie in the mountain passage for the pilgrims to reach the temple apart from the electric winch facility.

This temple is mentioned in the Tamil work Thirumurugatruppadai of Nakeerar of the Sangam age. Even the saint poet Arunagirinaathar has composed 95 verses on Palani in his Thirupugazh. There is a Thiruvavinankudi temple which is also called as the Kuzhandhaivelayudar temple is located at the foot hills along with Saravanpoigai tank. It is believed to be more than 2000 years old.

The Sage Agasthiar on his way from Pothigai created two hills, Sivagiri and Sakthigiri. He then prayed to Lord Shiva and his consort Sakthi to appear on these hills so that he could offer his daily pooja. Then lord Shiva and Parvati appeared one on each hill. After completing his worship, Agasthiar wanted to take these two hills to his place in Pothigai and so he commanded his disciple Idumban to carry these hills. Idumban ties both the hills with a thandu or pole and carries them like a Kavadi. At the place of Palani, he feels tired and so keeps the kavadi and takes rest.

At the same time, in Mount Kailash, Narada presents a rare and precious mango fruit to Lord Shiva who in turn wanted his children to enjoy this rare fruit. In order to give the fruit, he sets a contest between his two sons Ganesha and Subramanya.

The condition was that whoever goes round the Universe and returns first will get the fruit. So Lord Subramanya immediately leaves on his peacock and flew away at a lightning speed. But Lord Ganesha after pondering for a while got up from his place and went round his parents and requested for the fruit. Pleased by this, Shiva and Parvati gave the fruit to Ganesha. When Lord Subramanya returned, he became angry and renouncing all his worldly possessions he went in search of a retreat for himself. When he came to the hills which Idumban had laid down, he settled on one of them. After taking rest, Idumban tried to lift his Kavadi, but was unable to do so and finding an intruder he tries to attack him.

Lord Murugan or Subramanya kills Idumban but later restores his life at the request of Idumban’s wife and Agasthiar. Later, Idumban prays the lord to allow him to be Dwarapalaka at his temple. Lord Shiva also arrives to pacify his son and appealed to him that Murugan himself was the fruit of all wisdom righteousness that he did not need another fruit. The word Pazham meaning fruit and Nee meaning yourself became the name of the place as Palani.


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