Palani Dhandayuthapani temple is one of the six abodes (Arupadaiveedu) ofHindu deity Murugan. It is located in the town of Pazhani in Dindigul district, 100 km southeast of Coimbatore and northwest of Madurai in the foot-hills of Pazhani hills.
Lord Murugan is the deity of the Tamil Land. Palani (Tiru Avinankudi) is the thirdPadai Veedu. The temple at Palani is an ancient one, situated at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level. It is a charming campus from where one can take a look at the Idumban Hill, the Kodaikanal Hills, the Western Ghats, the greenery of the paddy fields, rivers, tanks, Palani town and the colleges. On a lovely, clear and mist-free day, the Kurinci ?ndavar Temple is visible from here against the bright sun. In daytime, Palani is Hill Beautiful; at night, it is Hill Resplendent.
The deity of Palani is known as Dandayudhapani Swami, the Lord having the Staff in his Hand. The deity at the sanctum sanctorum is made out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashana. The deity is in a standing position with a baton in his hand. He has the look of a person who has renounced all worldly pomp. He has just a loincloth besides the baton. He is a mute messenger of the great precept ‘Renounce all to reach Me’. The icon is unique in the whole world. It was made by siddha Bhogar by combining nine poisonous substances (navabashana). Murugan signifies beauty and Lord Murugan of Kurinji land is the god of Beauty and Youth.
History of Temple
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. When he was fatigued, he placed thekavadi near Palani to take rest.At this stage, Subrahmanya or Muruga had been outwitted in a contest for going round the world. Ganapati had won the prized fruit (pomegranate or mango) by simply going round His parents. Long after, this, Subrahmanya came sweating on His peacock to find that the prize had already been given away.
In anger, the frustrated child left the divine parents and came down to Tiru Avinankudi at the Adivaram (pronounced Adiv?ram, it means ‘foot of the Sivagiri Hill’). Siva pacified Him by saying that He (Subrahmanya) Himself was the fruit (pazham) of all wisdom and knowledge;nee —you.
Hence the place was called ‘Pazham Nee’ or Palani. Later, He withdrew to the hill and settled there as a recluse in peace and solitude.
When Idumban resumed his journey, he could not lift the hill. Muruga had made it impossible for Idumban to make it. In the fierce battle that ensued, Idumban was killed but was later on restored to life. 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.
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 Dand?yudhapani.
Story of Murugan
The illustrated story of Lord Muruga, why He left Kailasa and came to Palani, and how Palani got its name. The devas (gods) and saints used to go to Mount Kailasa to worship Lord Shiva. At Mount Kailasa Shiva and Parvati were greatly pleased to see saints meditating, Nandi Deva praying for God’s blessing, Lord Muruga playing at the feet of Lord Shiva, and Ganapati dancing with his trunk. At that time Narada arrived there. Playing his veena and chanting a “Hara-Hara! Shambo Maha Deva!” Lord Shiva welcomed him gracefully. After worshipping the God and Goddess, Narada offered them a very special mango fruit. Upon seeing this, Muruga and Vinayaga anxiously waited to receive the fruit. This fruit (Jñ?na Pazham) had unparalleled taste. So the Lord decided to conduct a contest to choose the right person for the fruit. The winner should circle the world first. Muruga and Vinayaga were astonished by this order for a while but soon got to work. Goddess Uma watched them with a smile. The brave young Kandavel(Murugan) started his journey around the world at once. “Within a second I will go around the world upon my blue peacock,” he said.
The blue peacock fluttered its wings like a golden chariot an flew around the world in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, Vinayagarealised his disadvantage and thought of a solution. He went around his father and mother and worshipped them. Then Lord Shiva asked his son Lord Ganapati, “Vinayaga! What did you do?” Saying to his father and mother, “Because of you only, this world arises and falls. Father and mother are the world,” he claimed the prize fruit.
Shiva and Uma were pleased by this act of Vinayaga and presented the fruit to him. Lord Murugareached his father Lord Shiva within a second to claim the fruit. But it had already been won by his brother Ganapati!. Muruga was very surprised and angry. At that time Shiva told Lord Muruga that Ganapati had completed the contest faster by circling his parents. Lord Muruga could not accept this reason. Hence he became hard-hearted and his lips became reddish. Lord Muruga went and sat upon his peacock in anger. Goddess Parvati’s heart was beating rapidly. She came to Muruga, said, “Darling! Kathirvela! Stop!” and took her son Muruga in her lap. At that time Vinayaga did not know what to do. But Muruga flew away on the peacock.
This happened for the welfare of the people in the world. This is known as “Grace Play” and “Grace Anger”. From Mount KailasaLord Muruga traveled to the extreme South and landed at Tiru Avinankudi Hill and settled there. To cool the heat of Lord Muruga’s anger, the God and Goddess followed him. They consoled him by saying you need not worry about this fruit. “You are the fruit (Pazham nee),” said Lord Shiva to Palani Muruga. From that day onwards, Lord Palani Muruga sheds His grace upon devotees. Lord Murugashowed his grace just like a saint (?ndi) in Tiru Avinankudi. His bright face in equal to the rising sun; His very sight pours grace upon the devotee. His forehead displays tilakam, sandal and tiruneeru(vibhuti). His broad chest having a cord withdanda (staff) gives safety for others; His left hand on thigh shows abundant grace; His jeweled ankles shine with beauty; He shows grace to all wearing only a kaupîna(loincloth) along with the blue peacock.
About the Deity
The idol of the deity is said to be made of an amalgam of nine poisonous substances which forms an eternal medicine when mixed in a certain ratio. It is placed upon a pedestal of stone, with an archway framing it and represents the godSubrahmanya in the form He assumed at Palani – that of a very young recluse, shorn of his locks and all his finery, dressed in no more than a loincloth and armed only with a staff, the dhandam, as befits a monk. It is from His youthful appearance and the staff He bears, that the appellation B?la-dhand?yudha-p?ni, meaning the young wielder of the staff-weapon, is applied to Him.
One curious aspect of the deity is that He faces west rather than east, the traditional direction at most Hindu temples. This is held to be on account of the temple having been re-consecrated by the Cheras, whose dominions lay to the west, and the guardian of whose eastern frontier was supposed to be the Lord Kartikeya of Palani. Another fact that will be remarked upon by any observer, are the rather disproportionately large ears the Lord is endowed with. This is reflective of the faith that the Lord listens carefully to each of his many devotees’ prayers and requests. Housed in the garbhagriham, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple, the deity may be approached and handled only by the temple’s priests, who are members of the Gurukkal community of Palani, and hold hereditary rights of sacerdotal worship at the temple. Other devotees are permitted to come up to the sanctum, while the priests’ assistants, normally of the Pand?ram community, are allowed up to the ante-chamber of the sanctum sanctorum.
The Temple is situated upon the higher of the two hills of Palani, known as the Sivagiri. Traditionally, access to it was by the main staircase cut into the hill-side or by the yanai-padhai or elephant’s path, used by the ceremonial elephants. Pilgrims bearing water for the ritual bathing of the idol, and the priests, would use another way also carved into the hill-side but on the opposite side. Over the past half-century, three funicular railway tracks have been laid up the hill for the convenience of the pilgrims, and supplemented by a rope-way within the past decade. The sanctum of the temple is of early Cheraarchitecture while the covered ambulatory that runs around it bears unmistakable traces of Pandya influence, especially in the form of the two fishes, the Pandyan royal insignia. The walls of the sanctum bear extensive inscriptions in the old Tamil script. Surmounting the sanctum, is a gopuram of gold, with numerous sculptures of the presiding deity, Kartikeya, and gods and goddesses attendant upon him.
In the first inner prah?ram, or ambulatory, around the heart of the temple, are two minor shrines, one each, to Shiva and Parvati, besides one to the Sage Bhogar who is by legend credited with the creation and consecration of the chief idol. In the second outer prah?ram, is a celebrated shrine to Ganapati, besides the carriage-house of the Lord’s Golden Chariot.
Palani Moolavar: Its Medicinal Powers
Siddha Bhogar created the Moolavar expressly for performing abhishekams.
The constant performing of abhishekams has perhaps added cohesive strength to the image and in turn the medicinal qualities absorbed by the abhishekam materials, attributing to them miraculous curative properties.
The overnight sandal paste in particular is a wonder drug, a panacea for many incurable diseases. Not even the rationalist can say that the abhishekam is a waste. For every drop of it is consumed with profit and pleasure by devotees, far and near. Leucoderma and asthma are cured by the use of abhishekam water. Modern physicians say that milliards of bacteria are stored in the idol and anything taken out of the touch of the idol by abhishekams also infected with the bacteria which grow in geometrical progression.
This is the reason for the preservative quality of the articles offered during abhishekam. Prasadam filled with bacteria when consumed internally cures several human diseases. No individual is unaffected by the mystery, the beatitude and the abiding compassion of the deity.
Darshan (meaning open to the public) hours are from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. On festival days the temple opens at 4.30 a.m.
- Vilaa Pooja (6.30 a.m.)
- Siru Kall Pooja (8.00 a.m.)
- Kaala Santhi (9.00 a.m.)
- Utchikkala Pooja (12.00 noon)
- Raja Alankaram (5.30 p.m.)
- Iraakkaala Puja (8.00 p.m.)
- Golden Car Darshan (6.30 p.m.)
Panguni Uttiram also is a very important festival here, and is celebrated for 10 days, devotees carry kavadies with holy water (from sacred rivers), sugar, tender co-conut etc. During these ten days, we can see various rural dances like “Oyilattam, Thappattam, Dhidumattam, Velanattam, Samiyattam”etc., along with rural songs. The rural music is an important part of Paunguni uthiram festival.
The main feature of Panguni Uthiram is the offering of “Theertham” (Posts of Holy water) from Kodumudi. Lord Palani ?ndavar is given abhishekam with this holy water. The devotees carrying Kavadi to Palani sing Kavadi – songs throughout their ‘Padayathra’ and these songs are ancient oral songs.
On the first day, there is flag hoisting at Tiruvavinankugi Temple and on all the 10 days Lord Muthukumara Swamy with ?r? Valli and ?r? Deivanai goes in procession around the Palani Hill. On the seventh day there is “Car Festival” and this is attended by thousands of devotees. During these days the Lord also is given special reception and pooja at many ‘mandapams’ in the Palani Adivaram area. It is a grand sight to see Lord Muruga with his concerts during these processions.
Cithirai Festivals – Chitra Paurnami
On this day, a ten-day festival is conducted at Arulmigu Lakshminarayana Perumal temple. At the Periyanayaki Amman Temple also, Lord Muthukumara Swamy, along with Valli and Deivanai, rides in the silver car along the streets around the Temple.
Agni Nakshatram is one of the important festivals at Palani. During the last seven days of Chitrai and the first seven days of the following month (i.e. Vaikasi) the devotees of Lord Muruga go around the Hill by foot, early in the mornings.
As per the Palani mythology, it is considered holy to worship the Hill temple from afar or from near or go around it. It is also called Girivalam. It is an age old practice. In ancient days the siddhas, rishis, saints and other noble persons followed this practice. Girivalam gives mental peace, the medicinal herbs around the hillock cure many physical diseases. Nowadays people go around the temple by wearing kadamba flower.
VAIKAASI FESTIVAL (VISAKAM)
Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated for ten days. At the Perianayaki amman temple, it is celebrated for 10 days with procession every day. There is car festival on the 10th day (i.e Visakam). Visakam is Lord Muruga’s birthday star. This is celebrated at all Murugan temples.
During the Tamil month of Aani (third month of the Tamil year) Annabhishekam (abhishekam with fragrant cooked rice) is conducted at Tiruvavinankudi Temple, Hill Temple, Periyanayagi Amman temple and Periyavudaiyar Temple. On Aani Uthiram Day, abhisekam is performed to Lord Nataraja and a procession is conducted with the Lord in the Company of the icons of the four Tamil Saints.
Festivals in Aadi
- Aadi Perukku: From Perianayaki Amman Temple, Lord Kailasanathar and Amman go to Periyavudaiyar Koil and after performing “Kannimar Pooja” return in a procession.
- Aadi Krithigai: This is celebrated in a grand way at Palani. Devotees carry flower-Kavadi to Lord Muruga and Worship.
- Aadi Amavasai: On this day many devotees offer ‘tonsure’ on the banks of Shanmuga River and climb the hill for worship. In the book of Palani mythology this has been mentioned in the chapter on ‘Shanmuga Nadi’. Devotees consider that they get cleansed of their sins once they bathe in the Shanmuga River.
- Aadi Laksharchana: At Periyanayaki Amman Temple, this is conducted well, and Amman (Goddess Periyanayaki) is given special abhishekam and decoration. On the last day of the function, Amman is adorned with the “Golden Kavacham”.
KANDHAR SHASTI (SOORA SAMHARAM)
Kanda Sashti is a very important festival at Palani, during the six days in the month of Aippasi (7th Tamil month). This is based on the mythological story of Lord Muruga Killing the demons. On this day only (once in a year) the Lord comes down the Hill, and after vanquishing the demons,ascends the Hill again.
This is associated with Kandhar Shasti. The four demons (Gajamugan, Tharagan, Singamugan and Surapadman) are won by the Lord. It is a grand sight to see the dramatic representation of this. On this day devotees observe total fasting as they consider that this will offset all their sins.
From Tirugnanasambandar’s statement “Ancient Karthigai day”, we known about the age-old practice of this festival. It falls on Karthigai day in the Tamil month of Karthigai. It is celebrated for ten days and daily “Chinna Kumarar” goes in processionin the small golden carriage.
On Karthigai day, he goes inthe Golden Car. On the 10th day, woman devotees light lamps and worship Murugan. This is done in Tiruvavinankudi, Periyanayagi Amman Temple and the Hill Temple. This is a very important day for devotees. Every month also, on Karthigai day, devotees visit Palani.
During the Tamil month of Markazhi (ninth month) the Hill Temple opens at 4 A.M, and recital of Tiruvembavai is done. The early morning Pooja is done in all the main temples in Palani. The recital of Thiruppavai is done at Perumal temple.
WAY TO HILL TEMPLE
There are 5 ways on the hill to reach the Palani Murugan temple. The 4 ways are mentioned below, the 4th way is not widely used by public. It is known asTheertha Pathai – Theertham for Abishegam is brought through this way.
ROPE CAR FACILITY
At the starting of the steps route there is a temple for Lord Ganesh ( also known as Vinayagar ). Since this Vinayagar is at the steps, He is known as Paadha Vinayagar ( Vinayagar at steps ).
After worshiping the Paadha Vinayagar one starts for climbing the hill through the steps route. The steps route is a scenic route and on the way there is a small temple for Edumban. On the steps there are lot of smallMandabams – people going through the steps route take rest in these Mandabams while climbing the hill.
On the entrance of the steps route the Giant Peacock stone idol is seen.
There are exactly 689 steps. While climbing the hill gentle breeze and the scenic beauty of western ghats make one feel less tired of the climbing.
The Elephant path was constructed for the facility of Elephants to climb the hill. Since the Steps Route steps are very small for elephants to climb this path was constructed. During the festival days elephants are seen at the palani hill temple ( Palani Murugan Temple ). On the Elephant path there is a small water source ( Theertham ) known as Valli Sonai.
For the facility of children and aged people who are not able to climb the hill there are 3 Winches are currently operating to shuttle the piligrims to the temple. A very nominal charge is collected as fare for travelling in the winch.
Winch fare in Rs Adult Children
Ordinary fare Rs. 10/- 5
fare in Rs UP DOWN
Special fare Rs.50/- Rs.25/-
Pilgrims to the hill top temple now use either flight of 693 steps or one of the three winches. Each winch could carry only 34 persons and takes eight minutes to reach the top of the hill from the base station.
On the other hand, the rope-car takes only 2.45 minutes to cover the distance of 323 metres over the green covered precipices.
- Palani Hills
- Idumban temple
- Kannadi Perumal temple
- Periya Nayaki Amman temple
- Varathamanathi Dam
- Kuthirayar Dam falls
The Devasthanam has constructed pilgrims’ resthouses, single, double, deluxe and air-conditioned rooms as well as cottages. Reasonable rates are collected from the devotees.
Palani is reached by just three hours drive from any of the nearest airports: Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchy.
It is an important railway station on the Dindugal-Coimbatore line.
The nearest tourist information office is at Madurai. There is a Palani Devasthanam Information Centre at the Palani bus stand.
Arulmigu Dandayudapani Swamy Thirukoil
Palani – 624 601
Tamil Nadu INDIA
Phone: (+91) (4545) 241417 (Office JC)
(04545) 242236 or 242467 (Office)