Kali Yuga, the age indicating a period of darkness and degeneration commenced about 3100 BC. Many Hindus believe that the presiding deity of this yugam is Lord Muruga (Kali Yuga Varadan) and his Six abodes, whose Vel, which symbolises the spear of victory, will eventually restore peace and harmony, destroying arrogance, violence, and injustice.
One of the many legends associated with the origin of Lord Muruga states that Lord Shiva emitted sparks from his third eye and these fell into the Saravana Poikai (lake) to become six infants.
The wives of six rishis nurtured the babies and were subsequently rewarded to appear as the constellation Pleiades. When the divine consort Parvati beheld the beauty of these children, she embraced them all forcibly together to become one form with six heads and twelve arms. In this form Lord Muruga is known as Shanmukha or Arumuga Swami.
Lord Muruga who is known for his handsome looks, is closely associated with Tamil Nadu and the Tamil people. Pilgrimage tours relating to Arupadai Veedu are a must for his devotees. While his first home is with the daughter of Indra, the Lord of pleasures, his second home belongs to the hill regions of Tamil Nadu. Lord Muruga has six houses or Arupadai Veedu in Tamilnadu, each relating to the important phases in his life. Except Tiruchendur, which is a beach, the other places are all hills. During festive seasons pilgrimage tours are very dense in these six abodes.
Lord Muruga Aaru Padai Veedu(Six Battle Fields)
- Thiruparamkundram : Soora Samharam, Chariot Festival and Laksha archana (worship to Lord Muruga by hundred thousand names)
- Thiruchendur : Swing Festival (Oonjal Sevai – where Lord Muruga swings with his consort in a highly tranquill atmosphere)
- Palani : The Golden Chariot Festival (A very famous occation in which golden image of the Lord goes around the temple in Gold Plated Chariot)
- Swamimalai : The Soora Vahana Festival (Lord Muruga is seated above the Asura Soorapadhman and is taken around the temple)
- Thiruthani : Mirror Festival (Kannadi Sevai – where the Lord’s Six faces are exposed through a mirror and worshipped)
- Pazhamudhircholai : Bathing Festival (Abhishekam – where the Lord’s image is bathed in several holy waters, amidst the veda chanting – Sri Rudhram and Chamakam)
Tiruparangundram, the first Arupadai Veedu, is located 5 miles Southwest of Madurai.
Since Lord Muruga married his first wife Devasena at this place, Hindus consider this Muruga temple auspicious for marriages.
The Muruga temple was constructed by Viswakarma, the divine sculptor. The specialty of the temple is its 48 pillars and the fact that the innermost shrine is carved from a single rock. Panguni Uttram which falls in late March is celebrated as a festival of marriage in this abode of Arupadai Veedu. Tirupparankundram Tirupparankundram, a hill five miles southwest of Madurai, is the fourth pilgrimage site of Muruga. A cave temple dedicated to the element of earth and mentioned in various classical Tamil texts as the ‘Southern Himalaya’ where the gods assemble, Tirupparankunram is also mentioned in legend as ‘the place where the sun and moon abide’. Murugan was married to Devasena upon the hill and for many centuries the Tamil people have considered it the most auspicious place for their own marriages, especially during the time of the Pankuni Uttiram, the festival of marriage held in late March. Besides the fantastic temple to Murugan on the hill, there is also a Muslim shrine dedicated to ‘Sekunder’ (al-Sikandar or Alexander the Great) who is associated with Murukan by the Muslim pilgrims. “Sikandar was a friend of Murugan at the time when Murugan was King here,” they say.
Tiruchendur is the second Arupadai Veedu where Lord Muruga camped to destroy the evil force ofSurapadma. Lord Muruga was destined to be born for the sole purpose of conquering Surapadma and this is celebrated as Skanda Sashti, which falls six days after Diwali. Tiruchendur Muruga Temple is the only beach destination of Lord Muruga.
Thiruchendur Murugan Seaside Temple Among the six chosen spots in The Tamil soil which were referred to by Nakkirar as of more than ordinary sanctity to the worship of Lord Muruga, Tiruchendur is number two.
This was the only temple of Lord Muruga located on the seashore.
The variance here is possibly due to Muruga’s divine mission to free the Devas, and the vanquishing of evil in the form of Surapadma and his mighty hosts in Veera Mahendram, their mid-ocean fortress. The Tamils have ever since been celebrating the event as an annual festival during Skanda Sashti. At this spot, Lord Muruga was said to have encamped before and after vanquishing the Asuras and worshipped Siva at the shrine Mayan had built for Him. The Kanda Madana Parvata, the red sandstone rock of this coast received its foundations. A lofty gopuram also rose beside it. A part of the cliff was bored into to form the holy sanctum of Subramaniam. The red sandy rock round about was further carved into, and the rolling hills of sand moved away to gain more space.
Palani is the third house of Arupadai Veedu of Lord Muruga and is located 100 kilometers South of Coimbatore and equally distanced from Madurai. This is the place that Muruga left for after a quarrel with his parents, Lord Shiva and Parvati over a divine fruit which was offered to his brother Ganapati after a competition of going around the world. Muruga is hailed as Dandayudapani at Palani where Thai Poosam in January is very popular in the Palani Muruga Temple. During these festivals, devotees carry Kavadi and offer abishekam. The Muruga Temple has rope car and winch facilities, essentially for senior citizens and the disabled, but also used by others. Palani Hill Temple There is a legend how Lord Murugan came to this sacred spot. Narada Muni, a sage, brought a golden mango to the divine court of Lord Siva & Parvathi with their children Lord Vinayaga and Muruga. The condition is that only one person could eat this mango. The invaluable love between one another of Lord Shiva’s family member brought to a situation as to who could eat up the mango. It was announced to Vinayaga and Muruga that whoever completes travelling around the earth first would get the mango. Muruga assumed parents as his world, went around them and got the mango. Wheras when Muruga made his strenuous flight with his Mayil vahana around the world and returned to see that he was cheated by his brother Vinyaga. He got angry and so went and to Palani to settle for ever.
Lord Shiva & Parvathi went to him pacifying that you are the “Pazham Nee”, i.e. “You are The Fruit”.There is a funicular rail to climb up Palani Hill
4. Swami Malai
Swami Malai is the fourth among the Arupadai Veedu and is located near Kumbakonam, on the banks of river Cauvery.
Muruga teaches the meaning of the cosmic word “AUM” to his father lord Shiva, in this abode.
Shiva sits posed as a student with reverence to his son in Swami Malai. The Muruga temple has 60 steps each named after one of the 60 Tamil years. Vaikasi Visakam festival which is held in May and Thai Poosam in January are popular festivals of this abode.
Swamimalai Swamimalai is a sylvan village, situated about five kilometers west of Kumbakonam on the banks of a tributary of river Cauvery. Once when Brahma, the lord of all creations was proceeding to Kailasa, the ever-playful child Lord Muruga asked him for the meaning of the Pranava OM. When Brahma admitted his ignorance, the Lord imprisoned him. With Brahma imprisoned, all creations came to a standstill and the devas prayed to Lord Siva to get Brahma released. When Muruga insisted that the imprisonment was a just punishment for the ignorance of Brahma, Lord Siva asked him whether he himself knew the meaning of the primordial Pranava OM. Lord Muruga said that he knew the meaning of OM and can expound it to the latter only if he can accept him as guru and listen to the exposition as a devoted disciple. As Lord Siva acceded to the request of Lord Muruga and heard the exposition of OM as a disciple, the place came to be known as Swamimalai and the presiding deity as Swaminathan.
Thiruthani is the fifth abode where Lord Muruga landed to calm himself after the war and victory over Sura Padma for which he was born. Thiruthani is located 84 kilometers Northwest of Chennai. The Muruga temple has 356 steps, each representing a day in the year.
Adi Kiruthigai Tank festival and Skanda Shashti are popular festivals observed in this temple. Smearing Sandal on the Idol of Lord Muruga is very special in this abode.
700 feet above sea level. It is situated amidst a range of hills with a dramatic panoramic view. Three Hundred and Sixty five Steps lead to the shrine, each step representing a day of the year. Puranic Importance Of Lord Murugan’s six Padaiveedus, Tirutanikai ranks prominent as the crown jewel of our Lord. As its very name indicates, when we propitiate our Lord in this holy shrine, He blesses us with mental peace and bodily happiness. His righteous indignation towards the asuras for their cruelty is said to have been quelled and cooled at this place which is, therefore, known as Shantipuri (Abode of Peace). As the prayers and desires of the devotees who worship our Lord Tanikesan on this hill with unserving faith and intense devotion are fulfilled in no time, this hill is also called Chanikasalam. When our Lord came to this hill after wedding Goddess Valli at Vallimalai, She implored Him to enlighten Her on the importance and greatness of this hill. In reply, our Lord said that if one worshipped Him with heart and soul for five consecutive days in this hill temple, that person would be blessed with all that is best in this life and hereafter.
6. Pazhamudir Cholai
Pazhamudir Cholai is located 13 kilometers North of Madurai. This is a dense hill forest filled with springs, herbs, fruits and flowers where his second wife Valli lived.
The Tamil poet Avvaiyar was tested by Lord Muruga in this place. It is the sixth and last among the Arupadai Veedu of Lord Muruga.
Pankuni Uttiram in March, Visakam during May, Shasti during October and Kartigai during November are the popular festivals observed in this Muruga Temple. Pazhamutircolai Pazhamutircolai is situated 19 kilometres from the temple town of Madurai. The place is full of natural beauty and sylvan surroundings. This hill is also known as Vrishabhadri or Idabagiri. At the foot of the hill is situated Azhakar Kovil, which is one among the 108 Divyadesams sanctified by the hymns of Azhwars sung in praise of the Vishnu enshrined in this temple. Atop the hill Lord Muruga stands majestically in the temple as the Lord of the Hills popularly known as Kurinji Nilakkizhavan in Tamil. Pazhamutircholai is mentioned as the sixth of Lord Murugan’s Aaru Padai Vidukal. Most scholars, priests and devotees identify Pazhamutircholai with the shrine of Palamutircolai, twelve miles north of Madurai in the Alagar Hills, above the Alagarcoil Vishnu temple. While this temple is not as large or bustling as the other five recognized shrines, it is just as incredible to visit.
Muruga is depicted as the god of love and war. Kartikeya married Valli by love and married Deivayanai by winning the war held at Tiruchendur. Kaumaram is the sub-set of Hinduism in which Kartikeya is worshipped as the supreme deity.