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Coimbatore – Marudhamalai Sri Subramania Swamy Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri subramaniya Swamy temple

Period of origin

12 th century

Name of deity

Moolavar:  Subramaniyar

Ambal: Valli, Dheivanai

Sthala Virksham: Maruthamaram

Sthala Theertham : Marudha Theertham and Skanda Theertham

Sung by : Arunagirinathar

Sthalapuranam:

Perur puranam lists the three neighboring hills, Vellingiri, Nili and Marudhamalai as the very manifestations of Lord Siva, Parvati and Subramanya respectively and the three hills taken together as the very symbol of Somaskanda. A siddha, overcome by excessive tiredness and thirst, sought shelter under the shade of a marudham tree and prayed for the mercy of Lord Muruga for a shower of water, which sprang at once, as though by a miracle from the tree. As water gushed out from the roots of the marudham tree, the siddha jumped in joy, glorifying Muruga as the Lord of Marudham and jalam (water). With the passage of time, Marudhajalapati became Marudhachalapati.

According to Perur Puranam, Surapadma, the scourge of the gods, aided by his mighty brothers Singamukha and Taraka arrayed against them and struck terror in their already agitated minds by his sudden and surprising charges and depredations. Unable to bear the agony and anguish, the gods approached Lord Siva and sought His succour. Lord siva comforted the gods that Lord Muruga would come to their rescue, root out and destroy Surapadma and his retinue enmasse. The gods should hasten to the Marudhamalai Hills and await the advent of Lord Muruga, their Saviour! Perur Puranam also alludes to a king called Kusathvajan, who it is said, was blessed with a male issue, only after worshipping Marudhamalai Murugan.

The hoary past of the temple can be traced in such ancient works as Sage Kachiappar’s Perur Puranam. The origin of the temple is rooted in legendary antiquity and dates back to the age of Surapadma, the demon destroyed by Lord Subramanya referred to in Skandapuranam. The inscriptions found in Tiru Muruganatha Swami Temple, Tiru Murugan Poondi places the origin of the temple in the 12th century A.D. Kongu Nadu was divided into 24 regions in the early days. It is learnt that one such Arai Nadu in the west has its boundary in the Marudhamalai Hills. Perur Puranam and the inscriptions at Tiru Murugan Poondi speak of Marudhamalai as the very manifestations of Lord Muruga Himself and the Marudham tree as the symbolic representation of his spear (vel). Marudhamalai is celebrated by Saint Arunagirinathar in his celestial songs. Marudhamalai Hills, dedicated to Lord Muruga (Dandāyudhapāni) is classified under Kunruthoradal, one of the six main abodes of the god. Set against the backdrop of hazy blue hills dotted with shrubs and bushes of varied hues, the sacred shrine verily reflects the picture of Lord Muruga, magnificently mounted on his vehicle peacock, flaunting and swaying its feathers and plume in full bloom. The Sanskrit word “achalam” denotes mountain. As the mountain here abounded in marudham trees, it came to be known as Marudhachalam. Marudhamalai is also called Marundhumalai, for it is overgrown with shrubs and bushes of medicinal properties. Hence, Marudhamalai is befittingly given the name Marudhamalai (Mountain of Medicines). This is referred to as Marudhamalvarai, Marudhavarai, Marudha Verpu, Marudha Kundru, Marudhavōngal, Kamarpirangu, Marudhachalam, Velvarai in Perur Puranam.

The holy shrine of Marudhamalai is believed to remove both physical and mental afflictions and attachments as the hill abounds in Medicinal herbs. The pleasant breeze and the peaceful environments bring harmony and quietness to the minds of devotees. The saints and holymen used to prefer this hill and came here in search of ‘KayaKalpam’ the Divine medicine for Salvation. The celestial cow ‘Kamadhenu’ is believed to have grazed in the pastures of this hillock and drunk from the springs under the Marudham tree as per Perur Puranam written by Kachiappa Munivar. As we approach the foothills, at a little distance from it, the deity Ganesha greet us. Offering our prayers to Śrī Vigneshwara, the remover of obstacles, we begin our ascent to the hills. It is significant to note that the deity is not a chiseled one but it is of a spontaneous origin (Swayambu). The ‘Thanthonri Vināyagar’ (self-born) is extolled in the ‘Marudhamalai Thanthonri Pathigam’ of Perur Puranam. Tamil scholars are keenly devoted to the Lord. After worshipping Thanthonri Vināyagar, we ascend what is known as ‘Pathinettam Padi’, which has exactly a flight of eighteen steps, reminding us of Lord Ayyappa. Such if those as could not undertake the strenuous trek to the Sabari Hills offer worships here and fulfil their vows.

The flight of steps from the foothill to the top causes hardly any strain; rather the climb is light and exhilarating as one goes up the neatly carved steps, gazing round the luxuriant growth of vegetation and breathing the refreshing cool breeze wafted along the herbs of the hills. Standing at the foot hill, as we gaze towards the north, in the distant hills, we discern three stones in diverse colours, which are the petrified form of three thieves cursed by Lord Muruga for their sinful act of plundering the treasures belonging to the temple. Just below the stone forms, there is a flat stone which, it is said, is but the jewel box stolen by the thieves. It is said Lord Muruga came in the guise of cavalier, chased and punished them. The shrine of Idumba is located almost in the middle of the path of steps. The image of the deity is carved on a huge round rock in the posture of carrying a Kaavadi. Married couples having no issues worship the deity and offer toy cradles with the firm faith of being blessed with progeny by the Grace of god. Continuing our ascent, we find a beautiful mandapam, enshrining what is called ‘Kudirai Kulambu’ (hoof marks of the horse). It is believed that the horse of Lord Muruga caused the Marks, as He marched against the Demon Surapadma. Or the horse on which Lord Muruga rode and chased the robbers referred to earlier might have imprinted by them.

The presiding deity, it is said, is a later installation, the original deity being that of Lord Subramanya with His two consorts, Valli and Teyvannai, enshrined nearby to the south in the outer Prakara. They are the very deities referred to in the Perur Puranam. It is here the gods persecuted by Surapadama approached Lord Subramanya and implored Him to destroy the demon. The deities are all of spontaneous origin (swayambhu). The shrine is not a big one. The sanctum sanctorum and the Ardha Mandapam are comparatively small. The front mandapam is wide enough to accommodate a fairly large number of devotees. Sivalingam flanks the presiding deity on the left and Ambigai on the right in the outer Prakara. Siddhas are mystic philosophers who exercise their mental faculties to the utmost and attain godhead by means of meditation and reflection. They are endowed with incredible powers of the mind by which they perform great miracles and astound the common world. Siddhas can set at rest all their senses and awaken their spirit alone. Thus they are bodily asleep and spiritually awake. In this blessed mood they enter into a personal communion with god. As the Siddha used to animate dead snakes and dance with him, he was popularly known as Pambatti Siddhar. Once he transmigrated into the deadbody of a king and performed great miracles. He composed songs of enlightenment. ‘Siddharudam’ is a work, attributed to his prophetic genius. Lord Muruga took joy in teasing and tantalizing the Siddha with His spiritual pranks. Once as an enormous boulder came down, rollinggaining momentum, the siddha tried to halt it, Arrested its movement and averted a great havoc.

The Pambatti Siddhar Cave is another shrine drawing our attention. It is located on the slopes towards the east and can be approached by a narrow path, protected by a stone hedge or parapet. Pambatti Siddhar used this cave as his abode for meditation on Lord Muruga and attained salvation here. One can notice a natural image of a snake on the rock. Of the eighteen noted siddhas with such attributes, was one Pambatti Siddhar greatly revered in the Kongu region. He is credited with having lived in the company of snakes and made them dance to his tunes. He himself was delighted to dance with them. Once, in the course of his wanderings, he chanced to meet one, Sattai Muni Siddhar, a contemporary and counterpart who initiated him into the art of entering into trances – the Jeeva Samadhi Nilai. A snake comes to the cave everyday and feeds itself on the fruit and milk kept for it. There is an underground passage from the cave to the primal shrine through which the Pambati Siddhar wended his way everyday to worship Lord Subramanya in the Company of His consorts. There is a cluster of trees closely interwinding one another. Under this is installed an Idol of Lord Ganesha. Daily poojas are performed to this deity also. The breeze wafting along the foliage has an unfailing cure for all diseases of the people. A host of saints, invisible to the common man’s eyes, are supposed to dwell here doing meditation. An aged Irula tribesman, 75 years old identified the entangled trees as Korakattai, Ichi, Banyan, Vakkanai and Ottu maram and added there was one tree in the group, Peepal in the days of yore, and it is extinct now. The tribesman also said that this tree existed in the same manner even during his childhood. This is a unique phenomenon attracting not only devotees but also botanists.

Two kilometers north of the main shrine is situated ‘Uchipilliayar Kovil’ gracing the devotees. The idol has been installed recently. On every ‘Chathurthi’ the deity is bedewed, anointed and adorned and devotees throng the temple in great numbers to worship on that day. Right from foot hills to the temple on top we find elegantly built mandapams erected for devotees to take rest. These are a boon to the sevarthees who frequent the temple. To the right of the main shrine inside the prakara we find Sri.Patteeswarar shrine (the main deity of Perur). To the left is located Sri.Maragathambigai shrine (the main goddess of Perur). The main shrine of Lord Muruga is a unique Somaskanda Moorthy as the Lord is enshrined between Just in front of Maragathambigai, we have the Navagraham shrine. Another unique feature of the temple is the Perumal shrine towards the left of Alangara Mandapam. The Sapta Kanimar shrine is located at the banks of Marutha Theertham. This is the reason why it is called Kanni Theertham.

There are springs of holy water with the names Marudha Theertham and Skanda Theertham. A dip into these springs brings forth health and wealth to devotees. The Marudham tree is the sthala vriksham (sacred tree of the shrine) At length, we reach the top where Lord Subramanya reigns supreme in all His radiance, exuding all grace and charm! The idol made of granite is about five feet in height, facing the east with the right hand holding Dandayudham (rod), the left hand placed on the hip and a spear (vel) placed across. The image bears a close resemblance to the deity at Palani. The statue at the sanctum sanctorum, divested of all its adornments, loined with a slender cloth brings to our mind the ‘Andi Kolam’, the aspect of a mendicant assumed by the Lord in Palani. What distinguishes Marudhamalai Andavar from Palani Āndavar is the sporting of a turban on the head with a tuft behind. The beauty of the deity defies all description and is more a thing to be experienced than expressed!

Sage Kachiyappar says even tens of thousands of Maras (love gods) cannot match Lord Muruga of Marudhamalai in His magnificence! The word Marudhachalāpati means Master of the Hills that abound in Marudham trees. The Lord assumed the appellation after the association of the words, Marudham, Achalam and Pati, representing the Marudham tree, the hills and the Master respectively. The names like Marudhachalam, Marudham have been in existence even in the 12th century. Evidence of their information is found on the inscriptions in the temples of Avinashi and Tiru MuruganPoondi. Many inscriptions especially No. 249 and AR No. 573 of 893 found on the walls of the Garbagraha of Tiru Muruganpoondi, Śrī Muruganathar temple explain incidences where these names are mentioned. There are several festivals celebrated glorifying Lord Marudhachalapathy like Kārttikai, ādi Pathinettu, Padivizha, Tamil New year’s Day, English New Year’s Day, Kārttikai Deepam, Thaipoosam – Brahmotsavam, Panguni Uttiram etc. The Thaipoosam Car Festival is a festival, most splendid and spectacular, attracting a large number of devotees.

Daily poojas and archanas are performed for the presiding deity. There are schemes enabling the devotees to perform abhishegam and archana for the deity everyday. An endowment investment of Rs. 3000/- under ‘Nitya Pooja Kattalai’ will facilitate a devotee to perform abhishegam and archana in his or her name on a day specified. An offering of Rs. 50/- to the temple will fetch the prasadam of the deity of the Archana performed in the devotee’s name on Krithigai for one full year. Prasadam is sent to the devotee concerned by post. Mention may be made here that several devotees from abroad have joined these schemes and are blessed by Lord Muruga.

 Route:

Marudhamalai Murugan Temple is located at a distance of 15 km from Coimbatore.

Temple Timings:

From 9am to 12am, From 5 pm to 8.30 pm.

Temple Telephone Number:

0422 242 2490, + 91 (422) 422490

Temple Address:

Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple

Maruthamalai

Coimbatore – 641 046

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