Karthikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi, is one of the most important gods worshipped in Tamil Nadu. He is worshipped all over India and known by different names such as Murugan, Subrahmanya, Skanda, Kumaran, etc.
The Palani Murugan Temple is one of the six prominent Murugan Temples in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Lord Karthikeya left his luxury life of Kailash and came here to gain knowledge.
This famous shrine is situated on a hill called Shivagiri in Palani. Here an age-old idol which was carved by Sage Bogar is worshipped as the primary deity in the sanctum. The Palani Arulmigu Sri Dhandayuthapani Temple is related with several legends which will amaze you.
The Legend of Palani
There are two versions of stories relating to Lord Murugan's stay in Palani.
First Story takes us to Mount Kailash (the abode of Shiva). Once Sage Narada visits the court of Lord Shiva and presents the 'fruit of knowledge' (a magical fruit) to the Lord. Shiva decided to divide the fruit for his two sons but the sage warns him against it. So he gives a challenge to Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthikeya. According to that, whoever circulates the universe thrice and reaches first will be the winner. Karthikeya leaves to fullfil the challenge whereas Ganesha stays back. He circumambulates Lord Shiva-Parvathi thrice and says they are the world for him. Pleased by this, Lord Shiva presents the fruit to Lord Ganapathi.
Beautiful Entrance of the Temple
Karthikeya returns after the expedition to see that winner is already decided. Angered that his efforts went in vain, Lord Karthikeya leaves his home and settles in Palani. He comes here as a teenager who wants to learn about life. It is said that Lord Murugan grew up here at Palani.
Another story again takes us to Mount Kailash. Once all the gods and sages came to Kailash which made the earth to tilt in one direction. So, Lord Shiva requested Sage Agastya to go towards South in order to balance the earth. The sage ordered a demon to carry two-hills and move to South. He rested the hills at a place but couldn't lift it again. The demon sees a boy standing on top of the hill and understands why he is not able to lift it again. That boy is Lord Karthikeya who tells the demon to leave those hills there. Today, this place is named as Palani which has two hills.
Lord Karthikeya's Mount - Peacock
Murugan Temple in Palani
The main idol is said to be the creation of Sage Bogar whose shrine can be seen inside the Murugan Temple. It is said that the old temple was lost under the woods for some years and it was revived during the time of Chera Dynasty. A King of Chera Dynasty searched the shrine and restored the original idol. A temple was also built around the sanctum of the Lord Karthikeya.
Today, it is popularly known as Palani Murugan Temple. Interestingly, the original idol is said to be made of an mixure of nine poisons (navapashanam) which have medicinal qualities.
Daily poojas and rituals are followed in the temple. Abhishekam (ritualistic bath of the idol) is the prominent ritual which is performed 4 times a day. Lord Murugan is also dressed up in different ways after the abhishekam. Devotees who have wished for something come here with Kavadi (carrying two boxes of sacred water or prasadam) on their shoulders. It is one of the famous traditions followed in Murugan Temple.
The large temple complex also houses the shrines of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi, Lord Ganesha and Sage Bogar. Tonsuring and offering the hair to Lord Murugam is another famous practise followed by the devotees.
How to Reach Palani
Click - How to Reach
Overall, a visit to Palani Murugan Temple is a must in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most powerful temples of Murugan. Interesting legends and local history makes it even more exciting to visit this shrine.