» »Aarupadai Veedu - The Six Abodes Of Lord Muruga In Tamil Nadu

Aarupadai Veedu - The Six Abodes Of Lord Muruga In Tamil Nadu

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Pilgrimage trips are very common in India; some of these trips make you cross mountains, forests and many other such extreme conditions to reach the abodes of the various gods and goddesses across the country. One such pilgrimage trip, which is less challenging, is the visit to the six shrines dedicated to Lord Muruga in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

These six abodes are called Aarupadai Veedu which in translation means the "six war houses of the Lord". These six abodes attract thousands of followers from across the world, although there are countless temples dedicated to Muruga, who happens to be the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi. In Tamil Nadu, these six specific temple are considered very important amongst the devotees and hence, deserve a special mention. Muruga is also known in various names, such as Karthikeya, Subramanya, Kumaran, etc. Have a look at his six holy shrines and visit them.

1. Thiruparankundram

1. Thiruparankundram

PC: Official Site

Located on the outskirts of Madurai, Muruga is worshipped as Subramaniyan at the shrine here. The temple is a cave temple which is located upon a hillock which is was built in the 8th century by a king named Maravarman Sundara Pandiyan. The place is believed to be the spot where Murugan was married to Deivayanai, who happens to be the daughter of Lord Indra, as a gratitude to Murugan over the victory of the demon king Surapadman.

2. Thiruchendur

2. Thiruchendur

PC: Official Site

The shrine at Thiruchendur was built to mark the victory of Murugan over the demon king Surapadman. Located in the Tuticorin district, it is the only temple out of the six temples dedicated to Muruga which is located near a seashore while the other five are located in hilly regions.

According to legends, after the killing of Surapadman, Lord Muruga wanted to thank his father Shiva, for which the divine architect Mayan was summoned and he constructed the shrine. Even now one can see Muruga in the posture of offering prayers to his father.

3. Palani

3. Palani

PC: Official Site

The Palani Murugan Temple is known as Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, since the lord here is worshipped as Dhandayuthapani or the the one who is holding a staff in his hand. Located in the Dindigul district, the temple was built in the 9th century by the Chera king Cheraman Perumal. The idol of Muruga here is made of a mixture of nine poisonous substances which also worked as medicines when mixed at a certain ratio by a saint named Bhogar.

According to legends, Sage Narada visited Lord Shiva in his abode and presented him a fruit which was considered as the fruit of knowledge. Shiva decided to hold a competition amongst his two sons, Ganesha and Muruga, and the fruit would be given to the first one to arrive after circling the world. Muruga accepts the challenge and quickly mounts his vahana, the peacock, to begin his journey around the world.

Ganesha in turn said to Shiva that for him the entire world is his parents and he would circumambulate them. This clearly made him the winner and Shiva awarded the fruit to him. When Muruga returned he found that his elder brother had already won the fruit, which came as a big disappointment to him and so he left Kailash and stood atop the Palani Hills.

4. Swamimalai

4. Swamimalai

PC: Official Site

Also known as Swaminatha Swamy Temple, Swamimalai lies at a close proximity to the temple town of Kumbakonam. It is believed that the shrine was built by the King Parantaka Chola I in the 2nd century BC; it is located atop a hillock and to reach the shrine, one has to climb 60 steps which are named after 60 Tamil years.

Muruga here is known as Balamurugan and as Swaminatha Swami. The temple is considered as the place where Muruga preached the meaning of the Pranava Mantra to his father Shiva. Hence, the place is abode to the unique form where the son is the teacher and the father is the student. Another uniqueness you would come across is that an elephant is his vehicle instead of the peacock in the sanctum; it believed the elephant is Airavatha which was gifted to Muruga by Indra.

5. Thiruthani

5. Thiruthani

PC: Official Site

The Thiruthani Murugan Temple is also known as Sri Subrahmanya Swami Kovil and is located on a hillock. The temple is located about 700 ft above sea level and devotees are bound to climb 365 steps to reach the shrine, the 365 steps represent the 365 days of the year.

The temple has a quite a number of legends associated with it, one amongst them is that Muruga is believed to have taken rest atop the hill in order to calm himself down after killing the demon king Surapadman at Thiruchendur.

Another legend states that Indira gave his daughter Devayani in marriage to Muruga and as a gift, gave him his elephant Airavata. Indra noticed that his wealth was dropping after Airavata left, Muruga offered to return the elephant but was refused by Indira and instead insisted that the elephant face his direction and hence, the image of the elephant at the temple also faces the east and not the deity.

6. Pazhamudircholai

6. Pazhamudircholai

PC: Unknown

Also known as Solaimalai Murugan Temple, the Pazhamudircholai Temple is located near the city of Madurai. Since time immemorial, the Vel, which is the weapon of Lord Muruga has been worshipped as the presiding deity in the shrine. Lord Murugan here is known as Kurinji Nilam Kizhavan and stands along with his consorts Valli and Devayani, which makes it the only temple amongst the six abodes where he blesses his devotees along with his consorts.

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