Of the six Army Camp Temples (Aaru Padai Veedu), this is the only temple where abishek is performed for Vel weapon of Lord Muruga. Five deities – Sathyagiriswarar (Shiva), Pavalakanivai Perumal (Vishnu) Karpaka Vinayaka, Subramaniar and Durgambika – grace from one cave temple.
Sri Subramaniaswami Temple,
Tiruparankundram – 625 005, Madurai district.
Phone: +91- 452- 248 2248, 248 2648, 98653- 70393, 98421- 93244, 94433 - 82946.
The temple is open from 5.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Vaikasi Visakam in May–June, Aadi Krithikai in July–August, Purattasi Vel festival in September–October, Skanda Sashti in October–November, Tirukarithikai in November–December, Thai poosam in January–February and Panguni Uthiram in March–April are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
The Devas appealed to Lord Shiva to protect them from the terror strikes of demon Surapanma. the Lord created Muruga from six sparks from His forehead third eye. Lord Muruga fought Surapanma, destroyed and made him a peacock for his vehicle and a cock for his flag. Indira offered his daughter Deivaniai to Muruga in marriage. The marriage took place in Tiruparankundram attended by a huge number of Rishis, Devas and Gods. Lord Muruga graces here in the wedding form. He is named Subramanya.
Of the six army camp temples (Aaru Padai Veedu) of Lord Muruga, this is the first temple. While Lord Muruga graces in a standing form in the other five army camp temples, He graces in a sitting, wedding form with His consort Deivanai. Maharshi Narada, Indira the king of Devas, Brahmma the Creator are also around Him. Goddess of Wisdom Saraswathi without Her Veena, and Savithri are by His side while Sun, Moon, Gandharvas a community in the upper world skilled in the art of music, are above Him. The other vehicles of Lord Muruga, the sheep and the elephant are below Him. Only a scented paste called punugu is applied on the Lord as this is a cave temple.
Abishek is performed only to the Vel weapon of Lord Muruga as this is a cave temple. The Vel is taken to the Kasi Viswanatha shrine in the hill on the last Saturday of Purattasi month (September–October). This is the only temple where abishek is performed to Vel. More importance is attached to Vel as the Lord came to this place victoriously after defeating the demon Surpanma with the power of this weapon. Recently, a golden car has been made for the temple.
Nakkeerar shrine: Celebrated Tamil poet laureate in Pandya's court, Nakkeerar came to this sacred place to perform penance for cleansing himself of the sin of arguing with Lord Shiva in a contest. A leaf in the tank was partially of fish form and bird form partially. As Nakkeerar saw this strange creature, his penance was disturbed. A devil (Bhoodam) had already captured 999 such persons whose concentration was disturbed during Shiva worship. The devil now took Nakkeerar its captive and made the count to 1000 round.
Poet Nakkeerar sang Tirumurugattrupadai in praise of Lord Muruga to save all the prisoners of the devil. This is the invocation song in Pathupattu (10 songs) being the first section of the 18 works of Sangam literature edited as Pathinenkeezhkanakku. Lord Muruga appeared before the poet, killed the devil, shattered the cave prison with His Vel. The poet expressed his wish to have a dip in the Holy Ganga to wash of the touch of the devil. Lord Muruga pounced on a rock with His Vel. Ganga sprang up. Nakkeerar was happy. This spring, never going dry, is at the top of the hill. Kasi Viswanathar–Visalakshi shrine is near this spring facing west. Muruga Shrine is opposite of this shrine with a place to Nakkeerar. There are sculptures of four Shivalingas, one Shiva idol, Kasi Viswanatha, Subramaniar, Ambica, Bhairava and Karpaga Vinayaka. The Panchakshara cave where Nakkeerar was locked up by the devil and Saravana Poigai are near this shrine.
9 soldiers: When Lord Shiva created Muruga from the sparks of His eye, unable to bear the heat, Mother Parvathi ran from the place, when Her anklet broke. From the pearls, came nine Shaktis called Nava Kalis. These women loved Lord Shiva and became pregnant. Knowing this, Parvathi cursed them to live with their pregnancy. The Navakalis appealed to Lord Shiva for a remedy. Lord Shiva made a compromise with Parvathi saying that they should deliver for the welfare of the world and to help Lord Muruga in his war to kill demon Surapanma. Parvathi agreed. They delivered 9 male children named Veerabagu, Veerakesari, Veera Mahendran, Veera Maheswaran, Veera Rakshan, Veera Marthandan, Veerandhagan, Veeradheeran and Veera Suran. There is a separate shrine for these nine heroes in the front hall – mandap in the temple.
Rudrabishekam to Lord Dakshinamurthy: Lord Dakshinamurthy graces with His left hand on a snake under His feet. Those afflicted with bad effects in their horoscopes, those suffering from prolonged illness offer Rudrabisheka worship in the shrine. They personify Lord Dakshinamurthy in a silver pot and engage Vedic scholars to chant the powerful and effective Rudra, Chamaha mantras for relief. The worship yields huge benefits to the devotee.
During the festival times, flag hoisting is done only for Lord Shiva, but Lord Muruga is taken in procession. As Lord Muruga is no less than Lord Shiva, it is said that this procedure is followed. Lord Muruga is also known here as Somasubramaniar (Soma–Shiva, Subramaniar–Muruga). Lord Muruga graces as Somaskanda with Shiva and Parvathi in the sanctum sanctorum behind the Shivalinga. It is also said that Lord Shiva graced Durga granting Her relief from a curse. As this Shivalinga was installed by Durgadevi, the Linga is known as Devi Lingam. As the Linga is treated with a paste called Shantakaram, no abishek is performed to Him except offering oil.
This is the temple graced by five deities, Shiva, Pavalakanivai Perumal (Vishnu),Karpaga Vinayaka, Subramaniar and Durga. Mother Durga is in north of the Main Tower– Rajagopuram–demon Mahishasura under Her feet. Left of Durga is Karpagavinayaka holding a sugarcane sitting on a lotus with sages around Him. Right of Durga is Lord Muruga in a wedding pose with Deivania facing north. Narada, Indira, Brahmma, Saraswithi without Her Veena and SAvithri are also here by Muruga's side.
Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum is facing east. Sage Madanga Mahrshi is by His side. Lord Vishnu is in the place of Nandhi the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva. Hence, the temple is known as Mal Vidai (Mal–Vishnu, Vidai–bull) temple and this is a very rare design. It is said that Lord Vishnu is serving His Brother–in–law.
The presiding deity is Lord Shiva in the temple. He graces from a Kundru –Mount, and is praised as Parankundranathar and the place Parankundram. He is also praised as Sathyagiriswarar. As it is here that Lord Muruga married Deivanai, importance is more attached to Lord Muruga and the temple became Muruga Temple in the days that followed. On the full moon day – poornima in Aani month (June–July) three fruits – mango, plantain and jack – are offered to the Lord with special pujas.
Nandi with His consort: Nandi, the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva graces with His consort Kalakandi in the Maha Mandap of the temple. There are twin Vinayakas by His side. While there will be prakaras–corridors in the temples with other deities, Tiruparankundram temple is different without these formalities. As the Mount itself is in the form of a Linga, only Girivalam is possible.