Aaruppadai Veedu – Thiruthani Murugan temple
Aruppadai Veedu is something that is sacred and very close to the hearts of devotees and followers of Murugan (Lord Subrahmanya). Aruppadai Veedu are the places where Murugan conducted campaign against a demon king “Surapadman” and defeated him. This is popular as Surasamhara. In honor of Murugan’s victory, temples of Murugan have been built in these six places. The six sacred places are Palani, Swamimalai, Thiruttani, Thiruchendur and Palamudircholai and Thirupparamkundram. You can click here to know more about the Arruppadaiveedu Yatra presented by Pureprayer.
Kartikeya, Saravana, Shanmuga, Skanda, Kumaraswamy, Subramanya, Velayudhan are some of the names, Murugan is popularly known. The antiquity of the celebrations of Surasamhara performed, can be understood from the fact that they are mentioned in such old texts like Shilappadikaram.
Skanda Purana provides the detailed account of birth of Murugan, the defeat of Surapadma and many other related events. Surapadma, Simhamukha and Tarakasura were the sons of the Sage Kashyapa and Surasa. Surapadma was defeated by Murugan, but seeking forgiveness for his sins of troubling the dwellers of different Lokas (worlds), Surapadman was granted the honor of becoming his carrier, a peacock.
Surapadman did a very long penance to Lord Shiva. He sought a boon that no one except Shiva’s offspring, born without shiva’s union with Parvati, in any nature, could either kill or defeat him. Kartikeya was born from the third eye on the forehead and became the commander of the army that fought with the demons that led to the removal of demons. Surasamharam (or Soorasamharam) has been a part of Sangam literature. Poet Nakkeerar has witten ‘Thiru Murugarrupadai’ that mentions these sacred six abodes.
Let’s begin our Yatra with Thiruthani Murugan temple.
Thiruthani Murugan temple is about 457 km from Madurai city and about 87 km from Chennai City in Tamil Nadu State. Thiruttani is among the six sacred places famous for Murugan temples and called ‘Aaruppadai Veedu’, where Lord Subrahmanya (Murugan) conducted campaign against a demon king called “Surapadman” and defeated him.
Krittikai (Krittika) star dates are the most celebrated in this temple.
What is the importance of Thiruthani Murugan Temple?
Thiruthani (known earlier as Thiruttanigai in Tamil) Murugan temple is one of the many temples whose origins are buried in antiquity. Lord Subrahmanya shed his fury and anger in this region and went on to marry Devasena (also called as Deivanai) and Sri Valli. This temple has been mentioned in the Sangam period work of ‘Tirumurugaarruppadai’ composed by Nakkeerar. Another saint from 15th Century CE, Arunagirinathar mentions about this temple. Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, who lived in 1800s had his inspiration in Tiruttani and composed a song on Murugan.
Info on the temple:
Thiruttani Murugan temple is situated on a small hill 700ft above sea level, with a flight of 365 steps. The construction is typical of Dravidian architecture with a five-tiered Gopuram (Tower). It has four prakarams and a series of towers. The inscriptions found in the temple complex indicate that, Palavas built these temple. It was patronized by many kingdoms and empires like Cholas, Vijayanagar and Madurai Poligers (chieftains).
The temple is surrounded by several waterbodies. Brahmasonai is the pond believed to have been where Lord Brahma washed himself of all his sins. Kalhara Teertham is another pond, believed to have been created by Lord Indra. The enchanting Saravana Poigai is renowned for its sacred water with healing effect. Saptarshi teertham consists of seven springs dedicated to the seven sages.
Thiruttani is also the birthplace of India’s first vice-president and second president, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.
Lord Subrahmanya (Murugan) conducted campaign against a demon king called “Surapadman” and defeated him at six places. He shed his fury and anger when he came to the region of Thiruttani. Hence, the region also attained the name Shantipuri. According to the legend, when combating the demon Tarakasura, the discus thrown by Tarakasura hit him in the chest. A depression can be seen on the chest of Murugan’s image representing this impact.
This is also the place he wed Sri Valli and Devasena. He received the Airavat (Indra’s vehicle) as a gift.
Thiruttani Murugan temple is situated on a small hill with a flight of 365 steps. The construction is typical of Dravidian architecture with a five-tiered Gopuram (Tower). It has four prakarams and a series of towers. The temple is surrounded by a number of waterbodies. A small shrine is dedicated to Lord Ganesha here called “Aapat Sahaaya Vinayakar”, who is said to have come to the aid of Skanda in winning Sri Valli’s hand in marriage.
Lord Murugan is not holding the Velayudha (a weapon) which is closely associated with Him and with ‘Vajra Hastam’ in his right hand. His left hand is on the hip representing wisdom. When combating the demon Tarakasura, the discus thrown by Tarakasura hit him in the chest. A depression can be seen on the chest of Murugan’s image representing this impact.
Kalyana Mahotsav with Srivalli and Devasena is performed with all pomp during the Chaitramaas of Tamil Calendar. Marriage celebrations take place on two days, with wedding of Srivalli on the first day and of Devasena on the next day. The generally followed festival of Sura Samharam, celebrated during “Margazhi Shashthi” (Tamil Calendar Month of Margshisrha) occurring in November-December period is not followed here. Murugan felt very peaceful after reaching here.
The celebrations take place with using a lot of flowers to please the Lord. Elephant is Skanda’s vehicle here and not the peacock. Also, the elephant faces away from the temple looking heavenwards. A legend says that, after gifting the Airavat during the marriage of Devasena, Indra’s wealth started reducing. However, he would not take back the gift from Lord Murugan. Hence, they both agreed to the idea of making the elephant face the sky eastwards in order the wealth of Lord Indra not reduce.
The sandal paste given by the temple as Prasadam is said to have a lot of medicinal value.
An image of Bala Subrahmanya can be found in the wall of Sanctum sanctorum holding Kamandala (water pot) and Akshamala (beaded chain) in the hands representing a stage, before his wedding with Valli. Abhishekam is performed with hot water during the month of Marghazhi (December-January), lest Murugan catch cold.
Lord Murugan, wishing to marry Sri Valli, growing with Nambirajan belonging to the Kurava community came in the guise of a hunter and tried to persuade her. However, Valli tried to avoid the unknown hunter. An elephant appeared out of nowhere and started in her direction. Scared of a charging elephant, she embraced the hunter. All her illusions vanished because of this. She agreed to wed Lord Murugan. This is celebrated as Valli Kalyanam.
BHAIRAVAR WITH FOUR DOGS:
Bhairavar installed here with four dogs representing the four Vedas, is prayed seeking academic excellence. Many devotees offer worship to Bhairavar seeking his benevolence.
What is the best time to visit Thiruthani Murugan temple?
Thiruttani Murugan temple can be visited throughout the year. However, the weather is said to be pleasant during the months of November through February being the winter. Also the auspicious days of Kruttikai (Kruttika star), days of Shashthi (sixth day of Tamil calendar),
Bhramotsavam in the Maghamaas (month of Maasi) that occurs in February and March, is another great occasion to visit. Celebrations take place for ten days and includes the Kalyanotsav event taking place on two days. Aadimaas (month of Ashadha in the Hindu calendar), Kartikamaas are special to the devotees of Lord Murugan (Subramanya).
To be continued