Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple

Arruppadai Veedu is something that is sacred and very close to the hearts of devotees and followers of Murugan (Lord Subrahmanya). You can click here to know more about the Arruppadaiveedu Yatra presented by Pureprayer. Arruppadaiveedu 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.

Let’s continue our Yatra (SpiRitual Journeys) with Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple and learn about this Kshetra.

About Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple:

Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is located about 10 km from the Temple-Town of Madurai. This is one of the Arruppadai Veedu Kshetras dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya also known as Kartikeyan and Murugan.

The meaning of Thirupia paran kundram is turned to the other side. This is because of the fact, the temple in a dilapidated state was rebuilt in the opposite direction. Thiruparankundram is the region where Murugan wed Daivanai (Devasena) the daughter of Lord Indra after the successful campaign against Surapadman.

Historical Background:

Thiruparankundram Murugan temple is one of the many temples whose origins are buried in antiquity. As many as 41 inscriptions have been found here. The temple has been constructed cutting in to the rock. It is believed to belong to the period of Pandyans’ reign in the 6th Century CE. Nayaks of Madurai have also contributed to this temple during 17th Century CE.

This temple has been mentioned in the Sangam period work composed by Nakkeerar. Another saint from 15th Century CE, Arunagirinathar mentions about this temple. Nakkeerar sang Thirumurgatruppadai in praise of Lord Kartikeya. When he wished to have a holy dip in Gange, Murugan hit a rock with his Vel (weapon of Lord Subrahmanya) and Gange sprang from it. This never going dry spring is atop the hill.

Puranic Background:

Skanda Purana is dedicated to the birth of Lord Kartikeya (Murugan) to conduct Surasamharam. Lord Subrahmanya (Murugan) conducted campaign against a demon king called “Surapadman” and defeated him at six places. Lord Murugan wed Daivanai (Devasena) in this region. Hence, it is considered very auspicious to perform Marriages here.

Amritavalli, a daughter of Lord Vishnu is said to have gone to Lord Indra as per Murugan’s instructions. Indra instructed ‘Airavat’ to take care of her. This is the legend behind the name Daivanai. Tirupparankunram is also mentioned in legend as ‘the place where Sun and Moon abide’. Six sons of Parashar who were cursed to become fish got redemption from Lord Murugan here. 

Temple Architecture:

Thiruparankundram Murugan temple is a mesmerising sculptural work, built into a granite hill which was referred to as Vimanagiri during 6th Century CE. Kashi Vishvanathar temple has been built on the top of the hill. This temple is about 1050ft above the sea level. The temple entrance has a huge 150 ft high Raja Gopuram. Eleven sacred springs are in this temple. Devotees take holy dip here as a cure for skin related problems. They even offer pepper and salt as a part of worship. Another tradition followed by devotees here is that of Girivalam on the days of full moon. Presiding image is Lord Shiva called Parangirinathar. Goddess Parvati is called Avudai Nayagi. Durga, Vinayaka, Shiva and Vishnu are installed here. All the images are believed to have been carved out of the same rock, the temple has been built into. The images of Brahma, Indra, Surya, Chandra, Sri Devi and Bhoodevi carved on the walls adorn the interiors of the temple.

Many rock panels depicting Lord Shiva performing the blissful Cosmic Dance can be seen here. Other noteworthy features are the Brahmi inscriptions.

Nayaks of Madurai are said to have been the architects behind the developments in 17th Century CE. Asthana Mantapam, Ardha Mantapam, Maha Mantapam and Kambatthadi (below Dhvajastambha) Mantapam are some of the marvellous works of Nayaks, the chieftains of Vijayanagar Empire. Mukhamantapam with 48 ornately carved pillars is fascinating. All these Mantaps are at different levels. A 30 metre long tunnel has been found near the Kambatthadi Mantapam.

A special feature of this temple is the shrine for nine guards, who were born to help Murugan in the battle of Surasamharam. They are, Veerabahu, Veerakesari, Veera Mahendra, Veera Maheshwara, Veera Raksha, Veera Martanda, Veera Angada, Veera Dheera and Veera Suran.

When is the best time to visit the temple?

Thiruparankundram Murugan temple is visited by devotees through-out the year. However, the climate is said to be pleasant during October through December. Temple festivals take place during the months of February, May, July and October.

What are the festival dates in Thiruparankundram?

Panguni Uthiram festival occurring in the month of February or March is celebrated with a great pomp. Vaikasi Vishakham occurring in May or June during the birth star (Vishakha) of Murugan is a fourteen-day festival ending with Car festival called Brahmotsavam. All the days of Krittika star are celebrated at this temple. Skanda Shashthi celebration during December is another big draw. Surasamharam festival also attract a huge crowd here. Karthikaideepam is an important celebration in Thruparankundram Murugan temple. Bharanideepam is lit on the day of Bharani star during Karthikamaas (Occuring in October or November).

What is nearby Thiruparankundram Murugan temple?

Pazhlamudircholai Murugan temple:

Pazhlamudircholai Murugan temple is another Aarruppadaiveedu temple dedicated to Lord Murugan and located about 32 km from Thiruparankundram.

Azhagar Kovil:

Azhagar Kovil is about 30 Km from Thiruparankundram temple. This Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Alagar or Azhagar). The temple is situated on a hill with a panoramic view. The hill is known as Solaimalai. The temple also contains beautiful carvings. Palamudirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya is located atop the hill.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple:

Madurai Meenakshi Temple is about eight kilometres from Murugan temple. This landmark temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati on the banks of Vagai River dates back to as early as First Century CE.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace:

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is at about 8 Km from Thiruparankundram temple.  This palace was built in 1636. The palace is famous for the stucco-work on its domes and arches. The Sorgavilasam (Celestial Pavilion) constructed entirely of brick and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder, is a marvelous example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Other striking features of the palace are the massive white pillars, several of which line the corridor that runs along the courtyard. These pillars are 20m in height and have a circumference of 4m.

 

To be continued