Arruppadai Veedu is something that is sacred and very close to the hearts of devotees and followers of Murugan (Lord Subrahmanya). Know more about 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 Swamimalai Murugan Temple and learn about this Kshetra.
About Swamimalai Murugan Temple:
Swamimalai Murugan Temple also known as ‘Thiruveragam’ on the banks of a tributary to Kaveri River, dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya (Kartikeyan) is located about 8 km from the Temple-Town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu state. The temple is situated on an artificially created hillock about sixty feet high. A thick, high wall around the temple-complex mutes out the sounds and hustle-bustle of the outside mundane world. This ancient Murugan temple with history of more than 20 centuries is said to have suffered severe damages during the Anglo-French wars (Also called Carnatic wars) and had to be rebuilt later.
How the hillock of Swamimalai came into existence is an interesting tale from Puranas. When Girija Kalyana (Wedding of Parvati with Lord Shiva) took place, Sage Agastya had to come down to south. He brought a demon named Ettumban who carried two mountains along with him, in the present-day Swamimalai region, Ettumban put down these mountains to take rest. Afterwards, he could not move one mountain much to his dismay. He found that a small boy was atop the mountain and hence, he was unable to lift it. A battle ensued and Agastya recognized the boy was none other than Kumara Swamy (Murugan) and prayed to him. Murugan ordered that the mountain to remain in its place and asked Ettumban to carry the other to the Thiru Avinkudi (Pazhlani) region. Later when Lord Murugan imparted Pranava Mantra to his father (Lord Shiva), the region earned the title of ‘Swamimalai’.
The temple consists of three Prakarams (corridors) and three entrances has many deities installed. Four Teerthams adorn this large temple. Netra Pushkarini, Vajra Teertham, Saravana Teertham and Kumaradhara are the water bodies.
Meenakshi Sundareswarar has been consecrated in the base of the hillock and called Keezhl-Koyil. In the middle Prakaram, you will find a Mantapam dedicated to sage and poet, Arunagirinathar. The Mantapam is decorated with Rathabandham, a unique form of poetry in a picture. He sang many songs known as ‘Thiruppugal’ about Murugan here. The idol of Nataraja installed in the middle Prakaram performing the Cosmic Dance is awe-inspiring. Performing meditation in this open to air pavilion which is underneath the Kodimaram (Meaning: Dhwajastambha) can be a divine experience. Murugan has been consecrated in the sanctum, enclosed in the inner Prakaram atop the hillock called Mel-Koyil. The six-foot high image of Kumara Swamy holding his Velayudham (Weapon) is very captivating.
Importance of Swamimalai:
Swamimalai is all about the guiding light or Guru, has been expressed in many forms. The sixty steps to the temple defining the Sixty-Year cycle of time is based on the movement of Gurugraha (Planet Jupiter). That Murugan teaches and brings out the importance and inner meaning of the Pranava Mantra to his father Lord Shiva, is bringing out the qualities of the guide. Even a child can be your teacher. Elephant and not the peacock is his vehicle here to Lord Murugan.
Other images installed here are Srivalli, Devasena, Dakshinamurthy, Durga, Chandikeswarar, Navagrahas, Kartaveeryarjuna and Ettumban.
Swamimalai is referred to as Anahata Chakra among the six places and related to the heart which leads and directs.
Vinayagar (Lord Ganapati) installed in the Swamimalai Murugan temple is called Netra Vinayagar. A small legend describes that, Sage Bharadhwaja once advised a person named Sumathi, who had lost his eyesight, to take a dip in the Pushkarini and pray to Ganapati (Vinayagar) in the Swamimalai temple premises. He followed the Rishi’s instructions. He took a dip in the Pushkarini and by the time he reached the precincts where Vinayagar was installed, his eyesight got restored.
Devotees visit Swamimalai Murugan temple seeking his grace and benevolence on matters like ailments, ill-effects indicated by Jatakam (horoscope), land and property related matters and many others. Those with Janma Nakshatram (Birth-star) of Chitra, Dhanishtha and Mrigashira are advised visiting here to better their life prospects. Please click here to learn more about Puja-Homa-Pariharas offered by Pureprayer.
How Murugan came to be called Swaminathan?
Sage Bhrigu once made a Sankalpam (Meaning: Vow) to perform a TapaH (Meaning: Penance) and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma-the creator that if anyone tries to disturb him when he is performing penance he forget everything. The heat and radiation generated from his penance started burning and troubling all the fourteen worlds. Gods requested Lord Shiva to do something to save the worlds from the unbearable pain. Lord Shiva came down to the place where Bhrigu was in deep meditation and covered Bhrigu’s head with his palm to prevent the radiation from rising. Shiva’s mind became a total blank. Lord became oblivious of all his knowledge and is said to have regained them by learning the Pranava mantra from Lord Murugan at this shrine.
Since Dakshinamurthy, an Avatar (incarnation) of Lord Shiva is the Guru (Meaning: Guide), Lord Subrahmanya came to be called Guru’s Guru (Tilte of Swaminathan) because of helping Lord Shiva regain all his knowledge.
When the Creator was imprisoned:
Another legend is about Brahma losing his position of creation. Once Lord Brahma was visiting Kailash and in the hurry he did not notice Kartikeyan. He decided to teach the creator a lesson. He called Brahma and asked him how he begins the creation. Brahma replied saying he begins with the Pranava Mantra (Aum). Murugan asked him to explain the Mantra in detail. Brahma’s replies did not satisfy him. He imprisoned Brahma and told him he cannot continue the creation till he completely understands Pranava. Kartikeyan continued Lord Brahma’s creation work. All the Gods were terrified of Murugan’s act and brought this to Lord Shiva’s notice. Shiva called Murugan and found out all the things that took place. He ordered Murugan to release Lord Brahma and asked him to teach the creator everything about Pranava. It is said, that, Lord Subrahmanya created many good things during this period of Brahma’s imprisonment.
When is the best time to visit the temple?
Swamimalai 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 festivals in Swamimalai Murugan temple?
Brahmotsavam, Skanda Shashthi and Subrhmanya Kalyanotsav are the major festivals in Swamimalai Murugan temple. Skanda Shashthi celebration during the Shuklapaksha (Meaning: Bright fortnight) in the Tamil month of Aippasi that occurs in October or November is another big draw. Dates of Krittika Nakshatram every month are special here. Devotees perform Kavadis during the Aadi Maas (Ashadhamaas) that occurs in July or August. Vibhuti Abhishekam is witnessed by devotees here.
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 festival ending with Car festival called Brahmotsavam.
What is nearby Swamimalai Murugan Temple?
Kumbakonam being a temple-town, is home many famous and ancient temples. Kumbheswarar temple in Kumbakonam is one such preferred destination.
Garbharakshambigai temple is located in Thirukarukavur about 17 km from Swamimalai and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Devotees seeking protection during the period of pregnancy visit here.
Tanjavur Maratha Palace also known as ‘Aranmanai’, is located about 35 km from Swamimalai. This was built during Nayaks’ regime under Vijayanagar Empire. Tanjavur Palace was occupied by Bhonsle family and continues to be their official residence. Chola-Bronze collection on display here draws a lot of visitors to this palace. Saraswati Mahal is a museum popular as temple of knowledge and hosts several manuscripts and many ancient books.
To be continued
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