There are 6 special temples in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to the god Murugan, mostly referred as the Tamil God and as the god of the mountains/hills. These 6 temples are known as Arupadai Veedu (The Six Warhouses -The Six Abodes of Murugan), very important in the hindu sect Kaumaram (the sect that worship lord Murugan only). Lord Murugan is usually referred as the son of lord Shiva. The six places are important places, and takes part in the Skanda Purana (and other tamil litteratures), that describes the story of Murugan, and how he fought against the demon, Surapadman and other important incidences.
The places/temples are listed by sequences in the story, Skanda Purana:
Thiruthani, known as Thiruthanigai in earlier times, is located 87 km from Chennai, on the hill Thanigai. Thiruthani is actually the 5th of Arupadai Veedu of the lord Murugan, but was the first Arupadai Veedu, that we visited. It is also the first tempe we went to outside Chennai (except Mahabalipuram, which is more a tourist place now than an actual temple). From here, we went to Srikalahasthi.
Thiruthani is known as the place, where Murugan married Valli, and he eventually met her in a place nearby. This was also the place, where he took rest and gained inner peace after defeated the demon, Surapadman. This hill/temple has 365 steps, referring to the 365 days of a year. Thiruthani is mentioned in one of the earliest tamil sangam literature, Thirumurugaatrupadai, written by Nakkeerar.
The lord of this temple is worshipped as Subramanyar, and his sanctum is made of 1 lakh Rudrakshas. Goddesses Valli and Deivanai are seen in their own shrines here. Thiruthani is believed to be the place, where Murugan blesses his devotees with mental peace, as this was the place where he gained inner peace himself, after the war against Surapadman. Here, Lord Murugan is seen with a scar on his chest, according to the legend as scar caused by Surapadman’s brother, Tharakasuran. Also, here the Murugan is not seen holding his weapon, the Vel. Instead he holds a Vajra Hastam in his right hand, and the left hand resting on his wrist – representing the Nyana Shakti, Power of Wisdom.
While the Sura Samharam (the war against Surapadman) is celebrated in all other Murugan Temples, this is not celebrated here, as this was the place where Murugan rested and gained inner peace. Otherwise, the Skanda Sashti Festival is celebrated here, among other festivals related to Lord Murugan.
I must admit, that visiting Arupadai Veedu is so beautiful. The experience of going up the stairs on the hills, praying to Lord Murugan, experiencing the beautiful nature and fresh air, is something you can’t get in the other temples.
Here is the view from the hill, Beautiful, isn’t it? 🙂