Brihadishwarar Temple, named Rajarajeshwaram in it’s earlier days, is a temple dedicated to lord Shiva, built by the king Rajaraja Chola I and his sister, princess Kundavai, between year 1003-1010 AD is one of the greatest examples of Tamil architecture. It is built of granite, around 60,000 tons of granite is said to be used to built the temple. According to the insriptions, that are to be seen at present day, the engineer and architect behind the temple was Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan, a archari from that time, from Kerala. The interesting part is, that even the present successors of the achari still practice Vastu Sastra.
Pazhamudhircholai, one of 6 abodes of the tamil god Murugan, is located 25 km north of Madurai, and the temple of Murugan is located atop of the hill here, surrounded by beautiful forests. Unfortunately I got no pictures from this temple, as we were running out of charge for our camera. Hopefully I’ll visit this temple again 😉
We went to this temple after Trichy, and right before going to Azhagar Kovil, followed by Meenakshi Amman Kovil in Madurai.
The legend says this was the place where the tamil poet Avvaiyar was tested by Murugan, when he was a child. The well-known “Sudda Pazham Venduma, Sudaatha Pazham Venduma?” (do you want the roasted or unroasted fruit?) is from the conversation between these 2.
Lord Murugan of Pazhamudhircholai is praised in many tamil sangam literature, like Silapathikaram, Ettuthogai. This is also the only temple, where Lord Murugan stand with a single-faced posture, with both of his consents, Valli and Deivanai.
The Murugan temple in Thiruchendur is the 2nd among the 6 Abodes of Lord Murugan. Thiruchendur is located in the Thoothukudi District (Tuticorin), with the temple at the shore of Thiruchendur, in opposite to the other 5 temples. This was the last temple of all 6 Arupadai Veedu we visited. It is one of the most beautiful temples I’ve visited, and also one of the favourite temples.
Thirupparankunram is a town in the district of Madurai, and this was the temple we visited after Meenakshi Temple, that is located in Madurai.
Thirupparankunram is the first of the 6 Abodes of lord Murugan, the Arupadai Veedu, but this was the 5th of Arupadai Veedu that we went to. This is believed to be the place where lord Murugan married Goddess Deivanai, the daughter of Indra. The temple here is actually a cave-temple, situated 1050 feet above sea level, built in a hillock. The temple was built by king Maravarman Sundara Pandyan in the 8th century CE, though the temple is believed to be much elder, from the 6th century, where the Murugan temple was converted to a worship place for Jainists by Jain monks, and then later reversed to Hinduism in the 8th century, where the Pandya king built it.
The Swamimalai Temple is the 4th of the Aarupadai Veedu – the 6 temples – dedicated to the tamil deity Murugan. Swamimalai is located 5 km from Kumbakonam, and we went to this temple right after our visit to Thanjavur.
Swamimalai Temple is located on a hill with only 60 steps, each step representing the Tamil Years, as we have a cyclus of 60 years that are astronomically calculated. This temple is very important in the history of lord Murugan, as this is the place where he explained the essence of the Pranava Mantra “Om” to his father, Lord Shiva. As Murugan was a Guru to his father, the place is also referred as “Gurumalai”, and is therefore considered to be the most sacred place among all Murugan Temples. The deity is worshipped as “Swaminathan”, the lord of words.
The temple is very old, it was built in 2nd century BC by the king Parantaka Chola I. The legend behind the story of Murugan teaching his father about the essence of the Pranava Mantra is very funny, but also very interesting 😉