PATHA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE - HILL TEMPLE ENTRANCE : Come to entrance in the base of the hill and you can see a north facing temple. Here three Vinayagars are housed instead of one. They have to be worshipped before three acts. One is going round the hill, the second is going up the hills and having darshan of Dandayudapani, and the third is fulfillment of various vows undertaken by a devotee. For the above three Vinayagars came to be called Patha Vinayagars. Let us bow before all the three Vinayagars to have the grace of all.
VANA DURGA TEMPLE - GIRI VALAM : The Vinayagar at the right side of the entrance attracts larger number of devotees. In the Arda Mandapa, apposite to us one in Yoga pose bleese us and he is the Dandapani Swamy, graced by the potent Durga. Attired in yellow cloth, Durga stands majestically. An awesome face. That she is not aggressive is disclosed by the kumkum receptacle held in her left hand. The upraised right hand holds the trisula. Her sixteen arms wields a variety of arms and her legs on a lion's head. As she guards the forest-Vana -of Muruga, she is called Vana Durga.
BHOGAR SAMATHI (shrine) - HILL TEMPLE : Bhogar is a well known Siddhar who made the idol of Lord Muruga at the hill temple. His guru is Kalanginaathar believed to be a Chinese and his disciple is Pulippani siddhar (whose Samadhi is in Thirupattur near Trichy covered in my Blog). Bhogar is an expert in siddha medicine and it is said that as per the last wishes of his guru, Bhogar proceeded to China to spread the knowledge of siddha sciences. His journey is said to have been made with the aid of an aircraft; he demonstrated to the Chinese the details of the construction of the aircraft and later built for them a sea-going craft using a steam engine. The details of these and other experiments demonstrated by Bhogar in China are clearly documented in the Saptakanda.
THIRU AVINANKUDI TEMPLE - SANNATHI ROAD : The Temple is about 2000 years old. Nakkirar in his Thirumurugattrupadai has praised this Sthals as third Padai Veedu. The holy tree of this Sthala is Amlaka. Velavi Koman, a feudatory chief was the ruler in the Sangam period. The classical Ahananooru speaks very highly of him. Vakisa Kalanidhi K.V.Jagannadan has opined that Podini must have been changed in to Palani and how apt it is. 'Avi' is the general name of a clan, like Chera, Chola, etc. Becouse they ruled small territories, they were called Velirs; as they belonged to Vellala caste they were known as Velirs; becouse of their philanthropic nature they came to be called Velirs; as they aided the kings in battle they were known as Velirs; Muruga too is called Vel. And instead of calling their ruler merely as Velir, they called him as Nedu Vel Avi. This place was once a big city. Nakkirar in jhis Tirumurugattrupadai only in this Padaiveedu, describes in 18 lines about several sages who worshipped here and about them, their thoughts and feelings. Finally when he praises them as having bodies without illness. We understand the medicinal nature of this place and of the existence of Siddhars. he adds "Devars". Moolavars and others from heaven come here and bow.
PERIYA NAYAGI AMMAN TEMPEL - PALANI TOWN : Another important temple going by the name of town temple, dedicated to Mother Periya Nayaki Amman, the local name for Parvathimatha, the august goddess of that illustrious Son Muruga. The temple is quite big and build in the south Indian architectural pattern. There are many mini shrines for Saivate Gods, like Muthukumaraswamy, Nataraja, Vinayaka etc. The Mother's temple is on the southern side of the Murugan, and the Kailasanatha temple is on the northern side. Close observation reveals that it was originally built for Muruga, and later the Mother's sheine and Kailasanatha shrine were added. So the Murugan koil is buffered by the shrine of his parents. Furthermore the flog staff and Mayura, the mount of Muruga are in frount of Murugan shrine. Any way, this method of Murugan seated in the centre with parents to his right and left is called Somaskanda Moorthi.
PERU UDAYAR TEMPLE - KOTHAIMANGALAM, PALANI : Peru-Udayar (called Periya Avudayar Kovil) is by far the most important and deserves special mention. Located near the railway line on the banks of the shanmuga Nadi in sylvan setting, it is about four kilometres from the bus-stand reached by two stages, by buses going on the Old Dharapuram road for three kilometres and by walking one kilometre from the arch on that road. It is convenient to go by a taxi or auto rickshaw and alight at the doors of the temple. In the evening and in the pre-dawn period, sounds of birds are heard and if you have a tape-recorder, you cannot afford to miss recording these. The air here is unpolluted and good breeze can be had. The Devasthânam has put up a Kalyana Mandapam behind the temple. The temple is dedicated to Peru Udayar or Brihadeesvarar a name that became a legend in the days of the great Raja Raja Cholo. The deity here is a swayambhu linga (i.e. naturally formed lingam) and so, local belief is that it existed even before Bhogar. Only male gods are found in the temple. A majestic figure of Dakshinamûrti, a rare Rudran and other gracious images in stone, as also the 16 old inscriptions should be taken note of.
Every temple celebrated certain days held dear to the Archamurthi together with those responsible for building and expanding of the temple, wherein the adorable murtiabides and displays his powers for making his children progress on righteous path. Here in this temple, many kinds of periodical celebrations take place. Why the temple calendar is over crowded with big red dots indicating the innumerable auspicious days of the temple. Though every day is a festival day here with various kinds of programs and offering of sevas to the lord, certain days are deemed very auspicious and they draw lakes of devotees from far and near, when the whole hill metamorphoses into Bhulokaswarga. Of the gala days, Panguni Uthiram, Thaipoosam, Kandasasti, Agni Nakshatram take precedence over the rest of days, like Vaikasi Visakam, Thai Amavasya, Tamil New Year day, Margali Masa Special sevas ect,. Every year, there are many minor festivals and a few major festivals are conducted at Palani. Agni Nakshatram, Kandhar Shasti, Thirukkarthigai, Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthiram are the major festivals, which are attended by pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka and other states. This attendance of devotees indicates the National integration of the country.
PALANI IMPORTANT FESTIVALS
KANDHAR SHASTI (SOORA SAMHARAM : This is a very important festival at Palani, during the 6 days in the month of Aippasi (7th Tamil month). This is based on the mythological story of Lord Muruga Killing the demons. On this day only (once in a year) the Lord comes down the Hill, and after vanquishing the demons, ascends the Hill again. This is associated with Kandhar Shasti. The four demons (Gajamugan, Tharagan, Singamugan and Surapadman) are won by the Lord. It is a grand sight to see the dramatic representation of this. On this day devotees observe total fasting as they consider that this will offset all their sins.
THIRUKKARTHIGAI : From Thirugnanasambandar’s statement “Ancient Karthigai day”, we known about the age-old practice of this festival. It falls on Karthigai Day in the Tamil month of Karthigai. It is celebrated for 10 days and daily “Chinna Kumarar” goes in procession in the small golden carriage. On Karthigai day, he goes in the Golden Car. On the 10th day, woman devotees light lamps and worship Murugan. This is done in Thiruvavinankudi, Periyanayagi Amman Temple and the Hill Temple.This is a very important day for devotees. Every month also, an Karthigai day, devotees visit Palani.
THAI POOSAM : This is a very important festival , associated with pilgrimage to Palani. Devotees from Tamil Nadu reach Palani by foot (Pada Yathra) and worship. Begining with flag-hosting at Perianayagiamman Temple, this festival runs on for 10 days. Kavadi of various types (with holy water, sugar, flowers, tender co-conuts, etc., ) are offered to Murugan at Palani. On the 6th day, there is procession of Lord Muruga with Valli and Deivanai in the Silver Car. During this, Kavadi dance and rural musical-dance are performed. On the 7 th day there is “Thai Thaer” (wooden Car) and thousands of devotees participate in this. On the 7th day “Chinna Kumarar” goes round in His Golden Car.
PANGUNI UTHIRAM : This also is a very important festival here, and is celebrated for 10 days, devotees carry Kavadies with holy water (from sacred rivers), sugar, tender co-conut etc. During these 10 days, we can see various rural dances like ”Oyilattam, Thappattam, Dhidumattam, Velanattam, Samiyattam”etc., along with rural songs. The rural music is an important part of Paunguni uthiram festival. The main feature of Panguni Uthiram is the offering of “Theertham” (Posts of Holy water) from Kodumudi. Lord Palaniandavar is given abhishekam with this holy water. The devotees carrying Kavadi to Palani sing Kavadi - songs throughout their ‘Padayathra’ and these songs are ancient oral songs. On the 1st day, there is flag hoisting at Thiruvavinankugi Temple and on all the 10 days Lord Muthukumara Swamy with Sri Valli and Sri Deivanai goes in procession around the Palani Hill. On the 7th day there is “Car Festival” and this is attended by thousands of devotees. During these days the Lord also is given special reception and pooja at many ‘mandapams’ in the Palani Adivaram area. It is a grand sight to see Lord Muruga with his concerts during these processions.