AARU PADAI VEEDU – One of the six Army Camp Temples is Thiruparankundram

by Saras Chelladurai Posted on 37 views 0 comments

Thiruparankunram is known for its ancient temple of Lord Murugan and it is the first among the Six Abodes of Lord Murugan. It is the second most visited tourist places in Madurai, the first of course is the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Thiruparankundram  is 6 kilometers from Madurai Junction. The nearest airport is Madurai Airport which is 11 kilometres away.

“Godess Deivayanai was offered to Lord Muruga for protecting the Devas from the terror strikes of demon Soorapadman.”

Thirupurankundram is one of the six Army Camp Temples (Aaru Padai Veedu), this is the only temple where abishek is performed for Vel weapon of Lord Muruga. Five deities – Sathyagiriswarar (Shiva), Pavalakanivai Perumal (Vishnu) Karpaka Vinayaka, Subramaniar and Durgambika – grace from one cave temple

The Murugan Temple at Thiruparankundram is an example of this cult of devotion, one of the 6 most important pilgrimage sites for Hindu devotees of the deity. Situated on top of a scenic Thiruparankundram hills, this temple and the surrounding region is rich with its own share of myth and legends.
“One of the six Army Camp Temples (Aaru Padai Veedu), this is the only temple where abishek is performed for Vel weapon of Lord Muruga.”

THE LEGEND

Wooden Arupadai Murugan Photo Frame (25.4 cm x 30.4 cm, Brown)
Arupadai Murugan

According to myths, Lord Murugan came to this hill after fighting the six battles against evil Rakshasas (demons), to finally save the heavens from the rakshasa, Soorapadman. A severe battle was fought in Thiruparamkundram where Muruga killed all the sons of the demon except Iraniyan. The Rakshasa hid under the sea and Lord Muruga split him into two pieces, which went on the become the divine vehicles, peacock and rooster. The day when Muruga slayed Surapadma is celebrated as Skanda Sashti festival in all the Murugan temples. It is here that he married Goddess Deivayanai, the daughter of Lord Indra, who was given to him as a reward for his victory of evil forces. All arrangements for marriage were made and the marriage was performed at the Tirupparankunram temple. All the devas, Siva and Parvathi attended the marriage and blessed Subrahmanya and Deivayanai. Since then, the temple has become a very famous abode of Subrahmanya. It is this strand of the myth that makes the temple a popular and sacred marriage location, especially during the festival of marriages, Pankuni Uttiram, held towards the latter half of March every year.

THE ARCHITECTURE

Between 16th and 18th centuries, during the reign of the Pandyas and the Nayaks,  the temple got its beautiful gopurams (or gateways) and pillars carved intricately with the lotus-pattern. In the temple there are separate shrines dedicated to Shiva, Ganapathy, Durga, Vishnu and other deities. At the entrance to the temple there are 48 pillars with artistic carvings. The rock-cut temple of Subramaniya here is thronged with pilgrims on all days of special worship. Its innermost shrine is cut out of a solid rock.The history of this temple can be found from the inscriptions on the walls of the temple. The Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam, the three halls leading to the sanctum, are situated at varying elevation. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock.
A notable feature of this temple is that the Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine. Outside the temple there is tank, the fishes in the tank are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees.
There is also a Vedic school adjacent to the banks of the temple pond. In front of the Dwajasthambam, the flag staff, there is a carved Nandi Mayil (peacock) and Mouse (the vehicle of Ganesha). There is a flight of six steps called the “Shadashara Padigal”, before Ardha Mandapam. The rock carvings of Mahisshasura Mardini, Karpaga Vinayagar, Andarabaranar and Uggirar are seen in the hall. There are five divine water bodies, namely, Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Saniyasi Kinaru (well), Kasi Sunai, and Sathiya Koopam.
There is another theory that earlier to this, the Murugan temple existed much before the 6th century and converted into Jain worship centre by Jain monks under the aegis of Pandya king Koon pandiyan. The temple was later converted into a Hindu temple under the tutelage of Gajapathy, the minister of a later Pandya King, during the later part of the 8th century. The presiding deities here are Lord Murugan and Goddess Deivayanai. There is an Aasthaana Mandapa with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet (46 m) high seven-tiered rajagopuram at the entrance. The granite hill behind the temple is 1,050 ft (320 m) has a shrine of Kasi Viswanatha at the top. The image of Vinayaka in the temple in the temple is sported holding sugarcane and fruits.

HISTORY

 

Saint Sambandar, the famous Shaiva Saint of the 7th Century, has visited Thirupparamkunram and has sung Thevaram on Shiva. Gnana Sambanda has met the three Tamil chiefs, the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya in this temple and has blessed all the three of them. Sundarar and Sambandar composed the Thevara Pathigam here. Nakkirar sang many poems on Muruga. Tiruppugazh, Kandapuranam and other works speak of the glory of this shrine. Skanda Shashti festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (October – November) is the most prominent festival of the temple. Muruga killing Surapadma is enacted during the last of the six days and the festive image of Muruga is taken in different mounts around the streets of the temple during the festival.



FESTIVALS

Vaikasi Visakam in May-June, Aadi Krithikai in July-August, Purattasi Vel festival in September-October, Skanda Sashti in October-November, Tirukarithikai in November-December, Thai poosam in January-February and Panguni Uthiram in March-April are the festivals celebrated in the temple. During the festival times, flag hoisting is done only for Lord Shiva, but Lord Muruga is taken in procession as Lord Muruga is no less than Lord Shiva.

TIMINGS

The temple is open from 5.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. Worship times are morning: 5AM to 1PM and in the evening: 4PM to 9PM

There are eight kalams (time span in a day) with eight poojas daily and they are as follows :

Time span#
Name of the pooja
Time
1
Thiruvananthal
5.30 A.M
2
Vizha Poojai
7.30 A.M
3
Kalasanthi
8.00 A.M
4
Thirukaka santhi
10.00 A.M
5
Uchikalam
12.00 P.M
6
sayaratchai
5.30 P.M
7
Artha Jamam
8.45 P.M
8
Palliyarai
9.00 P.M

QUICK TIPS

They light lamps in the Durga shrine during the Rahu Kala time each day.

More Readings

Click for more detail

by Suresh HariramsaitThough modern astronomers and astro-phycisists like Stephen Hawking have their doubts about interstellar travel there are countless references to inter-dimesional travel in mostly ancient Indian texts: The ‘Kandha Puranam’ (nearlly 17 million years ago)mentions that the Asura (Titan) King ‘Sooran’ ruled over 1008 universes and had ‘vimanas’ or flying crafts that could in an instant travel all over space cutting across dimensions at tremendous speed,that could hover in mid-air,over water,disappear and re-appear all of a sudden and had a host of stealth-weapons,even ‘nuclear-winter’ is mentioned for it is said that the entire world was enveloped in darkness caused by Sooran during the war; Lord Muruga possessed the ‘Peacock Craft’ that could circumvent the ’14 worlds’ and fly beyond in a micro-second and his “missile with the lengthy flame”(nedunchudar Vel) was ‘voice-activated’ and re-useable and was so powerful that it blew up into smitherns the ‘Kraunja’ mountain which even our modern day nuclear weapons cannot do according to scientists; The Ramayana(1.7 million years ago) mentions that Emperor Ravana’s ‘Pushpaka vimana’ which he captured from ‘Kubera’ the Lord of riches in heaven could host “as many passengers as it takes”,there were stun-weapons and stealth-technology; In the Mahabharata war(3500 b.c.) nuclear weapons like the ‘brahmastra’ were used and there is mention of numerous flying crafts of the Lords (Angels) of Asuras (Titans) and Rakshasas (Demons) who all travelled to and fro from the upper and lower worlds; The ‘Sri Linga Purana’ mentions that Lord Brahma’s ‘Swan Craft’ flew and transcended the seven upper worlds while Lord Vishnu’s ‘Boar Craft’ ‘tunnelled’ though the seven lower worlds and went even beyond ‘Baathala’ the lowest plane which all reminds us of blackholes being portals and shortcuts to parallell universes which is being theoretically proved today!; More than 2500 years ago the Japanese Royal Family’s ancestors met with the ‘Sun God’ who landed on Mount Fuji and were presented with a sword and an orb which are still in the Imperial Palace in Japan; The native Indian’s forefathers living on ‘sun Island’ on lake Titicaca in South America were visited by the Sun God; The Dogon tribes of Mali have a tradition that their forefathers had sailed on a great ship that flew down form Sirius the star,but what is interesting is that they don spacesuit-like gear and celebrate their home-coming once every fifty two years which is when sirius comes in direct alignment with our world!… Read in full. 

 Author – Suresh Hariramsait,  has been dedicated to the art of yoga and Pranayama meditation for over three decades, and he has had a number of wonderful and genuine psychic experiences. Versed in both ancient Tamil texts and contemporary English-language books, he has a broad understanding of many yogic practices.

Author
Saras Chelladurai
Freelancer

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