Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Murugan||Ambal / Thayar:||Valli, Deivanai|
|Deity:||Murugan||Historical name:||Pazhamuthir Cholai|
|Vriksham:||Naaval||Teertham:||Noopura Ganga Teertham|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 12 to 6||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Arupadai veedu||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Alagar Koil||District:||Madurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Madurai (29 km)||Sivaganga (37 km)|
|Dindigul (48 km)||Karaikudi (76 km)|
Alagar hills are located just north of Madurai, about 30-60 minutes drive from the city.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Pazhamuthir Cholai located north of Madurai on a hill covered with dense forests, is one of the six Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan.
Pazhamudir Cholai gets its name from the fact that the land on the hill and its surrounding regions are very fertile, resulting in several varieties of fruit trees growing on the hill itself.
This temple is also the site of the story of Avvaiyar and Lord Murugan as a shepherd boy. Avvaiyar was traveling by foot in the hot weather, on her way to Madurai. She halted at this place for a while, as she was tired, hungry and thirsty. Murugan understood her plight but also wanted to be playful. So He took the form of a shepherd boy and sat on top of a Jamun (naval in Tamil) tree. He then asked Avvaiyar if she wanted some fruits. The lady poet said yes, and Murugan asked her if she wanted roasted or plain fruits (sutta pazham and sudaatha pazaham). This was a strange question, as fruits are normally not roasted, so Avvaiyar said she wanted the plain ones. Murugan shook the tree resulting in many fruits falling to the ground. Avvaiyar picked them up and below on them to dust them. Murugan asked her if the fruits were hot, and to be careful to cool them before she ate them. The wordplay He used for this, struck Avvaiyar as to His brilliance, and she saw that it was Murugan himself who had come to teach her the way of life to discard all worldly ties in order to realize God.
Lord Murugan as Subrahmanyan stays here with both his wives – Valli and Deivanai. Originally there was only a spear as the moolavar, and was only much later that Murugan and his consorts were installed here as deities.
The garbhagriham has three parts:
– Murugan with Valli and Deivanai in the middle,
– Vinayakar on the left as we face the garbhagriham. and
– Aadi Vel (the primordial spear) on the right.
Arunagirinathar has sung of the Lord Murugan here, in his Tiruppugazh.
It is said that Azhagar Koil was the original location of the Murugan temple as well, but was relocated to the hills during the reign of Tirumalai Nayakar (Nayaks dynasty) of Madurai.
Other information for your visit
A special darshan queue is available for about Rs 50 or Rs 100, which takes one very close to the garbhagriham. If devotees use this and visit around the time of one of the kala pujas, they can get a seat just outside the garbhagriham, and worship the deities from up close.
The temple is open from 6 am to 6 pm continuously. The main shrine is never closed during this time, except for the aspects of puja that require the screen to be drawn.
The Kallazhagar temple (Divya Desam temple of Lord Vishnu) is at the base of the hills. Associated with this temple is the Rakkayi Amman temple – protector of Lord Vishnu during the night time – and the Noopura Gangai that flows under Her feet. These are located a few hundred metres further up the hill from the Murugan temple.
Accommodation for all budgets is available in and around Madurai.