Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Subrahmanyar||Ambal / Thayar:||Deivanai|
|Vriksham:||Kallathi||Teertham:||11 Teerthams, Saravana Poigai|
|Timing:||5.30 to 12.30 & 4 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Arupadai veedu||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruparankundram||District:||Madurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Madurai (8 km)||Virudhunagar (43 km)|
|Sivaganga (59 km)||Dindigul (66 km)|
Tiruparakundram is located just outside Madurai.
Sthala puranam and temple information
This rock-cut temple is said to have been built by the Pandyas in the 6th century CE. Originally called Parankundram, the temple was at the rear of the present-day temple. However, the temple was damaged over time, and the shrines were shifted to the front, ie facing north. Since the temple “turned”, the place began to be referred to as Tirumbiya Parankundram, which later became Tiruparankundram. This temple is one of the Arupadai Veedu temples of Lord Murugan, but the temple also houses the Satya Gireeswarar (Parangirinathar) temple, a Siva temple and Paadal Petra Sthalam.
In the Skanda Puranam, Tiruparankundram is mentioned as the place where Murugan slays Soorapadman. After severe penance, Soorapadman obtained boons from Lord Siva, and started ruling the 1008 worlds with Viramkendiram, a city created in the seas, as his capital. He started troubling the devas, even imprisoning Indra. Murugan sent his messenger Veerabahu but could not achieve success. As a result, a severe battle was fought here in Tiruparankundram, where Murugan kileed all the sons of Soorapadman except Iranyan. Soorapadman hid under the sea, and Murugan split him into two pieces, which went on the become Murugan’s vehicle (peacock) and masthead (rooster). The day Murugan slayed Soorapadma is celebrated as Skanda Sashti festival in all the Murugan temples.
After the slaying of Soorapadman at Tiruchendur (also a padai veedu temple of Murugan), Indra was pleased with Murugan’s valour, and offered the hand of his daughter Deivanai in marriage to Murugan. The wedding took place here at Tiruparankundram.
Nakkeerar incurred the dosham of having argued with Lord Siva, and prayed here to Lord Murugan for succour. During his penance, he lost concentration after seeing the wonder of a half-leaf and half-fish in the nearby pond. A ghost that imprisoned devotees who faltered in their penance, got hold of Nakkeerar and imprisoned him in a cave with 999 others. To save all of them, Nakkeerar sang the Tirumurugatrupadai, which pleased Murugan, and the Lord killed the ghost and saved the people in the cave. As he was touched by the ghost, Nakkeerar wanted to bathe in the Ganga river, and so Murugan, using his spear, created a way for the Ganga to flow here. This Teertham is on top of the Tiruparankundram hill and never dries. Opposite the Teertham, devotees can see Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi. Nakkeerar has a separate shrine at this temple.
Parvathi could not stand the heat generated by the sparks that emanated from Lord Siva’s third eye, during the conception of Murugan. As she was running away, the Navaratnam (nine gems) in her anklet fell down, which became the Nava Sakthis (nine powers). These Sakthis fell in love with Lord Siva and became pregnant by the very thought of their love. An angry Goddess Parvathi cursed them not to deliver the children, but remain pregnant forever. They pleaded to Lord Siva who requested Goddess Parvathi to pardon them, and Parvati did so. The nine children who were thus born, became aides to Lord Subrahmanyan during the slaying of Soorapadman. The nine are – Veerabahu, Veerakesari, Veeramahendran, Veeramaheswaran, Veerarakshasan, Veeramarthandan, Veeranthagan, Veeradheeran and Veerasooran. All the nine are enshrined in the temple.
In what is a rare setting, the vahanams (vehicles) of the primary Gods of the temple (Siva – Nandi, Vinayakar – Mooshikam, Murugan – Peacock) are near the kodimaram (flagstaff) and Garudazhvar is opposite Murugan in the Shanmugar sannidhi.
One can find many white peacocks here and it is believed that all the devas and rishis come here in the form of the white peacocks to pray.
There is no abhishekam for Murugan here, but abhishekam is performed to his Spear and is taken to the shrine of Kasi Viswanathar on the hill top, on the last Friday of the Tamil month of Purattaasi (September-October).
The shrine of Subrahmanyar (Murugan) – which is part of the main shrine of Lord Siva – is considered one of the six Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan. It is not a separate temple.
While the other padaiveedu temples of Murugan also have shrines (sannidhis) for Lord Siva, this temple is the only one where the Naalvar (four – Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikakvasagar) have not sung on Siva.
Other information for your visit
On the street opposite the main entrance to the temple, and just before the 16-pillared mandapam (which one can see coming from Madurai, is the Sokkanathar temple. Many people miss this temple as it is not very well known. However, it is connected to the main Satya Gireeswarar temple’s history, and has some excellent architecture and idols carved in stone.
Madurai is the nearest place for accommodation for all budgets.
More pictures of the temple are in the post on the Satyagireeswarar temple, here.