K.R.Pushpam Complex, Aarthi Theatre Road, Dindigul, 624001
Dindigul Tour

Dindigul Tour

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Swamy Temple of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani, Palanii

One of the Six Abodes of Murugan is the Dindigul Tour Palani Arulmigu Shri Dhandayuthapani temple. It is situated in the town of Palani in the district of Dindigul, 100 kilometers (62 mi ) south-east of Coimbatore and north-west of Madurai in the foothills of the hills of Palani, Tamil Nadu, India.

The Legend

Once, Sage Narada visited Mount Kailash’s celestial court of Shiva to present him with a fruit, the Guyana-Palam (literally, the fruit of knowledge), which contained the elixir of wisdom in it. The sage advised against cutting it after Shiva expressed his intention of dividing the fruit between his two sons, Ganesha and Murugan. Whichever of his two sons first circled the planet three times, he wanted to grant it.

Karthikeya began his journey around the globe on his peacock saddle, welcoming the challenge. However, they were circumambulated by Ganesha, who believed that the universe was no more than his Shiva and Shakti parents combined. Pleased with the discernment of their son, Shiva awarded Ganesha with the fruit. He was furious to discover when Kartikeya returned, that his efforts had been in vain. He left Kailash and took up residence in the hills of Palani in South India.

As per another legend, all the sages and gods once gathered in Kailash, Shiva’s dwelling place. This contributed to the tilting of the planet in one direction. To balance the tilt, Shiva asked sage Agathiyar to move toward the south. A demon called Ettumba was hired by Agastya to bear two hills on his shoulders to be put in the South. The demon was bringing the hills southward and resting in a spot.

It did not rise as he attempted to raise one of the hills, and he found a young man standing at the top of the hill, not allowing it to move. The demon had been attempting to kill the young man but had been defeated. The young man was named by Sage Agastya as Karthikeya and asked him to forgive the devil.

Karthikeya did this easily and let the hill at Pazhani stay there. In modern times, it is a tradition in which people bear milk on both shoulders as a commitment to pleasing Karthikeya. The demon brought Swamimalai, which is another Karthikeya abode, to the other hill.

Dindigul Tour
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A History

Sage Bogar, one of the Aaseevaham’s (Ancient Tamil Culture) eighteen great Siddhas out of an amalgam of nine poisons or Navapashanam, produced and consecrated the idol of the Muruga in Palani.

The legend also states that the sculptor had to work very quickly to complete his features, but that he spent so much time creating the face, he had no time to grant the rest of the body a rough grace, explaining the contrast between the face’s artistic perfection and the body’s slightly less accomplished work. In the southwestern corridor of the temple, a shrine to Bhogar exists, which, according to legend, is said to be linked by a subterranean tunnel to a cave in the heart of the hill where Bhogar continues to meditate and maintain his vigil, with eight Muruga idols. After centuries of worship, the god fell into neglect, suffering to be swallowed by the jungle. One night, a Chera Dynasty king, Perumal, who ruled the region between the second and fifth centuries A.D., wandered out of his hunting party and was forced to take shelter at the foot of the hill.

So it happened that Subrahmanyan, in a dream, appeared to him and ordered him to restore the idol to its former state. The king started a hunt for the idol and found it, built the temple that now houses it, and re-established its worship. A tiny stela at the foot of the staircase that runs up the hill commemorates this.

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Architecture in the

Elephant of Pazhani Temple

It is said that the idol of God is made of an amalgam of nine poisonous substances that, when combined in a certain proportion, form an eternal medicine. With an archway framing it, it is set on a pedestal of stone and represents the god Subrahmanya in the form he assumed at Palani-that of a very young recluse, shorn of his locks and all his finery, dressed in no more than a loincloth and armed only with a staff, the Dhandam, as befits a monk.

The temple was re-consecrated by the Cheras, whose dominions lie to the west, and the guardian of the Kartikeya of Palani, whose eastern boundary was meant to be. Housed in the Garbhagriham, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple, the deity can only be approached and treated by the priests of the temple, who are members of the Palani Gurukkal caste, and in the temple hold hereditary rights of priestly worship.

Other devotees are permitted to come up to the sanctum, while assistants of the priests, usually from the Pandāram group, are allowed up to the sanctum sanctorum ante-chamber.

The temple is located on the peak of the two Palani hills, known as the Sivagiri. Entry to it was usually by the main staircase cut into the hill-side or by the route of the Yanai-Padhai or elephant, used by ceremonial elephants. For the ceremonial bathing of the idol, and the priests, pilgrims carrying water will use another way carved into the hill-side as well, albeit on the opposite side.

In the last half-century, for the comfort of the Dindigul Tour, three funicular railway tracks were laid up the hill and augmented by a rope-way in the past decade. There are two types of transport that go uphill from the foothills. There is a winch that starts running at 6 a.m. Normal days and 4 a.m. Festive occasions. Another rope vehicle works from 7 a.m. Up to 12:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. and Till 5 p.m. After the Irakkala Pooja at 8 pm, both the winch and the rope car are locked.

Religious habits

Dindigul Tour devotees, who vow to discard their hair in imitation of the Lord of Palani, is one of the key rituals of the temple. Another is the anointing at night before the temple is closed for the day, of the head of the presiding deity’s idol with sandalwood paste. The paste, when allowed to remain overnight, is said to acquire medicinal properties, and, like rakkāla Chanda-am, is much sought after and distributed to devotees.

Traditionally, in the afternoon and very early at night, the hill-temple of Palani is supposed to be closed to allow the deity to have sufficient sleep, being but a child, and thus easily tired of the throngs of devotees and their endless impunities.

A custom that is not well known is that of the Pa’i-Arai or bedroom, wherein the Lord is told by the custodians of the temple every night of the status of the temple’s accounts for the day, and then put to sleep to the singing of an ōdhuvār or bard.

A widely followed worship tradition is devotees carrying Kavadi, an ornamental mount decked with flowers, glazed paper, and tinsel work, and wearing ochre clothes themselves on foot from long distances.

At the end of the divine experience, Panchamirdam (a mixture of five) is believed to be a divine blend prepared by Vinayagar. He mixed and distributed honey, dates, banana, raisins, and jaggery to Shiva Karthikeya. In modern times, the tradition is followed where the devotees are provided with Panchamirdam as a Prasad.

Religious traditions and festivals

In addition to daily services, every year, the holy days of the god Subrahmanyan are celebrated with pomp and splendor, and crowds of devotees from all over South India attend.

The Thai-Poosam, the Pankuni-Uththiram, the Vaikhashi-Vishakham, and the Soora-Samharam are some of these festivals. On the full moon day of the Tamil month of Thai (15 January-15 February), Thai-Poosam, which is considered by far the most important festival in Palani, is celebrated.  After taking a strict vow of abstinence first, pilgrims come barefoot, on foot, from distant towns and villages. In commemoration of the act of the demon Hidimba, who is credited by legend with taking the two hills of Palani to their present position, slung on his shoulders in a similar manner, many pilgrims also carry a litter of wood, called a Kāvadi, borne on their shoulders.

Others carry pots of sanctified water for the priests to perform the Abhishekam on the holy day, known as Theertha-kāvadi. Traditionally, the people of Karaikudi, who bring with them the diamond-encrusted vél or javelin of the Lord from His temple at Karaikudi, are the most Honoured of the pilgrims, whose arrival is awaited with anticipation by all and all.

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