The rulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple is the third of the six abodes of Murugan (Aarupadai veedugal). It is located in the city of Palani formerly known as Thiruaavinankudi (as mentioned in ancient Sangam Thirumurugatrupadai literature), Dindigul district, 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Coimbatore and northwest of Madurai in the foothills of the hills from Palani, Tamil Nadu, India. The Palani temple is considered synonymous with Panchamritam, a sweet concoction made from five ingredients.
According to legendary Hindu beliefs, the sage Narada visited Shiva’s heavenly court on Mount Kailash to present him with a fruit, the gnana-palam (literally, the fruit of knowledge). He decided to bestow it on whichever of his two sons who first went around the world three times. Accepting the challenge, Murugan (Karthikeya) began his journey around the world in his peacock mount. However, Ganesha, who assumed that the world was nothing but his parents Shiva and Shakti together, bypassed them and won the fruit. Murugan was furious and felt the need to mature from childhood and therefore decided to remain a hermit in Palani. The idol of Muruga in Palani was created and consecrated by the sage Bogar, one of the eighteen great siddhaars of Hinduism, from an amalgam of nine poisonous herbs or Navapashanam.
In addition to the steps and the sliding elephant path, there is a winch and rope wagon service that is used to transport the devotees uphill. Six poojas are performed from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and special poojas are performed on holidays at the temple, which is open from 4:30 a.m.
As of 2016, the temple was the richest among the temples in the state of Tamil Nadu with a collection of 33 crore during the period of July 2015 to June 2016. The temple is maintained and managed by the Department of Religious Endowments and Hindu Charities of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The idol of Muruga in Palani was created and consecrated by the sage Bogar (Bhoga Muni), one of the eighteen great siddhas of Hinduism from an amalgam of nine rocks or navapashanam (Pashana in Sanskrit means rock or stone). Legend also holds that the sculptor had to work very fast to complete his role and make it perfect. Later, some people who had access to the deity used horrible chemicals and stole the contents of the idol, greatly damaging the idol and conspired theories that the sage did not sculpt the external features as well as he did on the face. There is a shrine to Bhogar in the southwestern corridor of the temple, which, according to legend, is said to be connected by a tunnel to a cave in the heart of the hill, where Bhogar continues to meditate and keep his vigil, with eight Muruga idols. .
The deity, after centuries of worship, fell into oblivion and was swallowed up by the forest. One night, Perumal, king of the Chera dynasty, who controlled the area between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD, left his hunting party and was forced to take refuge at the foot of the hill. It happened that the Subrahmanyan appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to return the idol to its former state. The king began searching for the idol and, finding it, he built the temple that now houses it and reestablished its worship. This is commemorated by a small stele at the foot of the staircase that winds its way up the hill.
The idol of the deity is said to be made from an amalgam of nine poisonous substances that form an eternal medicine when mixed in a certain proportion. It is placed on a stone pedestal, with an arch that frames it and represents the god Subrahmanya in the form that he assumed in Palani: that of a very young recluse, stripped of his hair 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 were to the west, and the guardian of whose eastern border was supposed to be the Kartikeya of Palani. Located in the garbhagriham, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple, the deity can be approached and handled only by the temple priests, who are members of the Gurukkal community of Palani, and have hereditary rights of priestly worship in the temple. Other devotees are allowed to go up to the sanctum, while the assistants of the priests, usually from the Pandāram community, are allowed to go up to the anteroom of the sanctum sanctorum.
The temple is situated on the highest of the two Palani hills, known as Sivagiri. Traditionally, access to it was by the main staircase cut into the hillside or by the yanai-padhai or elephant path, used by ceremonial elephants. The pilgrims who carried water for the ritual bath of the idol and the priests used another path also dug into the hillside but on the opposite side. During the last half century, three funicular tracks were installed on the hill for the convenience of pilgrims, and were supplemented by a cable car in the last decade. There are two modes of transportation from the foothills to the hills. There is a winch, which operates from 6 a.m. on ordinary days and at 4 a.m. during festive occasions. There is another rope car that operates from 7 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. At 5 pm. Both the winch and the rope wagon are closed after the Irakkala Pooja at 8 p.m.
The temple shrine is of early Chera architecture, while the surrounding covered ambulatory has unmistakable traces of Pandya influence, especially in the shape of the two fish, the royal insignia of Pandyan. The walls of the sanctuary have extensive inscriptions in the ancient Tamil script. Above the shrine, there is a golden gopuram, with numerous sculptures of the presiding deity, Kartikeya, and accompanying gods and goddesses. In the first internal prahāram, or ambulatory, around the heart of the temple, there are two minor shrines, one each, for Shiva and Parvati, in addition to one for the sage Bhogar, to whom legend attributes the creation and consecration of the main idol. In the second enclosure, there is a famous sanctuary of Ganapati, in addition to the garage of the Golden Car of Muruga.
The most common form of temple worship is abhishekam: anointing the idol with oils, sandalwood paste, milk, ointments, and the like and then bathing it with water in an act of ritual purification. The most prominent abhishekams are performed in ceremonies to mark the hours of the day. These are four: the Vizha Poojai, early in the morning, the Ucchikālam, in the afternoon, the Sāyarakshai, in the afternoon, and the Rakkālam, in the evening, immediately before the temple closes for the day. These hours are marked by the tolling of the heavy bell on the hill, to awaken the attention of all the devotees to the worship of the Lord that takes place at that time. On a calm day, the bell can be heard throughout the countryside around Palani. In addition to worship within the temple precincts, an idol of the Lord, called Uthsavamoorthy, is also carried in state around the temple, in a golden chariot, drawn by devotees, most nights of the year. As of 2016, the temple was the richest among temples in the state with a collection of Rs 33 million during the period of July 2015 to June 2016.
One of the main traditions of the temple is the tonsure of the devotees, who promise to discard their hair in imitation of the form that Kartikeya assumed here. Another is the anointing of the head of the idol of the presiding deity with sandalwood paste, at night, before the temple closes for the day. The paste, once allowed to stay overnight, is said to acquire medicinal properties, and it is highly sought after and distributed among devotees, such as rakkāla chandaṇam. Traditionally, the Palani hill temple is supposed to be closed in the afternoon and early in the evening to allow the deity to get enough sleep, being only a child, and therefore easily tired by the crowd of devotees. and his constant nagging. . A tradition that is not well known is that of the Paḷḷi-Arai or bedroom, where each night the temple custodians inform the Lord of the status of the temple’s day accounts, and then put him to sleep. to the singing of an ōdhuvār or bard. Devotees carry kavadi, an ornamental mount adorned with flowers, glazed paper, and tinsel work, and wearing ocher clothing on foot from long distances is a commonly followed worship practice.
Panchamirdam (mixture of five) is believed to be a divine mixture prepared by Vinayagar at the end of the divine encounter. He mixed honey, dates, banana, raisins, and brown sugar and distributed it to Shiva Karthikeya. The practice is followed in modern times where devotees are provided with Panchamirdam as a Prasad.