INTRODUCTION

The state has many temples dedicated to Lord Muruga and some of these are in rarefied environs. The journey to the Aruppadai Veedu or the Six Houses of Lord Muruga may be arduous but it has its own rewards. The six abodes of Lord Muruga are located in Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Thiruchendur, Pazhamudhir Cholai, Tirupparankundram and Palani. All these places are well connected by road and other means of transport.

Thirupparankundram

Thirupparankundram Located 8 kms Madurai, Thirupparankundramthis abode of Lord Muruga is noted for its inner sanctum that is cut out of the hard rock. Lord Muruga together with his consort, Deivayanai gazes benevolently at his devotees. The main temple itself is an early cave shrine, but the rest of the structure dates back to the Nayak period.

Thiruchendur

Thiruchendur Located 48 kms from Thirunelveli, Tiruchendurthis 2000-year old temple is best known for the annual Kanda shasti festival that is celebrated here. At the festival the devotees re-enact the victory of Lord Muruga over Surapadman. Thiruchendur showcases Lord Muruga in a rare form. He is seen holding a string of rudraksha beads instead of his usual spear. cholaiThe reason cited for this change is that he is worshipping Lord Shiva at this temple.

Palani

Palani Located 120 kms from Madurai, Palanithis is one of the most hallowed shrines of Lord Murugan. The name Palani is a later coinage. It was Pazhani, which is said to come from two Tamil words Pazham meaning fruit and Nee meaning you. The statement it conveys is You are the fruit (wisdom). There is a story that Lord Shiva and Parvati described Lord Muruga in these words after he had a row with his brother Lord Ganesha. The temple is on top of a hillock and can be reached by a flight of 690 steps.

Swamimalai

Swamimalai Another revered shrine to Lord Muruga, Swamimalaiit is located 45 kms from Thanjavur. Here, Lord Muruga is said to have taught the meaning of the OM mantra to his father, Lord Shiva! The temple sits on top of a hillock and can reached by a flight of 60 steps that are said to represent the Hindu cycle of 60 years.

Thiruthani

Thiruthani is located 87 kms from Chennai.Tiruthani Situated on a hillock, the Murugan temple is accessed by a winding flight of 365 steps. Each symbolically represents one day of the year. Here, Lord Muruga sits resplendent with his consort Valli whom he married after bringing her from the nearby Vallimalai. The Thiruthani temple is known for the Karthikai festival it celebrates in December every year.

Pazhamudhir Cholai

Pazhamudhir Cholai Located close to Madurai, Pazhamudhir-Cholaithis is yet another temple whose origins date back several hundred years. Nakkirar, Arunagirinathar and Avvaiyar are among the several Tamil saints who have made references to this shrine in their hymns and literary work. Legend has it that Lord Muruga appeared before Avvaiyar in a playful form as a young boy, to test her.