Deity of Palani Temple
The deity of Palani is known as Dandayudhapani Swami. This Lord is seen as having some Staff in his Hand. The deity at this holy place is made out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashana. The deity is in a standing position with a baton in his hand. He has the look of a person who has renounced all worldly pomp. The icon is unique in the whole world. It was made by Siddha Bhogar by combining nine poisonous substances i.e. navabashana. Murugan signifies beauty and Lord Murugan of Kurinji land is the God of Beauty and Youth as well.
History of Palani Temple
Palani has been mentioned in the Tamil Sangam Literature as "Podhini". In course of time this place is known as the "Palani". The historians name this place accordingly. In "Thirumurukatruppadai", which is a Sangam Literature, Palani has been mentioned as the 3rd "PadaiVeedu". This was the southern end of the Kongu Nadu and edicts refer to this place as "Vaiyapuri Nadu". King "Vaiyapuri Kopperumbaegan" ruled this place. Many "Siddhas" are said to have lived in this region. The idol of Palani Andavar is said to have been made of "Navapashanam". Here in this context, it can be mentioned as this is a combination of Veeram, Pooram, Rasam, Jathilingam, Kandagam, Gauri Pasanam, Vellai Pasanam, Mridharsingh, and Silasat. The idol is made by a siddhar called Bhogar. It is also claimed by many that the materials of abhishegam like milk, sandalpaste, etc., attain medicinal properties on being poured over Lord Palaniandavar's idol and they have cured many diseases, when taken by the patients. It is a specialty of Palani. People from many parts of the country come and take this as medicine.
The height of this temple is 150 m and total no of Steps to reach the temple is 693. The direction of the temple from the district is towards west. The temple is connected by airways as Madurai airport is placed at 125 kms distance while Coimbatore is located at the distance of 110 km.
Festivals Celebrated in Palani Temple
Every year, a number of festivals are celebrated here of which some are minor and some major. Agni Nakshatram, Kandhar Shasti, Thirukkarthigai, Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthiram are some of the major festivals celebrated here. Pilgrims from different parts like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and other states take part in the festivals. This attendance of devotees indicates the National integration of the country.
Chitra Pournami - This is celebrated here with full galore. On this day, a ten-day festival is conducted at Arulmigu Lakshminarayana perumal temple. This is also celebrated at the Periyanayakiamman Temple. At this place, Lord Muthukumara Swamy along with Valli and Deivanai rides in the silver car along the streets around the Temple.
Agni Nakshatram - This is one of the important festivals at Palani. People celebrate this with full pomp. During the last 7 days of Chitrai and the first 7 days of the following month i.e. Vaikasi, the devotees of Lord Murugan go around the Hill by foot. They do this early in the mornings. As per the Palani mythology, it is considered holy to worship the Hill temple from afar or from near as well as go around it. It is also called Girivalam. It is practiced since the earlier days. In ancient days the siddhas, rishis, saints and other noble persons followed this practice. Girivalam gives mental peace. The medicinal herbs that are present around the hillock cure many physical diseases. Nowadays people go around the temple by wearing Kadamba Flower. All these are transforming generation after generation. People are fascinated towards the religious value of the place.
Vaikasi Festival (Visakam) - It is celebrated for 10 days at the Perianayaki amman temple. This follows with everyday procession. There is car festival on the 10th day i.e. Visakam. Visakam is Lord Murugan's birthday star. This is celebrated at all Murugan Temples. At Thiruchendur also this is observed in a grand manner.
Aani-Annabhishekam - During the Tamil month of Aani i.e. 3rd month of the Tamil year, Annabhishekam is conducted. The term 'Annabhishekam' means abhishekam with fragrant cooked rice. This is conducted at Thiruvavinankudi Temple, Hill Temple, Periyanayagi Amman temple and Periyavudaiyar Temple. On Aani Uthiram Day, abhisekam is performed to Lord Nataraja and a procession is conducted with the Lord in the Company of the icons of the four Tamil Saints.
Aadi Perukku - From Perianayaki amman Temple, Lord Kailasanathar and Amman go to Periyavudaiyar Koil and after performing "Kannimar Pooja" return in a procession.
Aadi Krithigai -This is celebrated in a grand way at Palani. Devotees carry flower-Kavadi to Lord Muruga and Worship with full devotion.
Aadi Amavasai - On this day many devotees offer 'tonsure' on the banks of Shanmuga River and climb the Hill for worship. They shave their hair and offer their hair to god. In the book of Palani mythology, this has been mentioned in the chapter on 'Shanmuga Nadi'. Devotees consider that they get cleansed of their sins once they bathe in the Shanmuga River.
Aadi Laksharchana - This festival is celebrated at Periyanayaki Amman Temple. At this place, the Amman or Goddess Periyanayaki is given special abhishekam and decoration. On the last day of the function, Amman is adorned with the "Golden Kavacham".
Kandhar Shasti (Soora Samharam) - This is a very important festival at Palani. This is celebrated during the 6 days in the month of Aippasi i.e. 7th Tamil month. This is based on the mythological story of Lord Murugan. It describes the Killing of the demons. It is said that on this special day, only once in a year, the Lord comes down the Hill. And after competing his work i.e. beating the demons, ascends the Hill again. This is associated with Kandhar Shasti. The Lord wins the four demons i.e. Gajamugan, Tharagan, Singamugan and Surapadman. It is a grand sight to see the dramatic representation of this. On this day devotees observe total fasting as they consider that this will offset all their sins.
Thirukkarthigai - According to the Thirugnanasambandar's statement, this is known as the "Ancient Karthigai day". It falls on Karthigai Day in the Tamil month of Karthigai. It is celebrated for 10 days and daily "Chinna Kumarar" goes in procession in the small golden carriage. On Karthigai day, he goes in the Golden Car. On the 10th day, woman devotees light lamps and worship Murugan. This is done in Thiruvavinankudi, Periyanayagi Amman Temple and the Hill Temple. This is a very important day for devotees. Every month on this Karthigai day the devotees visit Palani.
Markazhi Pooja - During the Tamil month of Markazhi i.e. on 9th month, the Hill Temple opens at 3 A.M, and recital of Thiruvembavai is done. Pooja is done in all the main Temples in Palani at early in the morning. The recital of Thiruppavai is done at Perumal temple.
Thai Poosam - This is a very important festival at Palani. This is associated with pilgrimage to Palani. Devotees from Tamil Nadu reach Palani by foot, which is called as Pada Yathra and worship. Beginning with flag hosting at Perianayagiamman Temple, this festival runs on for 10 days. Kavadi of various types i.e. with holy water, sugar, flowers, tender coconuts, etc., are offered to Murugan at Palani.
On the 6th day, there is procession of Lord Murugan with Valli and Deivanai in the Silver Car. During this, Kavadi dance and rural musical-dance are performed. On the 7th day there is "Thai Thaer" or wooden Car and thousands of devotees participate in this. On the 7th day "Chinna Kumarar" goes round in His Golden Car.
Panguni Uthiram - This is also a very important festival of this place. This is celebrated for 10 days. Devotees carry Kavadies with holy water from sacred rivers, sugar, tender coconut etc. During these 10 days, one can see various rural dances like Oyilattam, Thappattam, Dhidumattam,Velanattam, Samiyattam etc., along with rural songs. The rural music is an important part of Paunguni uthiram festival. Men and women of different ages take part in all these songs and dances.
The main feature of Panguni Uthiram is the offering of "Theertham" i.e. Posts of Holy water from Kodumudi. Lord Palaniandavar is given abhishekam with this holy water. The devotees carrying Kavadi to Palani sing Kavadi songs throughout their 'Padayathra' and these songs are ancient oral songs.
On the 1st day, there is flag hoisting at Thiruvavinankugi Temple and on all the 10 days Lord Muthukumara Swamy with Sri Valli and Sri Deivanai goes in procession around the Palani Hill. On the 7th day there is "Car Festival". This is very famous one and is attended by thousands of devotees. During these days, the Lord also is given special reception and pooja at many 'mandapams' in the Palani Adivaram area. All these festival carry a lot of colour to the life of human being.
These are some of the important festivals, which are celebrated here at this place every year with great joy and festivity.
Connectivity to Palani Temple
Palani railway station and Dindigul railway junction are placed at the distance of 60 kms. Roadways also connect it as all-important roads of the district connect the temple. Regular bus services are available from Palani to Madurai, Kodaikanal, Theni, Dindigul, Thiruchirappalli, Kumuli, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Chennai. Local transport Horse Cart, Auto, Taxis and vans are also available. City Buses too ply at this place.
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