(Last Updated on : 14-08-2010)
Thiruparankundram is one of the abodes of Lord Subramanya. It is situated 8 kms south of Madurai. The six abodes of the deity are known as 'Arupadai Veedu'. This is a cave temple. This temple is known from the Sangam times. One of the Sangam poets Nakkiran has sung a long poem about this temple called Thirumurugatrupadai.
In this temple of Thiruparankundram, there are a series of mandapams one above the other in elevation. A shrine dedicated to Nakkirar can be seen here. The marriage of Deivayanai and the sculptures of Thirumalai Nayak and Mangammal can be seen in the front mandapam.
There are caves in the descent from the mandapam. These are filled with images of Annapoorna, Varaha Avataram, Narasimha Avataram, Mahalakshmi etc. One of the masterpiece sculptures of the group is the Sivathandavam in which Uma is witnessing it reclining on the bull. The Kudarmugha drum also can be seen being beaten by a celestial attendant.
The important characteristic of this temple of Thiruparankundram is that Siva is holding the flag of Rishaba in his hand while dancing. It is a rare sculpture and cannot be found elsewhere. There is another group of sculptures separated by wall. These are with Nandi standing in bull-head and human-body form beside some sages.