Temple: The main shrine is a cave like the early cave temples of the Pallavas. There are three main caves; the foremost has Subramanyar, Deivayanai and Naaradar. The second cave enshrines Durga and the third enshrines Vinayakar. There are two cells in the cave enshrining Somaskandhar and Satyagireeswarar in one and Vishnu with Sridevi, Bhudevi and Mathangamunivar in the other. Subramanyar is seated and faces north with his consort Deivayanai on his left. He holds a silver Vel (spear) and abhishekam is offered only to the silver Vel. In this sanctum there are images of Vinayakar, Bhrama, Saraswathi, Devendran, Suryan and Chrandran. There is also a Shrine to Govardanar and Padmavathy, Shanmugar, Saneeswarar, the 63 Nayanmars and Panchalingams. Adhikaranandi faces the Panchalingam shrine. Inside this shrine is a small temple dedicated to Thiruchendur Murugan.
Architecture: Entrance to the hill temple is through the aasthana mandapam, which was built by Tirumalai Nayakkar of Madurai. It has beautiful pillars. Each of the 48 pillars is 20 feet in height bearing Yaalis, elephant, warrior bearing horses hunting tigers etc. A 7-tiered gopuram 150 feet high forms the entrance to the temple. There is Kalyana Mandapam, to its left is the sacred tank called Lakshmi Theertham. Steps lead to the Kambattadi mandapam, the Ardhamandapam and the Mahamandapam. There are few more mandapams within the temple complex. The Nayaks of Madurai developed many of the structures. The sculptures are beautiful. Two panels on the cave walls depict the cosmic dance of Nataraja, celestial beings playing the orchestra and the audience admiring the dance of Shiva.
Several inscriptions from the Pandya, Vijayanagar and Nayak periods are seen here. There is a tank here called Saravanapoigai (as in Palani) to the east of the temple and the caves have interesting sculptures.
Festivals: Skandasashti is celebrated in great splendor in monsoon. Karthigai Deepam is celebrated for 10 days and the annual Bhramotsavam is celebrated for 14 days in the month of Panguni.
(Last Updated on : 17-09-2010)
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