1st Stop - Dhandayuthapani Swamy
Trip Start Jun 17, 2010
57Trip End Jun 29, 2010
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Where I stayed
Vels Court Hotel
After shaving the head, we returned to the room and had a quick shower. By 7am, we were there at the winch station. It was just us and another couple. Luckily we came early as advised by the driver. We bought the winch ticket for Rs. 10 and within a few minutes we were up the hill temple.
Upon arrival at the temple, we bought the Rs 150 ticket to view the full abishegam. That ticket was worth it. We were allowed to sit in front of the sanctum sanctorum for almost 1 hour. After the prayers, we took the stair down instead of the winch and wanted to experience that as well. It was a 40 minutes walk down and to the hotel. This included some time spent at the temples along the way and we also broke coconuts at the Vinayagar temple at the foot hills.
Upon arrival at the hotel, we contacted the driver and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant itself. After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and went to Avinankudi Temple and after that another small Durga Temple. We also did a short stop at Idumban Hill and prayed homage to him as well.
We left Palani Town at 11.00 am.
Below is a brief of the Palani Temple:
Sage Narada once visited the celestial court of Lord Siva at Mount Kailash to present to Him a fruit, the gyana-pazham (literally, the fruit of knowledge), that held in it the elixir of wisdom.Upon Lord Shiva expressing his intention of dividing the fruit between his two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya, the Sage counselled Him against cutting it. Thereat, He decided to award it to whichever of his two sons first circled the world thrice. Accepting the challenge, the Lord Karthikeya started his journey around the globe on his sacred bird, the peacock.However, Lord Ganesha, who surmised that the world was no more than his parents Shiva and Shakthi, circumambulated them. Pleased with their son's discernment, Lord Shiva awarded the fruit to Lord Ganesha. When the Lord Subrahmanya returned, he was furious to learn that his efforts had been in vain. In deep dudgeon, he decided to leave Mount Kailash, and take up his abode in a place where the land and people would be unequivocally his and for him. Thus, it was that He came to what is today known as Palani, a name derived from the manner of His Parents trying to mollify him and prevail upon him to return to Kailash - Gnana Pazham Nee appa (Tamil for "You are the fruit of wisdom sire")and thus, implying that being the embodiment of wisdom, he had no need for the fruit. Thus, being the abode of wisdom, the place took on its master's name - Pazham Nee or Pazhani, anglicised as Palani.
Going by legend, the idol of the Lord Muruga in Palani , was created and consecrated by the Sage Bhogar, one of Hinduism's eighteen great ascetics (siddhas), out of an amalgam of nine poisons or navapashanam. The legend also holds that, since it was a quick-setting paste, the sculptor had to work very rapidly to chisel its features, but that he spent so much time in creating the exquisitely beatific face, he did not have time to bestow but a rough grace upon the rest of the body, thus explaining the contrast between the artistic perfection of the face and the slightly less accomplished work upon the body.A shrine to Bhogar exists in the southwestern corridor of the temple, which, by legend, is said to be connected by a subterranean tunnel to a cave in the heart of the hill, where Bhogar continues to meditate and maintain his vigil, with eight idols of the Lord.Another legend holds that the idol, after centuries of worship, fell into neglect and was suffered to be engulfed by the forest. One night, Cheraman Perumal, a King of the Cheras, who controlled the area between the second and fifth centuries A.D., wandered from his hunting party and was forced to take refuge at the foot of the hill. It so befell, that the Lord Subrahmanyan, appeared to him in a dream, and ordered him to restore the idol to its former state. The king, thereat, awakening, commenced a search for the idol, and finding it, constructed the temple that now houses it, and re-instituted its worship. This is commemorated by a small stella at the foot of the staircase that winds up the hill.
As related above, the idol is said to be made of an amalgam of nine substances, and placed upon a pedestal of stone, with an archway framing it. It represents the god Subramanya in the form He assumed at Palani - that of a very young recluse, shorn of his locks and all his finery, dressed in no more than a loincloth and armed only with a staff, the dhandam, as befits a monk. It is from His youthful appearance and the staff He bears, that the appellation Bāla-dhandāyudha-pāni, meaning the young wielder of the staff-weapon, is applied to Him.One curious aspect of the idol is that it faces west rather than east, the traditional direction at most Hindu temples. This is held to be on account of the temple having been re-consecrated by the Cheras, whose dominions lay to the west, and the guardian of whose eastern frontier was supposed to be the Lord Kartikeya of Palani. Another fact that will be remarked upon by any observer, are the rather disproportionately large ears the Lord is endowed with. This is reflective of the faith that the Lord listens carefully to each of his many devotees' prayers and requests.Housed in the garbagriham, the sanctum sanctorum, of the temple, the idol may be approached and handled only by the temple's priests, who are members of the Gurukkal community of Palani, and hold hereditary rights of sacerdotal worship at the temple. Other devotees are permitted to come up to the sanctum, while the priests' assistants, normally of the Pandāram community, are allowed up to the ante-chamber of the sanctum sanctorum.
The Temple is situated upon the higher of the two hills of Palani, known as the Sivagiri. Traditionally, access to it was by the main staircase cut into the hill-side or by the yanai-padhai or elephant's path, used by the ceremonial elephants. Pilgrims bearing water for the ritual bathing of the idol, and the priests, would use another way also carved into the hill-side but on the opposite side. Over the past half-century, three funicular raliway tracks have been laid up the hill for the convenience of the pigrims, and supplemented by a rope-way within the past decade.The sanctum of the temple is of early Chera architecture while the covered ambulatory that runs around it bears unmistakable traces of Pandya influence, especially in the form of the two fishes, the Pandyan royal insignia. The walls of the sanctum bear extensive inscriptions in the old Tamil script. Surmounting the sanctum, is a gopuram of gold, with numerous sculptures of the presiding deity, Kartikeya, and gods and goddesses attendant upon him.In the first inner prahāram, or ambulatory, around the heart of the temple, are two minor shrines, one each, to Shiva and Parvati, besides one to the Sage Bhogar who is by legend credited with the creation and consecration of the chief idol. In the second outer prahāram, is a celebrated shrine to Ganapati, besides the carriage-house of the Lord's Golden Chariot.
Below is a short brief of Avinankudi Temple:
This ancient and large temple at the foot of the hills is highly renowned and is known as Kulandai Velayudhaswamy Temple, Thiru Avinankudi is the name of the place.
This temple is among the oldest abodes of Muruga and perhaps it had humble beginnings under an Amla Tree (Nelli). Poet Nakkirar says that Lord Muruga holds at Thiru Avinankudi a Royal Court of all gods with saints emancipated and clad in saffron dyed clothes and deer skin.
The presiding deity is Muruga as a child sitting on a peacock. A convenient and full view can be taken by worshippers since the sanctum is on elevation. He is like a kindly monarch on His throne who receives the humble tributes and petitions of His loyal subjects. The festival deity and the Nelli and Nagalingga Flora and the shrine of Arunagirinathar are worth noticing.