A distant view of the East entrance of Swamimalai Murugan Temple
A distant view of the East entrance of Swamimalai Murugan Temple

The Swamimalai Murugan Temple, also known as Swaminathaswamy Temple is situated in Swamimalai in Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu, which is dedicated to Lord Murugan and also one of the ‘Arupadai Veedu Temples’. It is said that, Swamimalai Murugan Temple was in existence from 2nd century BC, built by the King Parantaka Chola I. The mythology says that when Lord Brahma, the Lord of all creations, at the time of visiting Mount Kailash He disrespected Lord Murugan. The ever playful child Lord Murugan in angry asked Lord Brahma for the meaning of Pranav Mantra “OM”.

Lord Brahma was unable to reply and admitted his ignorance towards Lord Murugan. And hence Lord Murugan knocked Lord Brahma on His forehead and imprisoned Him. All the creations came to a standstill, since Lord Brahma was imprisoned. And the Devas prayed Lord Shiva to get Lord Brahma released. When Lord Shiva asked Lord Murugan to release Lord Brahma from imprisonment, Lord Murugan demanded that the punishment was for His ignorance and unawareness of knowing the meaning of the Pranav Mantra “OM”.

A sculpture in this temple denotes that Lord Murugan taught Lord Shiva about the meaning of Pranav Mantra OM
A sculpture in this temple denotes that Lord Murugan taught Lord Shiva about the meaning of Pranav Mantra OM

Lord Shiva asked Lord Murugan whether He Himself aware of the meaning of Pranav Mantra. Lord Murugan replied He knew the meaning and it will be taught only when Lord Shiva accept Him as Guru (Teacher) and listen to Him as a disciple. Lord Shiva accepted the request of Lord Murugan and listened to the explanation of Pranav Mantra as a devoted disciple, hence the place came to be known as Swamimalai. The temple placed on the hill is reached by climbing 60 steps which represents the sixty months of the ancient Tamil calendar.

An aerial view of the Swamimalai Murugan Temple
An aerial view of the Swamimalai Murugan Temple

Lord Murugan is said to be the solver of all problems in human life like child boon, family prosperity, happy wedding life, longevity, wisdom and so on. Swamimalai Murugan Temple is treated as the most sacred place as where Lord Murugan preached the Pranav Mantra “OM” to His father Lord Shiva when He was a child. Swamimalai Murugan Temple is the fourth temple among the six sacred shrines of Lord Murugan, named as Arupadai Veedu Temples. The six Arupadai Veedu temples are:

  1. Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
  2. Thiruchendur Murugan Temple
  3. Palani Murugan Temple
  4. Swamimalai Murugan Temple
  5. Thiruthani Murugan Temple
  6. Pazhamudhircholai Murugan Temple
A street view ahead Swamimalai Murugan Temple
A street view ahead Swamimalai Murugan Temple

Specialties

The presiding deity of Swamimalai Murugan Temple is ‘Lord Swami Nathan’ (Lord Murugan), the teacher of Lord Shiva, located at the top of the hill. And the important sacred shrines of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva), and Goddess Meenakshi (Goddess Shakthi) and Lord Ganesh are located at downhill. The boundaries of the temple contains the idols of Lord Dakshinamurthy, Lord Chandikeswarar, Goddess Durga and Navagrahas.

A view infront of Swamimalai Murugan Temple
A view infront of Swamimalai Murugan Temple

In this temple Lord Murugan is seen with an Elephant as His Vahan (Vehicle) instead of Peacock in the sanctum. This elephant is named as ‘Airavadham’ presented to Lord Murugan by Lord Indra. The temple graces with a well called ‘Vajra Theertha’ represents the three divine powers Itcha Shakti, Gnana Shakti, and Kriya Shakti. Swamimalai Murugan Temple has three Gopurams (gateways) and three Praharams (precincts) and contains six daily rituals at various times.

A view of the temple towers of Swamimalai Murugan Temple
A view of the temple towers of Swamimalai Murugan Temple

Festivals

  • Monthly Kirutikai festival
  • Temple Car festival – April
  • Visakam festival – May
  • Navaratri festival – May
  • Skanda Shashti festival – October
  • Tiru Karthikai festival – November or December
  • Taippucam festival – January
  • Pankuni Uttiram festival – March

Pooja Timings

  • Viswaroopa darshan – 05.30 AM
  • Udhaya Maarthandam – 06.00 AM
  • Mudhal Kaala Sandhi, Siru Kaala Sandhi and Periya Kaala Sandhi – 08.00 AM
  • Kalasandhi – 9.00 A.M
  • Uchikala Poojas – 12.00 P.M
  • Sayaratchai – 05.30 P.M
  • Rendam Kalam – 08.00 P.M
  • Arthajama Pooja – 10.00 P.M
By Road

The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has buses that connect Swamimalai to almost all the major cities of the state. One can avail of regular buses to Swamimalai from Kumbakonam, Trichy, Chidambaram and Chennai.


By Train

Swamimalai does not have a train station, and the nearest station is Kumbakonam, at a distance of 5 kilometers from Swamimalai.


By Air

The nearest airport to Swamimalai is in Trichy, and it is situated at a distance of ninety kilometers away.

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