Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is situated on the outskirts of Madurai City, an ancient city of Tamilnadu, dedicated to the deity Lord Murugan, also worshipped by the name ‘Lord Subramanyar’, God of Tamil Language. Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is a cave temple which is 1050 feet above sea level made out of rock in a hillock. The Rajagopuram (Main Tower) of this temple is found with 7 tiered structures, towering 150 feet high at the entrance of the temple.
Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple was built by the king Maravarman Sundara Pandiyan in the 8th century. It is said that Lord Murugan was married to Goddess Deivayanai, daughter of ‘Lord Indhra’ (King of Heaven) as a bounty of gratitude after the victory of Lord Murugan over the Demon king Surapadma. The celestial marriage of Lord Murugan and Goddess Deivayanai took place at Thiruparankundram. Hence this temple has become a famous adobe of Lord Murugan.
Inside this temple, many sannadhis (sanctums) of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses can be found. The sannadhi (sanctum sanctorum) of God Saneeswaran,one of the Navagrahas (Nine Planets)placed alone without the other eight Grahas which cannot be found in any other temples. Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is the first among the six adobes (Arupadai Veedu Temples) of Lord Murugan. The six Arupadai Veedu temples are:-
- Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
- Thiruchendur Murugan Temple
- Palani Murugan Temple
- Swamimalai Murugan Temple
- Thiruthani Murugan Temple
- Pazhamudhircholai Murugan Temple
Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is the place which is associated with the divine marriage of Lord Murugan with Goddess Deivayanai and so it is considered as a sacred place for marriages. The main shrine contains rockcut sanctum sanctorums which houses the deities ‘Lord Murugan’ and ‘Goddess Deivanai’ with ‘Maharishi Narathar’, ‘Lord Shiva’, ‘Lord Ganesh’, ‘Lord Vishnu’ and ‘Goddess Durga’. This is the only temple where Lord Murugan is seen with his consort Goddess Deivayanai only, whereas in all other temples, Lord Murugan is found with both of His consorts Goddess Deivayanai and Goddess Valli.
A very interesting attribute of this temple is Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are located as facing each other in this holy shrine. Thiruparankundram temple is the only temple where Lord Murugan seems in a seated position, whereas in the other five Arupadai Veedu Temples, He appears in the standing position. As this is a cave temple, Abishekam(Holy Bath) is performed only to the ‘Vel’(weapon of Lord Murugan), as Lord Murugan walked in to this temple after defeating the Demon King ‘Surapadma’. In the right of this temple, Panchalingas (Five Lingas) are found in the wedding manifestation.
Lord Brahma can be worshipped only in this temple, as He had a curse, people will not build a temple for Him. This is the only place where the Sun (Lord Surya) and the Moon (Lord Chandra) are staying at the same place. Besides the Thiruparankundram temple, there is a Muslim shrine dedicated to Hazrat Sulthan Sikhandar Badusha also known as Alexander the great, whose native is Jeddah came to Thiruparankundram in the 9th century. A legend said that Hazrat Sulthan Sikhandar Badusha was a good friend of Lord Murugan when Lord Murugan was ruling Thiruparankundram.
25 festivals are celebrated in this temple in a year. The festivals are:
- Tamil New Year – April month
- Chitra Festival – April
- Vaikasi Visakam – June
- Mottaiarasu vizha – June
- Ani Voonjal -July
- Ani Muppzha Pooja – July
- Adipooram – July to August
- Adikarthigai – July
- Vinayagar Chathurthi – September
- Avani Moolam – September
- Navarathiri – October to November
- Saraswathi poojai – October to November
- Vijayadasami – October to November
- Iyappasi Pooram – October to November
- Sri Skantha sasti – October to November
- Karthigai somavaram – November to December
- Thirukarthigai – November to December
- Marghazhi poojai – December to January
- Arudra Darisanam – December to January
- Vaikunda Ekadasi – December to January
- Theppam Festival – January to February
- Thai Poosam – January to February
- Masi Mahasivarathiri – January to February
- Sri Veyilukanthamman festival – February
- Panguni Peru Vizha – March to April
- Thiruvananthal Pooja – 5.30 AM
- Vila Pooja – 7.30 AM
- Kaala Shanthi Pooja – 8.00 AM
- Thirukaala Shanthi Pooja – 10.30 AM
- Uchi Kaala Pooja – 12.30 PM
- Saayarathcai Pooja – 5.30 PM
- Arthajaama Pooja – 8.45 PM
- Palliarai Pooja – 9.00 PM
The Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is about 7 Kilo meters from Madurai City on the Madurai to Kanyakumari highways.
There is a train route from Madurai to Thiruparankundram. This town is about 8 kilo meters from Madurai railway junction.
Madurai Airport is about 10 kilo meters in the south east direction.
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