Palani

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Palani
பழனி Murugan
town
The Palani Murugan Temple atop the Sivagiri, better known as the Palani Hill
The Palani Murugan Temple atop the Sivagiri, better known as the Palani Hill
Palani is located in Tamil Nadu
Palani
Palani
Location in Tamil Nadu, India
Coordinates: 10°27′01″N 77°30′38″E / 10.45037°N 77.510429°E / 10.45037; 77.510429Coordinates: 10°27′01″N 77°30′38″E / 10.45037°N 77.510429°E / 10.45037; 77.510429
Country  India
State Tamil Nadu
District Dindigul
Population (2011)
 • Total 70,467
Languages
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 624 601
Telephone code 91 4545
Vehicle registration TN 57

Palani is a city and a municipality in the Dindigul district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located about 100 km north-west of Madurai city and 100 km South-east of Coimbatore City and 60 km west of Dindigul. It is the location of the far-famed temple of the god Kartikeya, resorted to by more than 7 million devotees each year. As of 2011, the town had a population of 70,467.

Etymology[edit]

The town derives its name from the compounding of two Tamil words pazham, meaning fruit, and nee, you, hearking back to the legend of the chief temple. Palani is pronounced using the retroflex approximant L (ழ) of Tamil and may thus also be spelt as "Pazhani" in English.

History[edit]

References exist to the place in ancient Tamil devotional texts. A local tradition holds that a velir chieftain named Bayhun , once came upon a peacock in the forests shivering in the cold and chose to cover it using his own upper garment and face the cold, rather than let it die. Although the legend may be apocryphal, it reveals some interesting facts - that the people of the area were numerous enough to have a chieftain of some standing, that peacocks were as plentiful as, if not more than, they are today, that the people venerated peacocks and held them to be sacred to Lord Subrahmanyan as they do today and lastly, that the weather was cold enough to justify a warm upper garment, a circumstance encountered primarily higher up in the hills today.

Present Kongu Nadu

When Lord Murugan, or Kartikeya was sad after his rival brother Ganesha got the golden fruit, he was furious and ran from Kailash hill to the hilltop where his temple stands today. It also proved to be a good meditation spot for him later on. Lord Shiva, came running after his son, and told him, 'You are the fruit,'. pazham née were the exact words, from where the name of this place has been adopted.''''' Palani and most of Dindigul district were part of the Kongu Nadu region of the Tamil country. The northern part of the Palani and Oddanchatram taluks is held to have been part of the Anda Nadu sub-region, whereas the rest of the area constituted the Vaiyapuri Nadu.vaikaoornadu

Vanavarayars

The area seems to have been under the influence of the rulers of Madurai and Coimbatore, at various points of time. The temple of the Goddess Periyanayaki Amman[kuladeivam some clan of Kongu Vellala Gounder] within the town, serves as the point of reference. The Pandyan motif of two fishes is repeatedly to be encountered in its interior, in relief, which leads one to believe that the area was under the domination of the Pandyan kings of Madurai in the first millennium A.D. However, the mandapam (pavilion) right in front of the temple is more in keeping with the architecture of the vijayanagara kings, who were appointed to the administration of that city, as Vanavarayars(samathur zamin of Kongu Vellala Gounder caste), by the Kings of Vijayanagar by the 14th and 15th centuries. A tradition in the surrounding area asserts that their kings remained proudly independent and did not become vassals of the Pandyas or the various rulers of Coimbatore. This, when read with historic accounts of the wars of those kings, may lend credence to the fact that certain vassals of the Pandya kings at times turned refractory and at others remained staunch allies of theirs in the numerous wars they prosecuted.

The 18th Century

Our source of information for the next period of history comes from the records of Hyder Ali and his son, Tippoo Sultaun, which were handed over to the British on the surrender of Dindigul district after the Third Anglo-Mysore War. behind the Goddess periyanayaki Amman temple, palace of M. P. Mangala Gounder descendant from the Ruler(pattakarar) of vaiyapuri nadu/thiruavinagudi nadu one of the 24 sub-country of Kongu Nadu .Almost all palani town surrounding land was belongs to this Royal family,all govt lands in palani(Govt school,collage,Hospital Land,Court, Govt lands are all given by M.P.Mangala Gounder).Only M.P Magala Gounder Royal Family & their ancestor got "Mudhal Mariyathai" of palani temple until 1974.It was banned by D.M.K govt.

Saurashtra

Another interesting fact is the existence of a Saurashtra Street in Palani. Since 'Saurashtra' is the term commonly used in Tamil to refer to the numerous people who emigrated to the South in the wake of the Mahratta rulers of Tanjore and Madurai, it seems to be likely that Palani came under the dominance of either the Serfojis of Tanjore or their counterparts of Madurai, in the period between the fall of the Nayaka Kings of Madurai and Hyder Ali's ascent to power in the 18th century.

British India

We have numerous references to Palani, and its famous temple, in British Gazetteers and land survey documents of the late 18th and early 19th century. The first known painting of Palani and its surroundings was made by a captain of the English East India Company's Madras Army in September, 1792, who was presumably sent to the area to assist in the investiture of the nearby fortress of Dindigul during the Third Anglo-Mysore War and who may have been one of a party sent to ensure the lack of resistance from the numerous small hill-forts that lay between Dindigul and Coimbatore after the fall of the former's fortress. The painting clearly shows the Sivagiri with the temple atop it and a wall at its base, besides a large tank, presumably the Vaiyyapuriyan Kulam, against a background of the Palni Hills as seen from the direction of Coimbatore. Palani is also named as being one of the most prosperous towns of the Dindigul district in a gazetteer from 1821.

The laying of a railway line may have brought an additional spurt of growth to the town since one of its chief roads is named the Railway Feeder Road, presumably because it links the highway to the District Headquarters Dindigul with the railway line.

The highway that runs from Palani to the nearby town of Dharapuram is remarkably straight and level, without the numerous windings and turns that characterise old roads. It is known that the area experienced a sudden surge in unempoyment during, or immediately after, the Second World War necessitating the development of schemes to provide employment. The road was a product of one such project floated by the British administration.

The area experienced a severe famine in the early 1950s, an occurrence that is still remembered with fear by the inhabitants of the area, considering the privations they underwent. More recently, the Shanmughanadi river was subjected to annual floods in the early 1990s, which cut off links with other towns nearby, and caused some inconvenience.

Geography[edit]

A most impressive back-drop to the town is formed by the picturesque slopes of an offshoot of the Western Ghats, the Palni Hills, whereon lies the esteemed hill-station of Kodaikanal. The ranges extending east-west, to the south of the town, frame the town presenting a most inimitable sight. The view within the town is dominated by the two hills, Sivagiri and Sakthigiri, on the former of which lies the famous and much resorted to temple of Lord Subrahmanyan as Bala-Dhandaayudhapaani (translated as, the young lord wielding a mace).

At the foot of the hills lie several lakes, the largest of which, the Vaiyyapuriyan Kulam, used, in days past, to serve as the primary water reservoir to the inhabitants of the town. At its greatest expanse during and immediately after the monsoons rains, the lake drains to the Shanmughanadi, a short distance from the town. Though shrunken in expanse due to encroachments and overgrown with weeds, the lake still remains an extensive water sheet during the rainy season.

The Shanmughanadi, a tributary of the Amaravathi River, takes its source on the slopes of the Palni Hills and runs not very far from the town. On this river, a few short kilometres from the suburbs, in the lower reaches of the Palni Hills, is built the Varadhaman Nadi Dam, which supplies the town with its supply of fresh water

Demographics[edit]

According to 2011 census, Palani had a population of 70,467 with a sex-ratio of 1,023 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929.[1] A total of 6,467 were under the age of six, constituting 3,283 males and 3,184 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 16.57% and .23% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the town was 78.95%, compared to the national average of 72.99%.[1] The town had a total of  19015 households. There were a total of 27,150 workers, comprising 372 cultivators, 1,277 main agricultural labourers, 763 in house hold industries, 23,478 other workers, 1,260 marginal workers, 40 marginal cultivators, 68 marginal agricultural labourers, 107 marginal workers in household industries and 1,045 other marginal workers.[2]

Temples[edit]

Palani is home to one of the most sacred shrines of the God Subrahmanyan, as worshipped in the Hindu sect of Kaumaram. The Thandayudhapani Temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, and regarded one of his Arupadai Veedu (Six Battle Camps), is situated here.[3] The temple situated atop the Sivagiri is small but attracts a flood of devotees from all over the country. The architecture of the temple appears to be of the Pandya school. The Garbagriham is surmounted by a gold gopuram, most admirably worked. The walls of the Garbagriham have numerous stone inscriptions describing offerings made by devotees to the temple. Steps are hewn into the rock, besides a wide path meant for the ascent of elephants, up the hill. In addition, a funicular railway with three tracks and a rope way have been provided more recently for the comfort of the pilgrims.

In keeping with the traditions of all temples of the God Subrahmanyan, another temple is dedicated to his worship near the foot of the Sivagiri. It goes by the name of Thiru Avinankudi, and is remarkable for the exquisite appearance of the chief deity besides other sculptures.

Besides this, right at the foot of the Sivagiri is a small shrine dedicated to the god Ganapathi, where he goes by the name Pada Vinayakar. It is common amongst the pilgrims to pay their obeisances at this shrine before commencing their ascent of the hill to worship the Lord Subrahmanyan. A particular offering here is the breaking of coconuts, by flinging them against an enclosed stone before the shrine, of which many hundreds are broken by the devotees in the course of a day.

Within the town is another temple dedicated to the Goddess Parvathi as Periyanayaki Amman. It popularly goes by the name of the Oorkovil - the town's chief temple. A particularly intriguing aspect of the temple is that, although it is referred to as the temple of Periyanayaki Amman, the central sanctum, the sanctum of supreme honour in Hindu temple architecture, is accorded to the Lord Subrahmanyan. The temple is large in expanse and displays an interesting blend of Pandya and Nayaka architecture. A tradition associated with the temple is that, formerly, a subterranean passage connected it with the Periya Avudaiyar temple some distance from the town, and was used to convey the idols under a peculiar circumstance of duress - when a Nawab attacked; however, beyond the fact, obvious from his title, that he was a Muslim, nothing is known of the Nawab or of his attack. Some evidence may be said to exist of an attack since some of the sculptures in the Nayaka mandapam in front of the temple have their limbs missing.

A short distance from the town is a temple dedicated to Shiva as Periya Avudaiyar. This temple, located right on the banks of the Shanmugha Nadi, is situated in particularly peaceful environs far-removed from the bustle of the town.

Near the Periya Nayaki Amman temple are two others - the Mariyamman Temple and the Perumal Temple. The former is particularly resorted to in times of epidemics, the goddess there being regarded as the protectress against illnesses.

The Kannadi Perumal Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, is a small temple situated on a hillock 9 km south of Palani, a short distance from the highway to Kodaikanal. The name of the temple is derived from its tradition that the presiding deity of the temple wards off the effects of dhrishti, a Sanskritic term which may be held to mean 'casting an evil eye'. One of the practices of the devotees of the temple is to bring the first-born calves of their cows to the temple seeking the deity's blessing, as the protector of cattle. On account of its secluded location it is not resorted to by many.

Transportation[edit]

Road[edit]

National Highway NH 209 connects Palani to Coimbatore and Bangalore via:Udumalpet,Chamrajnagar, Kanakapura. There are frequent buses to Dindigul, Coimbatore, Madurai, Erode, Tirupur, Udumalpet, Pollachi, Karur, Trichy. Many Omni buses are available to Chennai, Bangalore and Kodaikanal.

Rail[edit]

Palani used to be a part of the Coimbatore-Rameswaram MG line prior to the commencing of gauge conversion works on the line, which is yet under progress. On 20 November 2012, The Dindigul-Palani section of the line was completed, and the local railway station became open to railway traffic again.

Currently 3 pairs of Passenger Trains are operated between Dindigul and Palani and another additional Passenger Train runs from Madurai via Dindigul. Furthermore, an express train was launched in October 2013, which connects Palani with the state capital Chennai through Dindigul-Karur-Namakkal-Salem-Vellore.

Air[edit]

Palani is located equidistant from Coimbatore, Trichy and Madurai Airports.

Wildlife[edit]

Palani Hills : Palani Hills is the eastern spur of Western ghats located very close to Palani.

Kothaimangalam Wetlands : Kothaimangalam Wetlands are located near to Palani, Tamil Nadu, India. The huge lakes are the habitat for lot of Migratory birds. One of the wetland is adjacent to the Shanmuganadhi river.

Kongur Wetland : Kongur Wetland is 25 km from Palani.

Traditional Commerce[edit]

Palani is a centre of a form of traditional Indian medicine known as Siddha Vaidyam, said to have been developed by the ascetics resident, in prehistoric times, in the hills about the modern-day town. Further, the town is also the centre for production of Vibhuti (sacred ash) and pancha amritham (literally, 'the five nectars' - a traditional preparation of fruit pulp and molasses), both of which are considered holy and distributed to devotees after being offered to the Lord Subrahmanyan in the hill-temple.

Climate[edit]

The famous picnic and tourist hill station Kodaikanal is located near Palani.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Census Info 2011 Final population totals". Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Census Info 2011 Final population totals - Palani". Office of The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Dhandapani Murugan Kovil". Tamilnadu.com. 5 March 2013. 

Sri Subramanya College of Arts and Science

External links[edit]

See also[edit]