Six Abodes of Murugan

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Six Abodes of Murugan
Six Holy abodes of Lord Muruga
FestivalsKaumaram, Thaipusam
LocationThiruthani, Swamimalai, Pazhani, Pazhamudircholai, Thiruparankundram, Thiruchendur
StateTamil Nadu
TypeTamilian Architecture

The Six Abodes of Murugan (Tamil: Āṟupaṭai vīṭu) are six temples situated in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. The god is known by different names such as Kartikeya, Kanda, Vadivela and Muruga at various temples. The six most sacred abodes of Murugan was mentioned in Tamil sangam literature, "Thirumurugatrupadai", written by Nakkeerar and in "Thiruppugazh", written by Arunagirinathar. The six abodes are Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram and Thiruchendur.


The story of Lord Murugan is described in Skanda Purana. According to the legend, in the olden days the demon Soorapadman tortured the Devas, who went to complain to Lord Vishnu and Brahma. They assigned Kamadeva to awake Lord Shiva from his penance, who later gave birth to Kartikeya. Karthikeya killed Soorapadman and saved the devas. Muruga is depicted as the god of love and war. Kartikeya married Valli by love and married Deivayanai by winning the war held at Tiruchendur.[1]

In Tamil literature five types of lands are explained. They are Kurinji (mountainous region), Mullai (forest region), Marutham (agricultural region), Neithal (coastal region) and Palai (desert region). Separate gods for these land types are clearly told in Sangam literature. According to the literature Lord Muruga is the god of mountainous region,.[2]

Religious importance[edit]

Arunagirinathar was a 15th-century Tamil poet born in Tiruvannamalai. He spent his early years as a rioter and seducer of women. After ruining his health, he tried to commit suicide by throwing himself from the northern tower of Annamalaiyar Temple, but was saved by the grace of god Murugan.[3] He became a staunch devotee and composed Tamil hymns glorifying Murugan, the most notable being Thirupugazh.[4][5] Arunagirinathar visited various Murugan temples and on his way back to Tiruvannamalai, visited Palani and sung praises about Swaminathaswamy.[6] Tiruparamkundram is considered the first of the six abodes, while Palani is considered the most prominent abodes of Muruga.[7]


One of the main traditions of the six temples, is the tonsuring of devotees, who vow to discard their hair in imitation of the Palani deity. Another is the anointing of the head of the presiding deity's idol with sandalwood paste, at night, prior to the temple being closed for the day. The paste, upon being allowed to stay overnight, is said to acquire medicinal properties, and is much sought after and distributed to devotees, as rakkāla chandaṇam.[8] Devotees carry kavadi, an ornamental mount decked with flowers, glazed paper and tinsel work and wearing ochre clothes themselves on foot from long distances is a commonly followed worship practice.[9]


Temple Original name Location (North to South) Picture Description
Palani Murugan Temple திருவாவினன்குடி Palani, Dindigul district
Palani Hills 1.JPG
Located in Dindigul District, on the Palani hill bottom ( Malai Adivaram ) called 'Thiruaavinankudi', where the deity is known as 'Kuzhanthai Velayuthaswami' and was worshipped by Goddess Lakshmi ('Thiru' in Tamil), owner of cows ('Aavinan' in Tamil), living place ('kudi' in Tamil).

There is also a Murugan temple on the Palani hill top where 'Dhandayuthapani' is the main deity, in a meditating state, carrying a staff ('danda') as weapon ('ayutha') in his hands ('pani'). This is the place where Murugan resided after his feud with his family over a divine fruit. Here, the main deity is made out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashanam and was established by Saint Bhogar.

Swamimalai Murugan Temple திருவீரகம் Swamimalai, Thanjavur district
Swamimalai temple.jpg
Located at 5 km from Kumbakonam, the temple is built on an artificial hill. The temple commemorates the incident where Muruga explained the essence of the pranava mantra "Om" to his father Shiva.
Thiruchendur Murugan Temple திருசீரலைவாய் Thiruchendur, Thoothukudi district
Located on the sea-shore near Tuticorin amongst the remains of Gandhamadana Parvatam or Santhanamalai (Sandal Mountain). The temple commemorates the place where Murugan won a decisive victory over demon Soorapadman by worshipping Lord Shiva.
Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple திருப்பரங்குன்றம் Thiruparankunram, Madurai district
Thiruparamkundram (22).jpg
Located on the outskirts of Madurai on a hillock where Kartikeyan married Indra's daughter Deivanai. Nakkeerar worshipped Murugan in this shrine and is said to have worshiped Lord Shiva here as Parangirinathar. This is the first of the Arupadaiveedu.
Thiruthani Murugan Temple குன்றுத்தோறடல்   Thiruttani, Thiruvallur district
Thiruthani Murugan Temple.jpg
Located near Chennai, Murugan reclaimed his inner peace after waging a war with Asuras and married Valli here.
Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple பழமுதிர்ச்சோலை Pazhamudircholai, Madurai district
Pazhamuthir solai Murugan 2.JPG
Located on the outskirts of Madurai on a hillock with a holy stream nearby called "Nupura Gangai". Murugan is seen with both his consorts Deivanai and Valli.

Lord of the Regions[edit]

According to Tamil sangam literature five types of lands are seen, where Lord Muruga is the God of Mountainous Regions.

Region (Tamil) Region (English) Chief God
Kurinji Mountainous region Murugan (Lord Karthikeya)
Mullai Forest region Maayon (Lord Vishnu)
Marutham Agricultural region Indiran (Indra)
Neithal Coastal region Varunan (Varuna)
Palai Desert region Kaali (Kali)


  1. ^ "Arupadaiveedu". The Hindu. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ V.K., Subramanian (2007). 101 Mystics of India. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 109. ISBN 81-7017-471-6.
  4. ^ Aiyar, P.V.Jagadisa (1982), South Indian Shrines: Illustrated, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, pp. 191–203, ISBN 81-206-0151-3
  5. ^ Zvelebil, Kamil (1975), Tamil literature, Volume 2, Part 1, Netherlands: E.J. Brill, Leiden, p. 217, ISBN 90-04-04190-7
  6. ^ Zvelebil 1991, p. 53
  7. ^ Economic Reforms and Small Scale Industries. Concept Publishing Company. 2009. p. 25. ISBN 9788180694493.
  8. ^ Clothey, Fred W. (1972). "Pilgrimage Centers in the Tamil Cultus of Murukan". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Oxford University Press. 40 (1): 82. JSTOR 1461919.
  9. ^ Mohamed, N.P.; A.J., Thomas (2003). "N.P. Mohamed in Conversation with A.J. Thomas". Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. 47 (1): 147. JSTOR 23341738.

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