Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Thiruparankundram

Coordinates: 9°52′47″N 78°04′16″E / 9.8798°N 78.0711°E / 9.8798; 78.0711
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Arulmigu Murugan Temple
Temple's Main Gopuram
View of the Gopuram
DeityMurugan and Deivayanai
FestivalsVaikasi Visagam, Avani Festival, Skanda Sasti Festival and Masi Festival
Governing bodyTamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department
StateTamil Nadu
Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Thiruparankundram is located in Tamil Nadu
Subramaniya Swamy Temple, Thiruparankundram
Location in Tamil Nadu
Geographic coordinates9°52′47″N 78°04′16″E / 9.8798°N 78.0711°E / 9.8798; 78.0711
TypeTamil architecture
Date established6th century

Arulmigu Murugan Temple, Thiruparankundram is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Murugan (also known as Kartikeya) at Thiruparankundram, Tamilnadu, India. It is regarded as one of the "First Houses of Murugan". The temple uses rock-cut architecture and is believed to have been built by the Pandyas during the 6th century. According to legend, Murugan slayed the demon Surapadman and married his consort Devasena at the temple. Murugan is also said to have worshipped his father Shiva at the site as Parangirinathar.

The temple is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Madurai in India. In the main shrine, apart from Murugan, the deities Shiva, Vishnu, Vinayaka (Ganesha) and Durga are housed. The temple follows Shaiva tradition of worship. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Kantha Sashti festival during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October - November) is the most prominent. The temple is under the purview of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.


Image of Saravana Poigai and the temple

Thiruparamkundram finds mention in the Skanda Puranam detailing the slaying of Surapadman by the god Murugan. According to Hindu legend, the demon king Surapadman once obtained boons, or favors, from the god Shiva due to severe penance. He started ruling the world on account of the power attained. He married Padumakomalai and had several sons. Viramkendiram, a city created in the seas, became his capital, and he started troubling the devas (the gods). He imprisoned Indra (the king of the gods) and also desired Indra's wife Indrani. Indra sought the help of Shiva's son and the god of war Murugan. Murugan sent his messenger Viravaku thevar to the demon, who remained unmoved. A severe battle was fought in Thiruchendur where Murugan killed all the sons of the Surapadman except Iraniyan. Surapadman hid under the sea. Murugan split him into two pieces, which went on to become the god's divine vehicles, peacock and rooster.[1] The day when Murugan slayed Surapadman is celebrated as Skanda Sashti festival in all the Murugan temples.[2]

In gratitude, Indra married his daughter Devasena (Deivayanai) to Murugan at Thiruparamkundram. Murugan is believed to have worshipped Shiva here as Parangirinathar.[3]


Top View

Inscriptional evidence in the temple points to a history as a Jain cave. Other theories suggest that the Murugan temple existed much before the 6th century, and was converted into a Jain shrine by Jain monks under the aegis of Pandya king Koon Pandiyan. The temple was later converted into a Hindu temple under the tutelage of Gajapathy, the minister of a later Pandya King, during the latter part of the 8th century. The temple received several additions during the regime of Madurai Nayaks, who commissioned the pillared halls in the temple.[4] As of 2021, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.[5][6]


The temple is located 8 km (5.0 mi) from Madurai, on the Madurai - Tenkasi road. The temple is constructed with rock-cut architecture dating back to the Pandya period of 6th century and the life sized sculptures in the mandapas of the Nayaka period during the 16th century.[7][8] An Aasthaana Mandapa with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet (46 m) high seven-tiered rajagopuram at the entrance.[4] The granite hill behind the temple is 1,050 ft (320 m) has a shrine of Kasi Viswanatha (Shiva) at the top. The image of Vinayaka (Ganesha) in the temple holds sugarcane and fruits.[9] The inner rock cut image is made from a single stone.[10]

The Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam, the three halls leading to the sanctum, are situated at varying elevations. The main shrine is an early rock-cut temple that has cells that house the sanctums of Murugan, Durga, Vinayaka, Shiva and Vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the Parankundram rock. Shiva is worshipped as Parangirinathar with his wife Parvati as Aavudai Nayaki. Panels depicting Shiva's dance of bliss are seen outside the sanctum.[4]

A notable feature of this temple is that the Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, considered a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. Outside the temple there is a water tank, where the fishes are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees. There is also a Vedic school on the banks of the temple pond. In front of the Dwajasthambam, the flag staff, there is a carved Nandi (bull), Mayil (peacock) and mouse, the vahanas (vehicles) of Shiva, Murugan and Vinayaka. There is a flight of six steps called the "Shadashara Padigal", before Ardha Mandapam. The rock carvings of Mahisshasura Mardini (Durga), Karpaga Vinayagar (Ganesha), Andarabaranar and Uggirar are seen in the hall. There are five water bodies, namely, Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Saniyasi Kinaru (well), Kasi Sunai, and Sathiya Koopam.[4]

Literary mention[edit]

The 7th-century Shaiva saint Sambandar visited Thirupparamkunram and praised the Shiva icon of the temple Uchinathar in ten verses in Tevaram, compiled as the First Tirumurai. As the temple is revered in Tevaram, it is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the Saiva canon. The temple is counted as the third in the series of the temples on bank of river Vaigai.[11]

Sambandar met the three Tamil chiefs, the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya in this temple and blessed them. Sundarar and Sambandar composed the Tevaram Pathigam here. Nakkirar composed many poems on the Murugan icon. Tiruppugazh, Kandapuranam and other works speak of the glory of this shrine.[12]

Religious importance and festivals[edit]

View of the temple entrance

The temple priests daily perform the puja (rituals). The temple rituals are performed three times a day; Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 a.m. and Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for Uchinathar (Shiva) and Uchinayagi (Parvati).[11] There are weekly rituals like somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like pradosham, and monthly festivals like amavasai (new moon day), kiruthigai, pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi.

Skanda Shashti festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October - November) is the most prominent festival of the temple. Murugan killing Surapadman is enacted during the last of the six days and the festive image of Murugan is taken in different mounts around the streets of the temple during the festival. Brahmotsavam here falls in the Tamil month of Panguni. The Vishnu named Pavalakanivai Perumal, and Murugan are taken in procession to Madurai to celebrate Minakshi's wedding (Chittirai festival), with residents of Madurai dressed in festive clothing. Nakkirar's association with this temple is also celebrated as a festival. Karthigai Deepam festival is also celebrated during the Tamil month of Karthigai by lighting a lamp on top of the hill. Vaikasi Visakam, and the float festival in Thai(Tamil month) are the other festivals celebrated in the temple. Since the image of Vishnu is in the temple, Vaikunta Ekadashi is also celebrated.[12]


  1. ^ Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 399. ISBN 9780143414216.
  2. ^ Clothey, Fred (1969). "Skanda-Ṣaṣṭi: A Festival in Tamil India". History of Religions. 8 (3). The University of Chicago Press: 241. doi:10.1086/462586. JSTOR 1061761. S2CID 162341469.
  3. ^ Hariramsai, Suresh (2016). Transition, Infinity, and Ecstasy. Partridge Publishing. pp. 82–3. ISBN 9781482869446.
  4. ^ a b c d V., Meena. Temples in South India. Kanniyakumari: Harikumar Arts. pp. 16–17.
  5. ^ " - TNHRCE". 7 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Arulmighu Subramania Swamy Temple". Hindu Religious Endowment Board, Government of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  7. ^ Rajarajan, R.K.K. (1991). "Further Light on Tirupparaṅkuṉṟam Caves". Annali del Istituto Orientale, Naples. 51 (4): 395–408.
  8. ^ Rajarajan, R.K.K. (2006) Art of the Vijayanagara-Nāyakas: Architecture and Iconography. 2 Vols., Sharada Publishing House, New Delhi. Pages xxxii + 248 with 25 plans, 350 plates, ISBN 81-88934-30-5
  9. ^ Mathew, Biju, ed. (2013). Pilgrimage to Temple Heritage, Volume 1. Info Kerala Communications Pvt Ltd. p. 551. ISBN 9788192128443.
  10. ^ Karkar, S.C. (2009). The Top Ten Temple Towns of India. Kolkota: Mark Age Publication. p. 21. ISBN 978-81-87952-12-1.
  11. ^ a b R., Dr. Vijayalakshmy (2001). An introduction to religion and Philosophy - Tévarám and Tivviyappirapantam (1st ed.). Chennai: International Institute of Tamil Studies. pp. 321–22.
  12. ^ a b "Sri Subramania Swamy temple". Dinamalar. 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.

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