Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple
|Tirupparankunram Murugan Temple|
|Proper name||Tirupparankunram Murugan Kovil|
|Architectural styles||cave and structural architecture by early & later pandiyas also by Nayaks|
|History and governance|
Tirupparankunram Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple and one of the Six Abodes of Murugan, located at Tirupparankunram. The temple offers a mystic beauty; is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. According to the legend it is where Murugan married Deivayanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra, and he is said to have worshipped Shiva here as Parangirinathar.
The temple is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Madurai in India. In the main shrine, apart from Muruga, deities of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Vinayaka and Goddess Durga are housed. The other Arupadaiveedu's dedicated for Lord Muruga are Thiruchendur (100 km south of Madurai), Palani (120 km west of Madurai), Swamimalai (150 km east of Madurai), Thiruthani (50 km from Chennai) and Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai).
There are several architectural features of interest, especially the rock cut portions of this hill temple dating back to the Pandya period and the life sized sculptures in the mandapams of the Nayakar period. An Aasthaana Mandapam with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet (46 m) high Rajagopuram at the entrance.
The Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam are situated at different levels. The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock. The presiding deity lord shiva is known Parangirinathar and the female deity his consort mother Parvathy is known as Aavudai Nayaki. Panels depicting Shiva's dance of bliss are seen outside the sanctum. These magnificent works of art date back to the Pandya period.
A curious feature of this temple is that the Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, and this is a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. This is because Hinduism always held two distinct worshipping groups - Shaivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu). Outside the temple there is a beautiful pond where, according to Temple tradition, the fishes are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees. There is also a Vedic school adjacent to the banks of the temple pond.This temple was built by carving the hill.
In front of the Dwajasthambam or the Kodi Maram, one gets the magnificently carved Nandi, Mayil and the Mouse ( the vehicle of Lord Ganesha). This is a specialty of this Murugan shrine.Going inside, one can see the sannidhis of various Hindu Gods and Hindu Goddesses. Of special mention is the sannidhi of Saneeswaran without the other eight Grahas. Climbing a flight of six steps called the "Shadashara Padigal", one reaches the Ardha Mandapam. One gets to see the rock carvings of Mahisshasura Mardini, Karpaga Vinayagar, Andarabaranar and Uggirar.
There is also a rock carved sannidhi for Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Shiva in the form Sivalingam and Sathiyagireeshwarar sannidhis located here cannot miss the attention of the Muruga Bakthas visiting this Murugan shrine.
The Moolavar deity is also sculptured from a rock. Abhishekams for the presiding deity is done to the Murugan's Vel only.
There are five Theerthams, or divine water sources, in and around the temple, Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Saniyasi Kinaru (well), Kasi Sunai, and Sathiya Koopam.
Inscriptional evidences point out that this temple, being carved out of a hill, was most probably earlier a Jain cave( earlier to this, the Murugan temple existed much before.i.e., during 7th century and converted into jain worship centre by jain monks who influenced the pandya king Koon pandiyan ), which was however later converted into a Hindu temple. Gajapathy, Minister of the Pandya King, was instrumental during the later part of the 8th Century, to complete this conversion.
Saint Gnana Sambanda, the famous Shaiva Saint of the 7th Century, has visited Thirupparamkunram and has sung Devaram on Lord Shiva. Probably, this Shiva temple is the present temple in the main road near the entrance to the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple. The structure is quite old and ancient.
Gnana Sambanda has met the three Tamil chiefs, the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya in this temple and has blessed all the three of them.
Brahmotsavam here falls in the Tamil month of Panguni. The Vishnu named Pavalakanivai Perumal, and Lord Muruga is 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. Skanda Sashti, the ten day Kartikai festival, Vaikasi Visakam, and the float festival in Thai(tamil month) are other celebrations here. Since Vishnu is here Vaikunta Ekadashi is also celebrated.
See the holy transportation section of Tirupparankunram. Buses are available from Madurai Periyar bus stand. All the buses moving from Periyar bustand to Thirumangalam go through Tirupparankunram.