Palani Dhandayudhapani Swamy Temple of Lord Subramanya is located on top of the Palani Hills,150 kms from Coimbatore and 120 kms from Madurai. It is one of the six "Aaru padai veedu" (six abodes of Lord Muruga).
As per mythology, Sage Narada visited Shiva and Parvathi while they were with their sons Ganesha and younger one Subramanya,at Mount Kailash. Narada had a delicious golden mango on his hand, which he claimed to be the 'Gnana Pazham' (Fruit of Wisdom) and as it can not be cut and given in pieces, he wanted to present the whole fruit to the son whoever circumbulate the earth first. Subramanya scarmbled on his vahana, the peacock and took off.Ganesha, always the wise one, went arount their parents and said they are the world and claimed the fruit. Subramanya returning from circling the earth was furious and in huff left the Kailash and climbed atop the Palani Hills on the earth skulking. No amount of consolation from Shiva and mother Parvathy could convince him to get back to their home. He admonished all his possessions and as a hermit with only a loin cloth and a stick ( dhandam) on his hand and began to meditate to attain wisdom.
The present idol of Lord Dhandayudhapani is an amalgam of nine various ayervedic mixture called pashanam and was sculpted and consecrated by siddha sage Bogar.The idol is said to contain medicinal properties that can cure most of the incurable diseases, and some inside miscreants started scraping pieces from the idol in the pretext of touching the idol for abhishekam and alankarams and selling the pashanam. At present even abhishekams to the idol is not done as it is dissolving the idol.
The temple is built atop the hills of Palani, a portion of the western ghat.It dates back to 9th century and the Cheran king Cheraman Peruman is said to have constructed this temple.There are four approaches to the temple. Traditionally those who are willing to walk the hard way use the 700 steps to ascend to the temple. There is another easier way for pedestrians called 'Anai pathai' (elephant route) of about 3 kms, which is more of a road with easier elevations. Another is the mechanical Winch cars that take you to the top.There is a recently introduced rope car that takes only 3 minutes to cover the distance of 320 metres .
The outer Praharam is big with beautiful 360 degrees view from the top and you can see the Western Ghats,Idumban Hill, the Kodaikanal Hills, view of Palani town. On a clear day, the Kurinji Andavar Temple in Kodaikanal can be seen from here. There is a prasadm counter that sells the world famous 'Panchamritham', a must buy for every visitor, similar to that Tirupathi's laddu.
As you enter the inner sanctum, you can see the majestic Lord Dhanadyudhapani idol which is about 4 feet tall in a pedastal and made of pashanams and other herbs. As constant abhishekams has eroded the idol, no abhishekams are done to this idol, but the smaller bronze idol at the foot of the moolavar. Different alankarams (costumes) such as Sanniyasi alankaram, Vedan (hunter) alankaram,Balasubramaniar alankaram ,Vaitheekal alankaram,Raja alankaram ( like King) and Pushpa alankaram are made from morning till closure in that order.
As Dhandapani came to Palani as a bachelor there are no sannidhis for his consorts. There is a small sannidhi for Ganesha as you enter the inner sanctum.
There is a sannidhi for sage and siddhar Bhogar in the southwestern praharam.He is said to have lived long ago around 3000 BC, but no authentic records available. In this sannidhi, pujas are offered to Navadurga, Bhuvaneswari and Maragatha Lingam that were worshipped by Bhogar. It is said that there is an underground tunnel linking this sannidhi with the sanctum sanctorum through which Bhogar is said perform daily pujas to Lord Dhandayudhapani.
Hymns in praise of Lord Palani Murugan have been sung by Saint Arunagirnathar in Tiruppukazh.
Devotees offer their hair ( it is very popular in Tirupathi Balaji temple, and other Murugan temples in the South) as a sacrifice after their prayers have been answered. You can request the authorized barber to come to your place of stay to perform tonsuring to you or your kids in a more hygienic conditions.
There is a Golden cradle in the temple. Devotees place their child on it on a payment of small fees,for well being of their child.
Other important ritual is carrying of palkudams (milk pots) and Kavadi by the devotees in huge numbers.
The temple has a golden chariot made of gold and silver and other metals. Devotees on payment of stipulated fees can take the deity in a procession in the golden charriot around the outer corridor.
Panchamritham The Panchamritham available here used to be very famous with five main ingredients, hill banana,jaggery,ghee,raisins,dates and kalkandu(rock candies). Now there are so many players selling this as prasadam, which maybe inferior to the original one.
Daily pujas to the deities are performed six times a day.
Monthly Krithikai festival, Visakam festival in May, Navarathri festival in May, the important Skanda Sashti festival during October,Thiru Karthikai in Nov/December, Thai poosam in January and Pankuni Uttiram in Pankuni (March-Apr) are celeberated in a very grand scale. Unprecedent crowds throng the temple during theses festival days.
The Golden Chariot procession is held on every day, except on Festival days.
Temple Timings It is open from 5:30 am – 8:00pm with occassional breaks of 30 minutes for alankarams.
The temple is located at 150 Kms from Coimbatore and 130 kms from Madurai. Palani has a railway station and there are trains from Chennai,Coimbatore Madurai with good connectivity to other places. Plenty of private buses, and Government buses ply from Coimbatore, Madurai and other major cities of the south India.
From the foothills of Palani town ( Adivaram), there are four major approaches to the temple.Traditionally those who are willing to walk use the 700 steps to ascend to the temple oruse the much easier path called 'Anai pathai' (elephant route - Temple elephants use this way) of about 3 kms, both of which are open almost 24 hours a days with good lighting,resting places,drinking water and rest rooms on the way.Another is the mechanical Winch cars, and a recently introduced rope car that takes only 3 minutes to cover the distance of 320 metres.Elders and those who can not walk can use these. But the lines may be long during special days and may have to wait for a few hours.
Beware of Touts Beware of the touts who will pester you saying that they will take you near the God and perform sevas etc. Refuse and walk straight in to the sanctum and do what others normally do.
Where to Stay?There are plenty of budget and semi deluxe hotels in Palani town. There are also accommodation available in cottages by Palani Temple devasthanam.
Where to Eat?There are several restaurants in Palani and use your judgement to select the hygienic ones.
Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Thirukoil,
Palani - 624 601.
Tamil Nadu. India
Toll Free Number - 18004259925
Other phones: 04545 - 242293, 9489668093
E-Mail : email@example.com
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State: Tamil Nadu
Famous for: Pilgrimage
Best Season: Throughout the year. Summer( from May to July) could be very hot and dry when the mercury shoots to 40 degree celsius.
Weather: Summer 33-42°C, Winter 16-28°C
Altitude: 1500 ft above sea level