Arupadai Veedu – Pazhamuthicholai, madurai
|Skanda Sashti festival
|Alagar Hills R.F., Tamil Nadu 624401
Pazhamutircolai is situated 19 kilometres from the temple town of Madurai. The place is full of natural beauty and sylvan surroundings. This hill is also known as Vrishabhadri or Idabagiri. At the foot of the hill is situated Azhakar Kovil, which is one among the 108 divyadesams sanctified by the hymns of Azhwars sung in praise of the Vishnu enshrined in this temple. Atop the hill Lord Muruga stands majestically in the temple as the Lord of the Hills popularly known as Kurinji Nilakkizhavan in Tamil. The temple of Pazhamutircolai can be reached by a motorable road leading to the hill.
Pazhamutircholai is mentioned as the sixth of Lord Murugan’s Aaru Patai Vidukal, the six holiest Murugan shrines described by Cankam poet Nakkirar in his poem Tirumurukarruppatai. Regarding the identity of the sixth major site, there is no consensus among scholars and many local temples are ascribed the distinction. Most scholars, priests and devotees identify Pazhamutircholai with the shrine of Palamutircolai, twelve miles north of Madurai in the Alagar Hills, above the Alagarcoil Vishnu temple. While this temple is not as large or bustling as the other five recognized shrines, it is just as incredible to visit.
This shrine is located on the northern outskirts of Madurai in a pleasant wooded hill not far from Alagar Visnu Kovil, a fortified temple complex revered as one of the 108 abodes of Vishnu glorified by the hymns of the Alwars. At the top of the hill, is Noopura Ganga, a perennial waterfall with a temple dedicated to Rakkayi Amman. The Nûpura Ganga atop the hill is said to originated from the anklet of Tirumal or Visnu and hence the name of the spring. It is said that sitting in the madavi mandapa near the spring Ilangovadigal wrote one of the five mahakavyas in Tamil, viz., Cilappatikaram. Even today the place is very fertile with many trees and different flora and fauna, a standing testimony to the vivid description of the place’s natural beauty as found in Tirumurugattruppadaiof Nakkeerar.
Though the sthala is of ancient origin, the temple as in existence today was constructed only recently. From days of yore Vel has been worshipped as the moolavar or main deity. The idol of Lord Muruga in a standing posture has a single face and four hands with Valli and Teyvayanai on both sides. The Vel made up of stone is of special significance and is worshipped with a great veneration by devotees.
The sthala vriksha is a rose apple tree. The fruits of this tree ripen during Skanda Sashti festival. The temple that was in existence during Sangam period no longer existed in Arunagirinatha’s time. The recently constructed temple is considered as Pazhamutircolai and worshipped by the devotees. It is needless to say that it is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga very extensively praised and described by Nakkeerar in Tirumurugatruppadai.
Arunagirinathar also reveres this shrine in his Tiruppukal. Arunagirinatha sang 16 Tiruppugzh psalms to Pazhamutircolai Muruga. Though one might be in possession of all types of wealth, if he wants to lead a healthy life bereft of any disease he should necessarily visit Pazhamutircolai. Arunagirinatha very emphatically says in the most unequivocal terms that Lord Muruga should come before him running to bless each and everyone with health and wealth as has been very clearly described in the Tiruppugazh psalm.
Not far from Palamutircholai south of Madurai is another of the Aaru Patai Vedukal, Tirupparankunram.
Legend / Local stories
The great Tamil poet and saint Avvaiyar was tested by Muruga here.In an episode of Divine Play with Avvaiyar, one of the most famous devotees of Muruga, the Lord enacted the following drama. One day Avvaiyar became tired while traveling under the hot sun and sought refuge under the shadow of a fruit tree, hungry and thirsty, when a boy who sitting on the tree asked her whether she wanted fruits from the tree. When Avvaiyar told him that she did, the boy asked Avvaiyar whether she wanted roasted fruits or unroasted fruits. Avvaiyar who was a famous Tamil poet and incredibly knowledgeable litterateur scoffed silently at the very thought of the existence of a “roasted fruit” and decided that the boy didn’t have knowledge even about a fruit. However, tired as she was, she decided that she didn’t want to argue with the boy and asked him to pick unroasted fruits for her, which the boy then proceeded to do. Several fruits fell out of the tree and Avvaiyar picked them up,blowing on them to remove the sand. Smiling, the boy asked Avvaiyar if she was blowing on his “roasted fruits” to cool them down.
Avvaiyar was astonished as to how a small village cowboy could have played such an intelligent drama. Blowing on the fruit to remove the sand was indeed poetically comparable to an attempt to cool “roasted fruits”. Humbled by the immense poetic knowledge and clever wordplay of the boy, Avvaiyar begged the boy to reveal his true identity, unable to reconcile herself with the fact that a simple cowherd could have such profound thoughts. The boy then disappeared and in his place, Muruga appeared. Avvaiyar, stunned to find herself in Divine Company, bowed in obeisance and realising the infinite nature of knowledge, prayed to Muruga to bless her and continue bestowing his Infinite Grace on her to aid her virtually endless quest for knowledge.
How to Reach:
Palani is approximately 100 kilometers from the Coimbatore. Mode of transport from the Coimbatore to the Palani includes taxi, bus and train.
The nearest air port is in Coimbatore. Coimbatore has has regular flights from Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Sharjah. Air India, Kingfisher,Indigo,Spicejet and Jet Airways operate flights out of Coimbatore Airport.
There is a rail line through Palani station, stretching Madurai to Coimbatore via Pollachi. Now Tiruchendur to palani via madurai, Chennai central – Palani Express, operating on this line.
The state transport corporation and a lot of private bus operators ply bus from Palani to major cities in Tamil Nadu (Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Tuticorin etc) and also to the neighboring Kerala(Palakkadu, Kochin).
Alagar Hills R.F., Tamil Nadu 624401