The Temples of Tamil Nadu are not merely places of worship. They are the repositories of the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the land. Over the years, the sculptural skills of the craftsmen have found reflection in these temples. The Murugan Temples of Tamil Nadu are embodiments of artistic excellence and capture the essence of life of its people.
Lord Murugan is highly revered in the state of Tamil Nadu. He is known by several other names like Skanda, Kartikeya and Subramanya. He is believed to be a learned individual and a valiant warrior. The son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Lord Murugan is extolled in the 2000 year old Sangam Literature and also in the hymns of Adi Shankaracharya and Kalidasa.
There are as many as 54 Murugan Temples in the state of Tamil Nadu. These Murugan Temples have been built over a long period of time during the rule of several dynasties like the Cholas and the Pandyas. Of all the Murugan Temples there are six shrines which are most venerated. These popular shrines are referred to as Aaru Padai Veedu. According to legend they were visited by Lord Murugan himself when he was fighting the demon Soorapadam. These 6 highly acclaimed Murugan Temples are-
Tirupparamkunram near Madurai- The rock cut shrines and the carved pillars of the Mandapams of this Murugan Temple are noteworthy. It is here that the wedding of Lord Murugan with Lord Indra’s daughter Devasena took place.
Palani Andavar Temple near Madurai- This temple and the Thiruvavinakundi Temple form a composite unit and are visited by a large number of devotees each year. The former is also well known for its golden vimana.
Pazhamudircholai near Madurai- The simplicity of this shrine keeps it apart from the other Murugan Temples. No grand structure is seen surrounding the central shrine of this temple located on top of the Pazhamudircholai hill.
Swamimalai Temple- The antiquity and importance of this temple can be gauged from the fact that it has been praised in Tirumurugaatruppadai of the Tamil Sangam period. A flight of 60 steps leads to the temple which has an impressive gopuram.
Tiruttani Temple near Tirupati- Four prakarams and a series of towers are the most striking features of this temple. Lord Murugan is believed to have married Valli at this temple.
Tiruchendur Temple- Unlike the other five Aaru Padai Veedu which are located on hill tops, this one is beside the shore. The nine tired gopuram is the most striking feature of this temple.
Some of the Murugan temples that were constructed at the time of the glorious reign of the Cholas are:
- Vaideeswaran Koyil
There was a splurge in the construction of Murugan Temples even during the rule of the Pandyas. Some of the Murugan Temples that were constructed then are:
- Kumarar Koyil
Some of the other Murugan Temples of Tamil Nadu are:
- Kumaran Kunram
It is difficult for the devotees to visit all the Murugan Temples but the six Murugan Temples which are most revered are visited not only by pilgrims but also be tourists coming to visit the state of Tamil Nadu.