Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is the first abode of six celebrated temples of Murugan. He is the God of war and victory. Origin of the temple goes back to sixth century C.E.
Architecture of Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
Pandyan Kings built the rock-cut portions of Thiruparakundram Murugan temple in the sixth century. Later the Nayaka rulers constructed the massive mandapams in the sixteenth century. The mandapams have many carved pillars of great beauty. The towering seven-tiered rajagopuram at the entrance is 150 ft (46 m) high. An Aasthaana Mandapam with several artistically carved pillars leads us to the main gopuram.
The principal shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Murugan, Durga, Vinayaka, Shiva and Vishnu. Craftsmen have carved all the statues on the wall of parankundram rock. Shiva is worshipped as Parangirinathar with his wife Parvati as Aavudai Nayaki. Outside the sanctum are panels depicting Shiva’s dance of bliss.
The primary shrine has cells which hold the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. All the deities are carved out of rock. A unique feature of the temple is that Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine. This is an uncommon occurrence in Hindu temples.
In front of the kodimaram or dwajasthambam stands a rock sculpture of Nandi Bull, along with peacock and mouse (vehicle of Ganesha). Outside the temple is a pond where devotees feed the fish with salt and rice flakes. Adjacent to the pond is the Gurukulam or School of Vedic studies.
Demon king Surapadman did severe penance and got blessings from Shiva. Later Surapadman started terrorising the world. He married Padumakomalai and got many sons. Viramkendiram was his capital where he imprisoned Indra, king of the Devas. Indra then appealed to Murugan who killed the demon king in battle. Surapadman hid under the sea and Murugan cut him into two pieces which went on to become his divine vehicles, peacock and rooster.
Indra was jubilant at the turn of events and gave his daughter Devasena in marriage to Murugan. The wedding took place at Thiruparamkundram.
One of the best times to visit this temple is during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November) when the Skantha Sasti festival takes place over two weeks. The victory of Lord Murugan over demon king Surapadman and later his divine marriage to Devasena are celebrated during this festival with great zeal.
The temple observes 25 festivals each year.
Pooja Timings of Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
The temple opens from 5:00 am to 1:00 pm. It again opens for devotees in the evenings, from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. It is open on all days of the week. The temple rituals occur thrice a day: Kalasanthi at 8:00 am, Uchikalam at 12:00 am and Sayarakshai at 6:00 pm. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhishekam (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deeparadhana for Uchinathar (Shiva) and Uchinayagi (Parvati).
The temple is 8 km from Madurai Meenakshi Amman Kovil. Madurai Junction is a drive of 7.1 km (17 min). Nearest airport is Madurai International Airport, 10.1 km (21 min). Buses link the temple to Madurai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.
Address: Sri Subramaniaswami Temple, Thiruparankundram, Madurai – 625 005, Tamil Nadu