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| Last Updated:: 13/06/2017

Thiruparankundram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thiruparankundram, a hill five miles southwest of Madurai, Tamilnadu and is known for its ancient temple of Lord Murugan. The temple is first among the six abodes of Lord Murugan. It is one of the most visited tourist places in Madurai, next only to the Meenakshi Amman Temple. 

 

 

 

This is a cave temple and dates back to the sixth century. The antiquity of Thiruparankundram Temple can very well be gauged from the fact that it finds mention even in the Sangam Literature. The entrance of this magnificent cave temple leads to the shrines through a row of square pillars ornamented with lotus shaped medallions. 

 

 

 

Presiding deities of the temple are Lord Muruga and Goddess Devayani. Other deities - Shiva, Vishnu, Durga and Ganapathy - are represented as well. An Aasthaana Mandap with several artistically carved pillars leads one to the towering 150 feet high Rajagopuram at the entrance. One of the interesting aspects of this temple is that the idols of Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, which is otherwise a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. The temple premises also houses a striking pond where fishes are fed with salt and rice flakes by the devotees, according to the tradition of the temple. 

 

 

 

According to legend, the Lord married Devayani, the daughter of Lord Indra at this place after his successful war with the demon Surapadma and his army.  The day when Muruga slayed the demon Surapadma is celebrated as Skanda Sashti festival in all the Murugan temples.  Lord Muruga graces here in the wedding form. This is the reason why this temple is considered as one of the most auspicious places for marriages. It is believed that the couples who get married here get the blessing of Lord Muruga for a happy and successful married life. 

 

 

 

This is the only temple where Lord Murugan is seen with his consort Goddess Devayani only, whereas in all other temples, Lord Murugan is found with both of his consorts Goddess Deivayani and Goddess Valli. 

 

 

 

According to another tale King Harichandra worshipped Shiva from this hillock and gained eternal wisdom. Thus he built a temple here - temple was complete with Praharams (ambulatories), walls, Gopurams (gate towers) and steps. 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

A striking feature of this temple is that it is visited not only by Hindu devotees but is also visited by those with other religious beliefs. A Muslim shrine named Sikander is also located here. This shrine is also associated to Lord Murugan according to some legends. It is popularly believed that Sikander was a friend of Lord Muruga. 

 

 

 

One of the best times to visit this temple is during the month of March and April when a 14 day festival is celebrated in the temple. The victory of Lord Murugan where he defeated Demon Suran and his divine marriage to Devayani is celebrated during this festival with great fervour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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