Arulmigu Subramaniya Swami Temple, Mailam, Villupuram
Arulmigu Subramaniya Swami Temple located on small hillock at Mailam is a famous place for of pilgrimage. It is about 32 kms from Viluppuram on the Puducherry - Thindivanam road. The Panguni Uthiram festival held in March - April fascinates a large crowd of devotes from all over Tamil Nadu.
The Mailam Murugan temple is located 15 kms from Tindivanam & 30 Kms from Pondicherry, on a small hill on the slopes of which are a number of houses and an institute dedicated to the development of Tamil language and literature.
The temple, situated on a small hill, is connected with a village on the Coromandel Coast, Bomayapalaiyam, very near to Pondicherry, where a Vera Saiva mutt is found. According to the name, bomma or bomme, derived from brahmana. This was a village donated to Brahmans, as is confirmed by the sthala Purana in which Bomayapalaiyam is also named Brahmmapuram.
The legend of this Kshetra begins with the end of Surapadma atrocious rule and his tearful appeal to Lord to accept him as his mount. According to Sthalapuranam, Surapadma, though fought against Muruga with all his might combining the tactile of asuramayopaya, was routed in the end. When he was about be slain, he appealed to the Lord to accept him as his vehicle, and he would serve him with fidelity.
Moved by the tearful appeals, the Lord ordered him to do meditation with great steadfastness taking the shape of peacock (Mayil in Tamil) on the bank of Varaha near Mayilamalai. Nodding, he continued his appeal to the Lord to dwell for ever on the same hill. It was granted. Thus came into existence this Mayilamalai and the place called Mailam, for short.
The temple atop the hill was built by Pommayapuram Madadhipathi on a grand scale and its maintenance has been commendable. The Mutt established at the foot of the hill attends to the temple administration in an exemplary manner providing conveniences to the visiting public.
There is another long legend associated with the life Sankhakannar, one of the Sivaganas of Kailas. Due to incurring displeasure to Lord Siva, he was cursed to be born as man in bhuloka and to get emancipation after due penance only.
According to the sthala Purana of Mailam, it was the duty of Sankhakanna, a gana in Siva’s following, to stand guard at the grove where Parvati was bathing. He failed in this task as he did not prevent Siva from entering and, because of this, he was cursed by Siva, who announced that he would have to fight with Murugan and teach the vedasaivagamas for many years.
Having been thus cursed, the gana, in the form of a young child named Balasiddha, descended to earth, to the village of Bomayapalaiyam. Knowing that he could be liberated only by Murugan, and following the advice of Narada, he went to Mailam, the hill whose name is linked to the peacock of the god (mayil), for it was there that the Asura Surapadma assumed the form of a peacock so as to obtain liberation from Murugan.
Despite the intervention of his consorts, Valli and Devasena, Murugan refused to do away with the malediction weighing upon Sankhakanna because it had come from Siva. By way of reprisal, Murugan’s consorts slipped away from him and became Siddha kannis (abstinent ascetics), taking refuge in their palace. Disguised as a hunter, Murugan attempted to enter the palace and confronted Sankhakanna. The guardian very soon recognized the god, who immediately rid him of the curse and asked him to remain on Mailam hill. Murugan married Valli and Devasena, and Sankhakanna, for his part, asked Murugan to always remain present at Mailam with his wives in the form of bridegroom (kalyana kolam).
This theme of the separation of consorts is a motif at once aesthetic and religious, which is sometimes expressed in a quite pronounced erotic mode. In Mailam, it appears in the ten-day Brahmotsavam in the month of Panguni. The fourth day is devoted to the amorous quarrel, Thiruvilayadal, in the course of which Valli refuses to meet Murugan. Contrary to the Siva temples where Sundarar is customarily the mediator, in Mailam, it is Brahma.
According to this account of the sthala Purana, it appears that Sankhakanna is an Asura created for the occasion, an Asura with neither personality nor consistency. He may simply be one among the numerous gana-s blowing conches, as is very common on the wooden chariots. Moreover, his story is borrowed from another one, that of Ganapati, guardian of Parvati's privacy.
In fact, this is the classical from of any, Asura to whom the god, in his avatara form, accords liberation subsequent to violent combat.
Most important is that Sankhakanna is explicitly said to be Balasiddha. This is the main link which, not withstanding a mythical presentation shows that the temple was created by a head of the mutt. The conclusion of the sthala Purana is clear in this matter: Balasiddha also asks Murugan to remain as Kalyana Kolam in Mailam and in Bomayapalaiyam, in the mutt created by him.
The more recent temples are, the greater the chances of discovering a few historical elements and thus of knowing the conditions of their foundation. This is the case with the Mailam temple, which is not earlier than the beginning of the eighteenth century. The study of this temple enables one to observe interactions between well-known and established mythical traditions and local realities, as well as showing how these two aspects intervene both in the story and in the iconography.
Mailam is located fifteen kilometers from Tindivanam and thirty from Pondicherry. The temple, situated on a small hill is connected with a village on the Coromandel Coast, Bomayapalaiyam, very near Pondicherry, where a Vera Saiva mutt is found According to the name, bomma or bomme, derived from brahmana.1This was a village donated to Brahmans, as is confirmed by the sthala Purana in which Bomayapalaiyam is also named Brahmmapuram. The street leading to the mutt is still called agrahara.
It is known from the private diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, the dubash under Dupleix, that Dupleix visited, in 1744, the head of the mutt and offered him a few yards of cloth and bottles of rose water. In another passage, dating from 1746, Ananda Ranga Pillai mentions that the swami of the mutt cities three pontiffs during this twenty-four year period. Be that as it may, of interest is what Ananda Ranga Pillai has to say regarding the succession to the swami.
First, he states that a certain Turaiyar Pachai Kandappaiyur, who was leading an ascetic life in Palani, was installed as head of the mutt. However, four days later, he corrects himself to say that Turaiyur Pachai Kandappaiyur, who had come to install the new pontiff of the mutt, desired to visit Pondicherry before returning to Turaiyur. This shows that Palani had control over the mutt. All the heads of the Bomayapalaiyam mutt are named Sivagnana Bala Siddha, which calls clearly to mind that Palani is a hill inhabited by siddhas and devoted to Murugan, or more specifically, to Murugan in his form of ascetic and young (Bala) god. These two aspects are generally concomitant, probably on the basis of their connotation of innocence and purity.
Several features in the iconography of the Mailam temple testify to this duality. The temple possesses two processional chariots that are used for the Brahmotsavam in Panguni. They are decorated with sculpted panels representing diverse forms of Siva: Biksatana, Gajasamharamurti, Kalantaka, etc., and Sarasvati Kama, Krishna, among other deities of the pantheon. The other panels, linked with local history, are of two types. There are, first, panels connected with both Murugan and the mutt and, second, panels relating solely to the mutt.
Two panels represent episodes of Sankhakanna fighting against Siva, and then against Murugan. In the first scene involving Siva, the representation deviates singularly from the story. Siva, bearded and wearing a turban, is in the process of copulating with his consort, while Sankhakanna, the guardian's club in his hand, reaches up to "save" the latter and pulls her by her hair. The second scene is more allusive and the wives of Murugan do not appear: only Murugan seizes the guardian who joins issue, his arm raised as a sign of combat.
It is certainly because Sankhakanna is reincarnated as a young child that the birth of Murugan is represented. This is a rare scene, with the exception of Darasuram where amidst reeds; his place of birth, the baby god is taken by Siva, who returns him to Parvati. In the next scene, she is giving him her breast.
In Mailam, the Krittika-s holds six small Murugan’s in their arms, seated on lotuses. On a third panel, between Parvati and Nandikesvara as worshippers, Siva is standing, bearded and armed with his trident, the kettle-drum and fire, and holds the child Murugan on his arm.
Another type of representation, also quite rare, is Murugan teaching, a form of the god related to his activities as well as those of the head of a mutt. One scene is on Ganapati chariot and another on that of Murugan. In one case, Murugan is seated on a pedestal with a book in his hand, giving a lesson to Siva, who is standing with joined hands. In the other, Subrahmanya, again on a pedestal, is making the gesture of teaching in front of Siva, who stands in respectful attitude of listening, one hand before his mouth.
A third representation is the illustration of a passage from the Tamil Skanda Purana recounting the incarceration of Brahma as a consequence of his inability to recite the Vedas. The prison is a frame spiked with thorns in which Brahma is held, kept watch over by a mustached guard, dagger in hand. Next to this, a walking Subrahmanya is in the process of imprisoning Brahma.
Five panels bear Veera Saiva figures. On the first panel, the identity of one of them, who is wearing a tiara and seated on a throne beneath a canopy, is engraved in Tamil on a step of throne: Alamma Prabhu. The latter was a spiritual master from the twelfth century known for his ascetic rigour and was contemporaneous with Basava.
On the adjacent panel, three men standing with joined hands are certainly worshippers of Alamma Prabhu. The inscription, Prakas'a Praveśa Valaya, must be the name of the central personage, who is larger than the two others.
On the third panel, a sage is seated on a throne beneath a canopy. He has a beard and moustache and long hair scattered on his shoulders and wears around his neck a necklace of rudrakśa and a linga. One hand is in abhaya-mudra and the other holds the linga of the Veera Saiva-s. Beneath is an inscription: "Bala Siddha Sankhakannar", confirming the assimilation of the two personages. It is dated to 4245 of the Kali era, that is, 143 AD: this is obviously a mythical date suitable for a founder.
On the fourth panel, a Siddha, flanked by two worshippers, is seated with crossed legs on a throne in the form of recumbent lion. He has the chignon of an ascetic, a moustache and beard and wears a linga around his neck. The inscription gives his name: Pavala Cuvami and the date are 3245 of the Kali era, or 1143 AD, which is more or less the period of Basava and of Alamma Prabhu. As the dates, ten centuries in the past, are similar, it is possible that the second, historical, date had determined the choice of the first.
On the last panel, a figure is standing, dressed in a dhoti, shoulders covered by a large scarf. He has rudrakśa-s and a linga around his neck and is wearing the sandals of an ascetic. He is holding the staff of the pontiffs and near to him are offerings placed on a low table. The inscription indicates that it is matter of the installation (makuta Abhisheka) of the eighteenth Balaya Swami. The date in Arabic numerals is 25.2.28, quite obviously 1928, as it is known from the documents of the mutt that he died in 1965 and that he was succeeded by the present pontiff, the nineteenth, who was installed in 1965.
The Mailam temple, as doubtlessly most temples, is anchored in a very particular cultural idiom that comprises its originality.
To reach the temple on the top of the hill we can climb by footsteps by bare foot (750 meters) or by the vehicle (1 km or 2 km).
Shops on the way to Hill
There are more than few hundred shops on the way to climb the hill, where we can buy holy things for pooja, holy threads, toys, hats. Even there are few hotels are there on the foot of the hill.
View from the hill
From the temple whole town will be visible.
We can also Tonsure. For that we have to buy token for Rupees 5/- (INR) plus we have to pay some amount around Rupees 50/- (INR) to the person who helps to offer Tonsure.
This pond is mentioned that it is more than 1000 years old. In this pond Balasiddhar took holy dip.
· 07:00 to 12:00 (All days of the week (Morning))
· 16:00 to 19:00 (All days of the week (Evening))
Pondicherry Airport (PNY) is a nearest airport located around 30 kilometer away from Mailam.
The airports at Tiruchirapalli (205 km) and Chennai (130 km) are the nearest airports from Mailam. Chennai is connected to all the major cities in India and abroad through regular flights.
Mailam is located on the Chennai–Tindivanam main line of the Southern Railway. Code no: MTL.
Mailam Railway Station handles over 8 trains daily (up/down) and serves about 12,000 passengers every day. There are about 4 trains which start/pass from Mailam Railway Station and are given below.
Train No. Train Name From To 56041 Tpty Pdy Pass Tirupati Pondicherry 66045 Mlmr Vm Passr Melmaruvathur Villupuram Jn 66046 Vm Mlmr Passr Villupuram Jn Melmaruvathur 56042 Pdy Tpty Pondicherry Tirupati 16186 Velankanni Express
It is also connected with Tiruchirapalli, Chennai, Madurai (335 km), Rameswaram (575 km), Bangalore (340 km), Varanasi 2371 km, and Stirrup (290 km). The following trains stops and goes via Tindivanam railway station
16176 Karaikkal Chennai Exp, 16180 Mannai Express Exp, 16780 Rameswaram - Tirupat, 16702 Rameswaram-Chennai Exp, 16701 Boat Mail Express Exp, 16179 Mannai Express Exp, 22624 Madurai-Chennai, 22623 Chennai Egmore-Maduri SF 16175 Chennai Egmore-Karaikal Exp 16736 Tiruchendur - Chennai Exp 56874 Mayiladuthurai Villupuram Pass 14259 Rameswaram-Varanasi Exp 56513 Nagore-Bangalore Pass 17408 Pamani Express Exp 56873 Villupuram Mayiladuthurai Pass 16854 Tiruchirappalli-Chen Exp 16853 Chennai Egmore-Tirchy Exp 14260 Varanasi-Rameswaram Exp 56878 Mayiladuthurai-Villupuram Pass 56514 Bangalore Nagore Pass 17407 Pamani Express Exp 56877 Villupuram-Mayiladuthurai Pass 16735 Chennai Egmore Tiruchy 16779 Tirupati - Rameswaram
There are frequent bus services available to Various places in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Pondicherry states from Tindivanam (kooteripattu) Non-stop bus services and express bus services are also available to major cities like Chennai.