Friday, February 26, 2016

Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple, Madurai

Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple, Madurai
Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple, located about 16 kilometres north of MaduraiIndia atop a hill covered with dense forests. One of the six important abodes (Arupadaiveedu) of Lord Muruga, it is close to the Vishnu temple of Azhagar Kovil. It is said that the actual temple was Azhagar Koil, which was shifted or relocated now as Pazhamudircholai during Thirumalai Naicker rule in Madurai.

This is the only one among Muruga’s Aaru Padai Veedu temples, where he graces the devotees with his consorts Valli and Deivanai.  The wedding festival is celebrated along with Skanda Sashti festival.  Also, this is the historical place where Lord played with the ripe Tamil poetess Avvaiyar asking her what fruit she wished, cooked or uncooked – Sutta Pazham or Sudadha Pazham.

One of Arupadaiveedu of Muruga is very close to the Vishnu temple of Azhagar Kovil. It is at a distance of 3.4 Kms from foothill. One can reach Pazhamudircholai by car, van, two-wheeler or bus. There is a bus shuttle every 20 minutes from the foot of hill to the Temple. It takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the temple.

Pazhamudircholai “Solai malai Murugan Temple” is considered as the last of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. The others are
·        Tiruparankundram Subramaniya Swamy Temple,
·        Swamimalai Swaminatha Swamy Temple
·        Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple
·        Tiruthani Subramanya Swamy Temple
·        Thiruchendur Senthil Andavar Temple
This Pazhamudir Solai Lord Murugan is praised in detail in the very old Tamil literacy books such as Silappathikaram, Ettuthogai, and Pathupattu etc. Madurai Sangam poet Nakkeerar has specialised these six holy shrines of Lord Murugan in his ‘Thirumurukaartupadai’. Tamilians consider Lord Murugan as Tamil kadavul (deity).

Local tribes continue to lead their traditional lives on this fertile hill with its natural springs and herbs. Even today, the place is very fertile with many trees and different flora and fauna reflecting the vivid description of the place’s natural beauty found in Tirumurukatrupadai of Nakkeerar, the Tamil saint.

In Pazhamudircholai, Murugan is worshipped as Gnana Shakti and his tribal wife, Valli as Iccha Shakti and Devayani as Kriya Shakti. The icon is standing and shown with only one face and four hands. Muruga is also known as Shanmuga—the six faced one.
Location
Pazhamudircholai is rich in fruits, vegetables and flowers. It is a dense forest where Valli is supposed to have lived. It is a small temple with Valli, Deivayanai, and Lord Muruga in a separate shrine. Lord Ganesha is also present in a separate shrine. There is a Temple Tower and monkeys play around the area. There is another small temple above Pazhamudir Cholai. Local tribes lead their lives here. It is a fertile hill with many natural springs and herbs.

Although there are hundreds of Temples in Tamil Nadu for Lord Muruga, particularly six temples called Arupadaiveedu are very famous among them. Important events in Lord Muruga's history were happened in these places.
Legends
For brief details, please refer below link;
History
Pazhamudircholai 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 is 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 Pazhamudircholai can be reached by a Motorable road leading to the hill.

Pazhamudircholai is mentioned as the sixth of Lord Murugan's Aru Padai Veedugal, the six holiest Murugan shrines described by Sangam poet Nakkeerar in his poem Tirumurukatrupadai. 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 Palamuthircholai with the shrine of Palamuthircholai, twelve miles north of Madurai in the Alagar Hills, above the Alakarkoil 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 Vishnu 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 Noopura Ganga atop the hill is said to originated from the anklet of Tirumal or Vishnu 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., Silappathikaram. 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 Tirumurukatrupadai of 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 Deivayanai 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 Sasti festival. The temple that was in existence during Sangam period no longer existed in Arunagirinatha's time. The recently constructed temple is considered as Pazhamudircholai 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 Tirumurukatrupadai.

Arunagirinathar also reveres this shrine in his Tiruppukal. Arunagirinatha sang 16 Thirupugazh psalms to Pazhamudircholai 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 Pazhamudircholai. 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 Thirupugazh.

Not far from Palamuthircholai south of Madurai is another of the Aru Padai Veedugal, Thirupparamkunram.
Temple Speciality
Naaval tree usually yields fruits only during Aadi and Aavani months from July-September. Strangely, the tree in the place yields fruits in the Aipasi month (October-November) a month when Lord Muruga’s Sashti festival occurs.

Arunagirinathar, another great sage and Tamil poet also reveres this shrine in his Thirupugazh and sang 16 Thirupugazh psalms to Pazhamudircholai Muruga.
The Temple
The six hill top abodes of Lord Muruga, called Arupadaiveedu, are the most famous of temples dedicated to this warrior god. In each of these places, important events in the life of Lord Muruga have happened. The Entrance of Pazhamudircholai of Azhagar Kovil, it is one of the Arupadaiveedu.
Pazhamudircholai is rich in fruits, vegetables and flowers. It is a dense forest where Valli is supposed to have lived.

Earlier only a stone carved Vel, the spear of Lord Muruga was kept in Pazhamudircholai.  Later, a figure of Muruga in wood, standing with his consorts Valli and Deivanai were added. The Aadhi Vel (original spear) was placed on a platform.  Lord Vithaga Vinayaka is on the right of his younger brother. This small and ancient temple is said to be 1000-2000 years old and finds mention in Tamil literature. The temple, as seen today, was constructed only recently.

The temple tower is distinctive. The Silambar River flows near the temple adding to the peaceful and secluded atmosphere. The sthala vriksha (temple tree), jumbu (jambul-rose apple) associated with the saint poetess of Tamil, Avvaiyar and Muruga is still found near the temple. This tree usually yields fruits from July to September. The tree in Pazhamudircholai yields fruit that ripen only during the Skanda Sashti festival, the sixth day after Deepavali in Aipasi (October – November). Flying foxes or bats hang from trees near the temple and monkeys abound in the area.

A natural spring called Noopura Ganga, with a temple dedicated to Rakkayi Amman, is located at the top of the hill. Pilgrims coming to the Pazhamudircholai Temple take a dip in this small, sacred spring that is said to have originated from the anklet of Tirumal or Lord Vishnu. 

People bathe in the sweet Noopura Ganga and worship the Guardian Deity Rakkayi Amman. The water of this spring is sweet in nature and has medicinal values in it. Rituals for the departed souls are performed in this spring.

There are other springs and Theerthams in this hill known as Hanuman theertham and Garuda theertham etc. The pond known, as Moolavavi is unique, as water level rises in the summer and drops in the winter. Agasthiar is considered to have constructed this pond. Information about the holy water points of this temple is seen in Silappathikaram; even the Sangam literary work Paripadal contains information about this hill. Fruit eating bats are seen in large number near the temple.

A Sidhar named Bhogar has indicated about the holy water point 'Silambaru' and the worship of deity Pathinettam Padi Karupannaswamy of this temple in his book entitled 'Jenana Sagaram'. 

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 Pazhamudircholai and worshipped by devotees. 

Here Murugan is worshiped along with his consorts Valli as Iccha Shakti and Devayani as Kriya Shakti and himself as Jnana Shakti. The idol of the lord in standing posture with a single face and four hands is kept between the idols of his consorts. The Vel (spear) of the lord made up of stone is of special significance and is worshipped with a great veneration by devotees.
At the down hills, there is a Vishnu Temple, called Azhagar Kovil. There is beautiful stone image of Vishnu, called Soundara Rajan, the Azhagar in Tamil.  He is with Soundara Valli, Sri Lakshmi, the consort.  This is a later construction after Muruga’s temple.  This is praised by Azhwars, the Vaishnava Tamil Saints.  In Vaishnava Tamil works, it is called Tirumal Irum Cholai, the garden where Vishnu rests. 
Temple Opening Time
Daily pujas to the deities are performed six times a day (six kalams). Forenoon: Ushat Kalam, Kalasandhi and Uchikala poojas are performed and the afternoon poojas commencing from Sayaratchai and Rendam kalam are concluded with Arthajama pooja in the night. The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. continuously.
Festivals
There is a daily ritual of taking the processional deity in a golden chariot around the temple at 7 PM. The Tamil New Year’s Day that occurs on April 13th or 14th is an important day here. The Vaikasi Visakam (the day of the Visakam star in May-June), Aadi Krithika in July-August when Muruga’s star Krithigai reigns are famous festival days.
The annual abishekam (ablution) festival on Aavani Pooram (the day of the star Pooram in August-September) and Skanda Sashti in October-November are popular festivals. All Mondays in the month of Karthikai (November – December) and Tirukarthikai, the festival of lamps in November-December and Panguni Uthiram (the day of the star Uthiram in March- April) are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Prayers
People pray here for wedding, child and academic boons. Realizing their wishes, devotees perform milk abishek to Lord Muruga and offer vastras.
Many devotees take a vow to visit all the six temples of Muruga at one go. In this temple devotees circumambulate the periphery of the temple many times hoping to get their wishes granted. It is believed that the devotees who visit this shrine are blessed with well being and wealth.
Annadhanam
As per the Annadhanam Scheme announced by the Chief Minister, lunch provided in this temple for 100 devotees and needy people daily at 12 noon. Those who are willing to donate may pay Rs.2000/ for one day lunch or Rs.25000/ as permanent fixed amount. Devotees may donate rice, vegetables, etc. and also get donation receipts for Rs.5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 for this Annadhanam scheme.
Contact
Sri Solai Malai Murugan Temple,
Solai Malai (Pazhamudir Cholai),
Azhagarkoil, Madurai district
Phone: +91- 452-247 0228
Connectivity
Azhagar koil is 23 km from Madurai Central Bus Stand. Sholai malai Murugan temple is 3 km from this place. Temple administration operates bus service to and fro from the temple
Pazhamudircholai is a Hindu temple located 10 miles north of Madurai, India atop a hill covered with dense forests. One of Arupadaiveedu of Muruga is very close to the Vishnu temple of Azhagar Kovil. One can reach Pazhamudircholai by car, van, two-wheeler or bus.
There is a bus shuttle every 20 minutes from the foot of hill to the Temple. It takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the temple.
By Air: 
Madurai is the nearest airport at a distance of nearly 23 km.
By Train:
We can reach Madurai via train and then reach Pazhamudircholai. Madurai is well connected to many cities in India by rail 
By Road:
One can reach Pazhamudircholai by car, van, two-wheeler or bus. From Madurai one can catch the bus on route number 44 to reach it. There is a bus shuttle every 20 minutes from the foot of the hill to the Temple. It takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the temple.

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