Kanjamalai Balamurugan Temple, Salem
Kanjamalai Balamurugan Temple is located at Kanjamalai in Salem District. This Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Murugan. This temple is associated with the great saints known as Sidhars. Devotees usually visit this temple after having a bath in the waters of the streams traversing the Kanjamalai.
Kanjamalai falls into the category of Marudamalai, Sivanmalai & Chennimalai in Kongunaadu, and is known for its association with the Siddhar saints of Tamilnadu. It is located 14 km west of Salem, and is known for the herbs that abound in the region. Pilgrims visiting the hill temple here, consider a dip in the waters of the streams traversing the hill sacred.
There is a Siddhar Koyil on the hill, and the Murugan temple is recent in origin. There are lots of legends associated with this hill. Legend has it that Adigaiman, a Tamil ruler was presented with a Nellikkani - as the amritam or the panacea by a Siddhar at Kanjamalai and that he presented it to the saint poetess Avvaiyar. This incident is related in the sangam works of the earlier portion of the 1st millennium CE.
Another legend has it that a devotee of Shiva spent years travelling visiting the various shrines of Shiva & finally reached the shrine of Karpuranaathar and spent the rest of his life in penance, after which he attained the status of a Siddhar, and that he assumed a formless form in Kaliyugam, in the precincts of Kanjamalai - also considered to be an abode of Shiva, and that he came to be known as Kanjamalai Siddhar.
Another legend has it that, a yogi came down to Kanjamalai with his aged disciple with the intention of obtaining eternal youth through yogic practices. He left his disciple in charge of cooking his food, and went out to the rich jungle, in search of medicinal herbs. The devoted disciple stirred the pot of boiling rice with a stick found nearby and to his horror found the rice turning black. Afraid of serving the blackened rice to his guru, he consumed it himself - and to his utter amazement attained a youthful form.
The guru, convinced of the magical powers of the stick which had been used to stir the rice, searched for it, and to his horror discovered that the disciple had thrown it into the fire. He caused the disciple to vomit out the rice that he had consumed, and consumed it himself and also attained an eternally youthful form. It is said that these two Siddhars are none other than Tirumoolar and Kanjamalai Siddhar.
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