Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Palani – the birth place of Kavadi!

Palani is the third home among the six homes of Tamil God Murugan and it is located near the Western Ghats of Palani range in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. The legend says that Murugan the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi, got anger and came to this hillock to stay like a beggar by just wearing a loincloth when he couldn’t get the Gnanapalam (wisdom fruit) brought by Narathar.
Hill view, Palani
(Palani hillock)
Palani is the name of the hill here and it has another reason to call it as in mythology that Shiva and Parvathi called Murugan as Gnanapalam Ni (you’re a fruit of wisdom) in mollifying him, thus the ‘palam ni’ later transferred into Palani. The deity of Murugan inside the sanctum sanctorum is made of an amalgam of nine minerals called Navapashanam, so whatever the anointment done on ideal is believed to get the ability to cure all disease.
Golden gopuram
(The gold plated shrine on hilltop.)
The temple on the hillock can be reached by the main staircase or the elephant path on their convenience and who can’t climb up can take the winch track or Cable car. Thai-Poosam is a very important festival celebrated here much enthusiastically yearly on the Tamil moth of Thai between the 15th of January-February and on this occasion devotees take Kavadi – physical borne to their shoulders and dance in zeal.

Traditionally, the most honored of the pilgrims whose arrival is awaited with anticipation by all are the people from Karaikudi, who bring the diamond-encrusted Vel or Javelin with them. The pilgrimage taken by many from distant towns and villages are strictly vow to abstinence and come barefooted by walk and the tonsuring is the chief traditions followed by devotees to this temple.
Idumban malai
(The view of Idumban malai, from Palani hill)
Adjacent to the Palani hill is the Idumban malai. On the commission of Sage Agasta, the Idumban his demon disciple bore two hills of Shaktigiri and Sivagiri on his shoulder to his adobe and on the way he placed the hills aside at Palani to take rest couldn’t remove it when resumed his journey. Upon the hilltop, Idumban met a boy who prevents his proceeding began to fight fiercely, slain Idumban which ensued that he later restored to life.

Idumban who belatedly recognized the boy was his favorite deity Murugan and he wished to him that whosoever carried the kavadi on his shoulders signifies the two hills and vow to take blessing privilege by standing sentinel at the entrance of the hill. The custom of borne the kavadi on their shoulders has spread from Palani to all Murugan shrines and Idumban is the first Kavadi bearer.
Sun kissed ;)
(The traditional kavadi photo by Visithra)
Palani is also renowned for the delicious Panjamirtham, which means a mixture of nutrient ingredients like milk, fruits, dates, honey and jiggery and banana is the chief ingredient of this ambrosia. Palani is connected by roads and can be reached from anywhere via Dindugal or Coimbatore both are a major cities at a distance about 60kms with nearest railways stations and Coimbatore holding the airport.


I visited Palani in late 2010 and the pictures in the middle are captured by my mom from the hilltop, and the last photo is from by friend Visithra on Malaysian Thaipusam. Thank you for allowing me to use your photo Visith.


ashok said...

ineresting to read...

cyclopseven said...

This coincides with Thaipusam Festival. This is among the grand festivals celebrated in Malaysia. Past few days, Hindus have been thronging the Murugan Temples, mainly in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Good write. Palani Murugan Temple certainly adds wonder to the series of Murugan Temples. The last time I visited Palani Murugan Temple was in 1992. That was 20 years ago!!:)

Ash said...

Palani Muruga - Haro Hara!

Rajesh said...

Very informative with fabulous images.

LadyFi said...

What a lovely ornate temple!

Kalyan said...

Beautiful shots...nice knowing about this lovely place!

Shreya said...

Nice pictures Jeevan :)

George said...

Thank you for a very interesting and fascinating post. I truly enjoy visiting other countries and learning more of their culture through blogs. Your pictures are wonderful.

Vetrimagal said...

Thanks Jeevan for the excellent photograph of a road in Palani. I have not been to Palani.

Jeevan said...

Thanks so much for your appreciation and comments!

Kirtivasan said...

Thanks for so much information on Palani.