Thirupparankundram is the place where the famous temple dedicated to Sri Subramanya Swamy is situated. The place is around eight kilometers away from Madurai town. As per the legend, Thirupparankundram is considered as “Dakshina Himalaya” where Devas congregate.
Thirupparankundram is one of the arupadai veedu (six army camp) ascribed to Lord Muruga. The other arupadai veedu temples are Palani, Thiruchendur, Thiruththani, Pazhamudhir Cholai and Swamy malai.
The hallmark of Thirupparankundram is the monolithic rock which is approximately 1000 feet in height around which many monuments are situated. Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple is the cave temple near the monolithic rock. The region is also called as Skanda malai.
As per the legend, it is believed that Lord Muruga, as the commander of the Devas’ army, had fought with the Asuras in three ways. At Thiruchendur, He did engage in the war with the demon Sura Padma in the ocean (water) and won; At Thiruparankundram, He fought on the land with the sons of Sura Padma and won; At Thiruporur, He fought in the air with the demon Tharakasura and won.
As per the legend, the temple is the place where Lord Muruga had married Devyani, the daughter of Lord Indra. The legend is said to be mentioned in Skandha Puran.
Sura Padma was a demon who had obtained immense powers blessed to him by Lord Shiva. Armed with the boons, he was torturing Devas. He even imprisoned Lord Indra, the leader of the Devas. He even is said to have desired Indrani, the wife of Indra.
Sura Padma was married to a lady named Paduma Komalai and he had several sons.
Indra had ardently prayed to Sri Muruga to help him. Lord Muruga had sent a messenger named Veera Vaku Devar to Sura Padma to relieve Indra. Sura Padma did not budge.
As the talks did not materialize, Lord Muruga had got into fierce war with Sura Padma at Thirupparankundram. He had diminished the sons of the demon. Sura Padma had escaped from there and hid himself under the ocean.
Lord Muruga had pulled Sura Padma from under the sea at Thiruchendur and destroyed him. After that, He had returned to Thirupparankundram.
With the absence of Sura Padma and his sons, Lord Indra was released from captivity. He was awed at the prowess of Lord Muruga. He gave His daughter Devyani to Sri Muruga as Kanyadaan and conducted their marriage.
As per legend, it is believed that Lord Muruga had worshipped Lord Shiva here as Parangiri Nathar.
It is believed that the rock-cut temple was built around 6th Century A.D during Pandiya Kings rule. It is said to be later developed during Nayakars rule.
The asthana mandapam with various sculptures lead to the seven-tiered Rajagopuram.
Near Dwajasthambam, Nandi, Peacock and Mouse are depicted as the Vahan of Sri Shiva, Sri Subramanya and Sri Ganesha. Garuda, the vahan of Sri Vishnu is depicted in Karthikai Murugan Shrine in Shanmukha Mandapam.
Before reaching Ardha Mandapam, the six steps named Shadasara Padigal are to be mounted. In the Ardha Mandapam, sculptures of Sri Mahishasura Mardhini, Sri Karpaka Vinayakar, Sri Andara Baranar and Sri Ukkirar are depicted as rock carvings.
The main sanctum can be reached only by crossing the Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam and Maha Mandapam. Each of the Mandapams are of varying levels. In the Maha Mandapam, Sri Nandikeshwara graces with His consort Sri Kala Kanti.
The main sanctum houses the Shrines of many Deities each being carved on the rock. The Shrines of Sri Subramanya, Sri Durga, Sri Vinayakar, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are depicted here.
Lord Muruga is facing north and is in the pose of wedding Sri Devyani. Abhishekams are specially done for the Vel (spear) of Lord Muruga.
Sri Vinayakar is depicted on a lotus holding Sugarcane surrounded by Sages.
Lord Shiva is worshipped as Parangiri Nathar and Sri Sathyagireeshwarar. It is believed that the Shiv Ling was originally consecrated by Sri Durga Devi Herself for alleviation of Her Brahma-hathya Dosh.
Sri Parvathi Devi is worshipped as Sri Aavudai Nayaki. Notably, the Shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu face each other. Sri Vishnu is worshipped as Sri Pavala Kanivai Perumal and He is with Sri Lakshmi.
Sri Dakshina Murthy is depicted with a snake under His foot. Rudra Abhishekam (chanting of Rudra) is done to get alleviated from the Doshas in horoscope. There is a dedicated Shrine for Saneshwar.
There is a separate shrine for the warriors of Lord Muruga. These warriors were born of the energy of Lord Shiva and Sri Parvathi Devi. They are Sri Veera Baagu, Sri Veera Kesari, Sri Veera Mahendra, Sri Veera Maheshwar, Sri Veera Raksha, Sri Veera Marthanda, Sri Veerandhaga, Sri Veera Dheera and Sri Veera Sura.
The granite hill behind the temple houses the Shrine of Sri Kasi Visvanathar.
The water bodies attached to the temple are Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Sanyasi Kinaru, Kasi Sunai and Sathya Koopam. As per tradition, devotees offer salt and puffed rice to the fishes in the tank which is situated outside the temple.
Near the temple tank there is a Veda Pata Shala teaching Vedas and scriptures.
It is believed that Sri Thiru Gnana Sambandhar had visited this temple and sung Thevaram in praise of Lord Shiva. It is also believed that he had met Chera, Chola and Pandiya Kings here together and blessed them. Sri Sundarar has also composed hymns on Lord Shiva here.
As per the legend, Sri Nakeerar had come to this place to do penance to alleviate the sin caused by arguing with Lord Shiva. When he was doing penance, he was distracted by a leaf in the tank which appeared as a bird as well as fish. Actually, it was a devil which was capturing all those doing penance on Lord Shiva. Sri Nakeerar was his thousandth victim.
Sri Nakkerar had composed Thiru murugattrup padai in praise of Lord Muruga here seeking release from the captivity. Lord Muruga appeared for him and destroyed the devil. The other captured persons also got released.
Sri Nakkerar had expressed his desire to have a dip in Ganga to do away with the sin of being captured by the devil. Lord Muruga had pierced the rock with His spear and water sprouted out. The water spring is at the top of the hill where the Kasi Viswanath temple is situated.
Thiruppugazh, Kandhar Anubuthi and Skandha Puran are said to mention the glory of this temple.
Six daily Pujas are done. They are Thiruvananthal at 5.30 A.M, Vizha Puja at 7.30 A.M, Kala Santhi at 8.00 A.M, Thirukaka Shanthi at 10.00 A.M, Uchi Kalam at 12.00 Noon, Saya Ratchai at 5.30 P.M, Artha Jamam at 8.45 P.M and Palliyarai at 9.00 P.M.
Throughout the year, there are lots of festivals celebrated in the temple. Thai festival (January-February), Maha Shivrathri (February – March), Panguni Brahmothsavam, Tamil New Year day and Chaitra festivals in March-April, Vaikasi Visakam in May, Aani Oonjal and Muppazha Puja in June, Aadi Kriithika and Aadi Puram in July-August, Vinayakar Chathurthi, Navarathri, Saraswathi Puja, Vijayadasami, Aaipasi Puram, Skandha Sashti (October – November), Karthikai festival (November-December), Arudra Darshan, Vaikunta Ekadashi (December-January) etc., are some of the festivals.
The procession Deities of Sri Perumal and Sri Murugan are taken to Maduari during Meenakshi Kalyanam.
How to reach
From Madurai town, buses are available. Taxis / Autos can also be booked.