We visited the Chennimalai Subramania Swamy Temple near Erode on Nov 24th. The commander-in-chief of the “Deva” army is known by many names – Murugan, Skanda, Kartikeya, Subramania and Dhandayudapaani.
A well known legend is the contest between Adisesha and Vayu. When Adisesha covers the Mahameru hill with his body, Vayu Bhagwan blows away the top of the hill and parts of it fall in different places. The crown or tip of the hill fell in Perunthurai, Erode district and hence the name Chennimalai. “Chenni” in Tamil means head but it’s not a commonly used word these days. Malai means hill.
One of the early Chola Kings, Sivalaya Chola was suffering from Brahmahathi dosha and came to this temple on a pilgrimage. Murugan cam in the form of a priest and performed the Pooja. When the King went to take bath in the nearby river he saw the priest and realised it was Bhagwan Murugan himself !! Sivalaya Chola developed the temple further and even brought in priests from Thirukadayur.
Amritavalli & Sundaravalli
Valli and Devasena, the consorts of Bhagwan Murugan have a temple of their own atop a small hillock behind the main temple. There are steps to reach this place. Here they are called as Amirtavalli and Sundaravalli. Since Murugan is in the form of Dhandayudapaani, the Devis are not with him as it the common practice. They are apparently doing penance to get married to Murugan.
Note – To all those who wonder about the relations between Vishnu and Siva, Amritavalli and Sundaravalli are Vishnu’s daughters, his two eyes. So Murugan gets married to his Mama’s daughters as Vishnu is Maa Parvati’s elder brother :):).
Sthala Puranam – Chennimalai Temple
The 3000 year old Subramania Swamy temple at Chennimalai has a very interesting Sthala Puranam (history of the origins of a temple).
The Moolavar is Swayambu, which means the Murti or Vigraham or loose translation idol has been found as it is and not sculpted. Apparently one of the cows a nearby village was discharging milk at a particular spot. When the cowherd started digging a bit at that spot, he found a beautiful Murugan Vigraham that was carved only upto the hip. He asked a local sculptor to complete the Murti. But as soon as the chisel hit the Vigraham, there was bleeding. Everyone realised that Murugan wants to remain the way he was found.
To this day he remains just the same way. The Moolavar Vigraham is not very tall, it’s very similar to Pazhani temple. They have a covering in silver below the hip.
The famous devotional song in praise of Murugan, Sri Skanda Sashti Kavacham was sung here first by Devaraja Swamigal. We hear it everyday at home as it’s one of Amma’s favourite songs.
A short video –
For more information I referred to this blog – Chennimalai Temple | Wanderings of a Pilgrim.
Do visit this beautiful temple dedicated to Subramania Swamy, the Commander-in-Chief of “Deva” army.
Muruganukku Arohara. Vetri Vel Veera Vel !