Visit Thirumuruganatheeswarar temple in Thirumuruganpoondy, Avinashi, which is a storehouse of information.

Thirumuruganpoondi, a town panchayat in Tirupur district, is about five km from Avinashi, that lies at a distance of five km from it and about eight km from Tirupur. What was a somnolent village two decades ago has now leapt to modernity with newly laid tar-roads and other infrastructural developments. Still it is famous for the making of stone idols, and the houses noted for making them are found along the route to the temple of Thirumuruganatheeswarar from the bus stop where one alights to reach the shrine.

Surrounded by thorny bushes and trees, the temple of Thriumuruganatheeswarar or Muruganathe-Eeswarar, facing west, is far away from the madding crowd. Though shorn of architectural grandeur and a majestic rajagopuram it is richly compensated by its legendary significance and inscriptional wealth elevating it to the fourth place among the seven specially mentioned shrines of Kongu Nadu.

It is said that Muruga, after slaying Soorapadma, sought Siva’s advice on getting rid of Brahmahati dosham. He was directed to go to Kandamapuri in Kongu Nadu, make a lingam out of sand and offer worship. Subramanya obeyed and the presiding deity of the temple came to be known as Muruganatheeswarar and the place Thirumuruganpoondi (earlier Kandamapuri). Due to this fact the shrine has become famous for curing autism and mental problems.

On entering the temple, after worshipping Raja Ganapathy, one will witness a vast courtyard with a dwjasthambam and a 16-pillared nritya mantapam, on the northern side of the entrance. Then there is a rectangular mantapam, also a part of the maha mantapam, which has a separate shrine for Muruga facing south. He goes by the appellation, Shanmukam, a five-ft icon, with five of his faces looking towards south and the sixth one facing north. Seated on abeautifully sculpted peacock, he is flanked by His consorts, Valli and Devasena. At the entrance of the maha mantapam are the exquisite statues of dwarapalakas, Dandi and Mundi. The presiding deity Muruganatheeswarar is a small lingam with a five-headed snake spreading its hood over it. There is no enclosure around the garbha griha for circumambulation. To the left of the presiding deity is the shrine for goddess Muyangupoon Mulai Valli or Alingabushana Sthanambigai.

Rich inscriptions

The temple has attractive sikaras over the garbha grihas of the presiding deity and His consort. They are studded with stucco works depicting mythological stories. The side walls of the sanctum sanctorum are enriched with inscriptions, most of which belong to king Vikrama I (1004-1045 A.D.), who had tiles such as ‘Kalimurka,’ ‘Kokkalimurka’ and ‘Thiruchitrambalamudaiyan.’ He had a daughter by the name Vikrama Chola Deviar.

It is learnt from another inscription that an organisation called ‘Ayya Potil’ (an association for merchants) existed during his reign. These invaluable documents must be saved from the soot generated by the oil lamps lit by devotees. Perhaps, a high stool may be provided for the purpose.

Apart from inscriptions, the two note-worthy icons which draw the attention of a visitor are those of Kala Bhairavar and Lingothbavar. A well-chiselled Kala Bhairavar is found in the north-eastern corner of the main prakaram, facing south. His mount, dog – personification of the Vedas – is found behind him.

The icon of Lingothbavar on the eastern wall of the garbha griha is an attractive piece. Brahma as swan and Vishnu as ‘varaha’ are trying to locate the head and feet of Siva, whose smile looks as though he was feeling that his peers were engaged in a futile pursuit. Opposite to the eastern wall the lingas of pancha boothas – Appu, Vayu, Theyu, Prithvi and Akash – are found in a row.

On the southern side of the parakaram is seen a huge Nandi, a stucco work, and by its side is the famous Subramanya tirtham, a ‘koopam.’ The two have been connected by a flight of steps to draw water from the well for bathing the lunatics and for abhishekam to deities. Incidentally, the 63 Nayanmars adorn the western side of the prakara.

There are two more tirthams, Gnana and Brahma – in the western and northern sides of the prakaram. According to Dakshinamurthy Gurukkal, the Gnana tirtham is not in use and Kurukkathi, the temple tree, has become senescent and efforts have not been made to rejuvenate it. However, the temple of Madhavaneswarar and Mangalambikai, which is associated with this temple and located across Poolurpatti road, 100 metres away, has received a face lift. The small lingam installed at this temple was originally of sand when Muruga worshipped it and it got washed away by the floods in Agnima tirtham which flowed as a river by its side long ago. In its place a stone lingam is said to have sprung on its own. Now, instead of Agnima tirtham, there is Tirunallaru on its southern side which flows from Avinashi in a weakened form. There is a separate sannidhi for Kethu in the prakaram.

Of the five sthalams noted for Siva thandavam, Thirumurganpoondi is noted for Brahmathandavam. It is celebrated on the 10 day of Brahmotsavam in the month of Masi.

The temple, which is under the Central Archaeological Department, celebrates many festivals, including Thai Poosam, which this year falls on Sunday, January 27.

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