History of Palani Murugan Temple

Palani Malai

‘Palani Murugan Temple’ is one of the most famous Murugan temples in India. It is located in the township of Palani, 100 km west of Madurai, and near the famous hill station, Kodaikanal.

It is one of the major Arupadaiveedu of Lord Muruga. The other Arupadiveedus are Tiruchendur (100 km south-west of Madurai), Swamimalai (150 km east of Madurai), Tiruttani (50 km from Chennai), Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai) and Tiruparamkunram (10 km south of Madurai).

The Legend of the Palani Temple

According to legend, Sage Narada once visited the divine court of Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva was with his consort, Goddess Shakti, and their two children, Lord Ganesha and Lord Subrahmanya. Sage Narada gave Lord Shiva a mango fruit and told him that it was a special fruit, the fruit of wisdom.

Lord Shiva wanted his children to have the fruit of wisdom. However, when he offered it to them, Sage Narada asked that the mango not to be cut in two to be shared between the two sons, lest the power be diminished. Now, as a result, they had to decide who should have it. Shiva and Shakti decided that the son who first circles the Earth would get the fruit. Immediately accepting the challenge, Lord Murugan, started his journey around the globe on his divine vehicle, the peacock or mayil.

Lord Ganesha, who believed that his parents were his world, circumambulated Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti and claimed the mango fruit. Lord Subrahmanya returned to Mount Kailash, only to find that Lord Ganesha had already won the contest. Lord Murugan felt he had been deceived and decided to leave Mount Kailasam. He reached to top of what is today called “Pazhani malai” (the Hill of Pazhani) and set up his abode there.

Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva rushed to the hill and tried to pacify their son, calling him, Gnana Pazham Nee appa (in Tamil, “you are the fruit – Pazham; of wisdom – Gnana”). Hence this place came to be called Pazhani, or Palani.