HISTORY Lord Muruga is glorified as the God of mountain and mountainous regions in THIRU MUGURUGATRUPADI, a noted work of the Tamil Literature of the Sangam Age.The word Muruga is a comprehensive term, connoting several meanings such as sweetness, youthfulness, beauty, divinity and honey and therefore it is but natural for the Lord to have His abode amidst scenic beauty among hills and mountains. Situated at a height of about 500 feet in a plateau on the western Ghats, fifteen kilometres north west of Coimbatore, amidst lush vegetation and salubrious climate, Marudhamalai Hills, dedicated to Lord Muruga (Dhandayudhapani) is classified under KUNRUTHORADAL, one of the six main abodes of the God, the others being THIRUVAVINANKUDI (PALANI), THIRUPARANGUNRAM, (NEAR MADURAI), THIRUCHEERALAVAI (Thiruchendur), THIRUVERAGAM (Swamimalai) and PAZHAMUDHIRSOLAI (Azhagarkoil near Madurai). Set against the backdrop of hazy blue hills dotted with shrubs and bushes of varied hues, the sacred shrine verily reflects the picture of Lord Muruga, magnificently mounted on his vehicle peacock, flaunting and swaying its feathers and plume in full bloom.
The hoary past of the temple can be traced in such ancient works as Sage Kachyapar’s PERUR PURANAM. The origin of the temple is rooted in legendary antiquity and dates back to the age of Surapadama, the demon destroyed by Lord Subramanya referred to in SKANDAPURNAM. The inscriptions found in Thirumuruganathaswami Temple, Thirumurganpoondi places the origin of the temple in the 12th century A.D.According to Perurpuranam, Soorapadama, the scourge of the gods aided by his mighty brothers, Singamukha and Tharaka arrayed against them and struck terror in their already agitated minds by his sudden and surprising charges and depredations. Unable to bear the agony and anguish, the gods approached Lord Siva and sought His succour. Lord Siva comforted the Gods that Lord Muruga would come to their rescue, root out and destroy Surapadama and his retinue enmasse. The gods should hasten to the Marudhamalai Hills and await the advent of Lord Muruga, their Saviour! Perupuranam also alludes to a king called Kusathvajan, who, it is said, was blessed with a male issue, only after worshipping Marudhamalai Muruga.The Divine Cow Kamadhenu is reported to have grazed in the pastures of the hills of Marudhamalai.Perurpuranam lists the three neighbouring hills, vellingiri, Nili and Marudhamalai as the very manifestations of Lord Siva, Parvathi and Subramanya respectively and the three hills taken together as the very symbol of Somaskanda.
In the shrine of Idumba the image of the deity is carved on a huge round rock in the posture of carrying a Kaavadi. Married couples having no issues worship the deity and offer toy cradles with the firm faith of being blessed with progeny by the Grace of god.
Continuing our ascent, we find a beautiful mandapam, enshrining what is called ‘Kudirai Kulambu’ (hoof marks of the horse). It is believed that the horse of Lord Muruga caused the marks, as he marched against the Demon Surapadma or the horse on which Lord Muruga rode and chased the robbers referred to earlier might have imprinted by them.
As we approach the hill top present is the prime shrine were Lord Subramanya with his two consorts, Valli and Teyvannai, enshrined in the form of linga .The first pooja is performed for these deities.
PAMPATTI SIDHA KUGAI
The Pambatti Siddhar Cave is another shrine drawing our attention. It is located on the slopes towards the east and can be approached by a narrow path, protected by a stone hedge or parapet. One can notice a natural image of a snake on the rock. There is an underground passage from the cave to the primal shrine through which the Pambati Siddhar wended his way everyday to worship Lord Subramanya in the Company of his consorts .Pambatti Siddhar used this cave as his abode for meditation on Lord Muruga and attained salvation here. A snake comes to the cave everyday and feeds itself on the fruit and milk kept for it. Devotees offer milk and fruit for the snake.
Siddhas are mystic philosophers who exercise their mental faculties to the utmost and attain godhead by means of meditation and reflection. They are endowed with incredible powers of the mind by which they perform great miracles and astound the common world. Siddhas can set at rest all their senses and awaken their spirit alone. Thus they are bodily asleep and spiritually awake. In this blessed mood they enter into a personal communion with god.It is believed that there were 18 Siddha’s. One of the 18 siddha’s used to animate dead snakes and dance with him, so he was popularly known as Pambatti Siddhar. Pambatti Siddhar greatly revered in the Kongu region, he is credited with having lived in the company of snakes and made them dance to his tunes. Once, in the course of his wanderings, he chanced to meet one, Sattai Muni Siddhar, a contemporary and counterpart who initiated him into the art of entering into trances – the Jeeva Samadhi Nilai. Once he transmigrated into the dead body of a king and performed great miracles. He composed songs of enlightenment. ‘Siddharudam’ is a work, attributed to his prophetic genius. Lord Muruga took joy in teasing and tantalizing the Siddha with his spiritual pranks. Once as an enormous boulder came down, rolling gaining momentum, the siddha tried to halt it, arrested its movement and averted a great havoc.
There is a cluster of trees closely interwinding one another. Under this is installed an Idol of Lord Ganesha. Daily poojas are performed to this deity also. The breeze wafting along the foliage has an unfailing cure for all diseases of the people. A host of saints, invisible to the common man’s eyes, are supposed to dwell here doing meditation. An aged Irula tribesman, 80 years old identified the entangled trees as Korakattai, Ichi, Banyan, Vakkanai and Ottu maram and added there was one tree in the group, Peepal in the days of yore, and it is extinct now. The tribalman also said that this tree existed in the same manner even during his childhood. This is a unique phenomenon attracting not only devotees but also botanists.