Ratnagiri Balamurugan Temple is located in Thirumanikundram, Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan, a powerful deity, and is one of the sacred hill temples known as ‘Kundruthoradal.’ The temple has a rich history and has undergone significant renovations to restore it to its former glory. It is also home to Swami Balamurugan Adimai, a spiritual leader who has devoted his life to the service of Lord Murugan and his devotees.
The History of the Shrine
The Ratnagiri Bala Murugan Temple was originally built as a simple sand structure around the 14th century. However, over time, it was transformed into a magnificent stone shrine that has stood the test of time. Ancient Hindu scriptures say that wherever there is a hill, Lord Murugan resides as the all-powerful Deity. Of these Tirupparamkundram, Tiruchendur, Tiruvavinankudi, Tiruveragam, and Palamuthircholai are famous shrines, collectively called ‘Kundruthoradal.’ The Ratnagiri temple also features in this category, as mentioned by the 14th-century poet Arunagirinathar in his verses.
Lord Balamurugan, the presiding deity of the Ratnagiri temple, manifests his blessings to mankind in three forms: in the form of an idol in the shrine, in the form of the guru, and in the form of the devotee. Lord Balamurugan appears at Ratnagiri in two forms: the deity with his two consorts Valli and Teyvanai and the form of our Guru, Swami Balamurugan Adimai. Swami Balamurugan Adimai is a spiritual leader who has devoted his life to the service of Lord Murugan and his devotees.
History of Swami Balamurugan Adimai
Swami Balamurugan Adimai was born on January 24, 1941, in the village of Kilminnal, adjacent to Ratnagiri. He was named Dakshinamurthy and Sachidanandam, both being names of Lord Shiva. Swami Balamurugan Adimai served in the Electricity Department after completing his schooling and was blessed with two daughters and a son after entering into holy matrimony with Sivakami. One day in his 27th year, he climbed the hill to offer his prayers and was suddenly overcome with divine awakening. Since then, Swami’s spiritual well-being and service to his devotees have continued unabated.
Significant renovation work has been undertaken to restore the Ratnagiri temple to its former glory. Separate pathways were laid to ascend and descend the hill, and a chariot made of granite was built to facilitate the renovation of the sanctum sanctorum. Two temples for Lord Ganesha were built at the foothill and uphill, and a golden chariot was made for Lord Murugan to circumambulate the shrine. Ornaments made of gold, silver, and precious stones were made to decorate the idol. The renovation work is still in progress, and the Kumbhabhishekam, a Hindu temple consecration ceremony, is expected to take place in 2022.
The temple offers several facilities and services to the devotees, including a six-sided tank, steps, public toilets, drinking water, shops, marriage halls, police outpost, post office, bank, co-operative store, hall with bathrooms for tonsuring, a matriculation school, and a charity hospital. The temple also offers cottages for visitors to stay in.
The temple celebrates several days of importance in the calendar year, including Tamil New Year Day, Lord Murugan’s Birthday, auspicious Friday in August or September, Kanda Shashti celebrations, Navaratri, Panguni Uttiram, January 1, and the anniversary of Swamiji Balamurugan Adimai’s enlightenment on March 20. The temple also holds lectures on various topics for the public.
The temple is open to visitors between 6 am to 1 pm & 4 pm to 8 pm. The Abhishekam timings are 6 am to 10:30 am & 5:30 pm. The temple office is open from 9 am to 1 pm & 3 pm to 6 pm.
How to reach Ratnagiri Balamurugan Temple, Ratnagiri
The nearest airport is Chennai International Airport, which is about 110 km away from the temple. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
The nearest railway station is Vellore Cantonment Railway Station, which is about 25 km away from the temple. From the station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
Thirumanikundram is well-connected by road, and you can take a bus from Chennai, Vellore, or other nearby cities to reach the temple. Buses are available from the Vellore bus stand to the temple at regular intervals.
You can also drive to the temple in your own car or hire a taxi from Chennai or Vellore. The temple is located on the top of a hill, and you need to climb several steps to reach the shrine.
Once you reach Thirumanikundram, the temple is located at the top of a hill, and you need to climb several steps to reach the shrine. There are also shuttle services available to take visitors to the top of the hill.