Located in the Pazhamudircholai hills near Madurai of Tamil Nadu, India, the Solaimalai Murugan Temple is a revered Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, also known as Lord Kartikeya or Subramanya swamy, the God of War and Victory. It is considered the last of the six abodes, also known as Arupadai Veedu, of Lord Murugan. The temple is surrounded by natural beauty and is also home to the Rakkayi Kovil temple, where local tribes reside. The well at Rakkayi Kovil is believed to be the origin of the Silambaru river, which flows down the hill and adds to the charm of the area.
According to legend, Valli, a beautiful tribal girl, lived in the forests of Pazhamudircholai. Lord Muruga fell in love with Valli and, disguised as a tribal hunter, won her heart and eventually married her. The temple dedicated to Lord Muruga at Pazhamudircholai is believed to have been built at the spot where Lord Muruga and Valli first met.
This story is a well-known episode from the life of Avvaiyar, a great Tamil poet and saint who lived during the Sangam period in ancient South India. According to the story, Avvaiyar was tested by Lord Muruga, the Hindu God of War and Victory, in the form of a mischievous boy who appeared before her when she was traveling under the hot sun and seeking refuge under a fruit tree.
The boy, who was none other than Muruga himself, offered Avvaiyar some fruits from the tree and asked her whether she wanted roasted fruits or unroasted fruits. Avvaiyar, who was a renowned scholar and litterateur, scoffed at the idea of roasted fruits and decided that the boy was ignorant about fruits. However, she didn’t want to argue with the boy and asked him to pick unroasted fruits for her.
As the boy climbed the tree and plucked the fruits, several of them fell to the ground, and Avvaiyar picked them up, blowing on them to remove the sand. The boy then teased her, asking if she was blowing on his “roasted fruits” to cool them down.
Realizing her mistake, Avvaiyar felt embarrassed and apologized to the boy. Muruga then revealed his true identity to her and blessed her with divine knowledge and wisdom. The story teaches the lesson that true wisdom lies in humility and the willingness to learn from others, even from those who may appear to be less knowledgeable or insignificant.
The Solaimalai Murugan Temple, also known as the Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple, located in Tamil Nadu, is a true reflection of the exquisite ancient architecture and mesmerizing beauty. One of the most prominent features of the temple is the Navaranga Mandapam, built by the Nayaks. This fascinating structure is entirely made of stone, with four pillars and nine bays. The other parts of the temple showcase a significant influence of the Pandiya architecture, as it was built by them along with contributions from various local leaders, religious groups, and individual devotees. The temple stands as a remarkable representation of the harmonious blend of different cultures and traditions.
The temple is relatively small but is considered one of the most important Murugan temples in Tamil Nadu. It has separate shrines for Lord Muruga, Valli, and Deivayanai, as well as a shrine for Lord Ganesha. The temple tower, or gopuram, is a beautiful structure that adds to the serene atmosphere of the hill. Monkeys are a common sight around the temple.
The temple is known for its grand annual festival, which takes place in the Tamil month of Aadi (July-August) and lasts for 10 days. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by thousands of devotees who come from all over the world to participate in the festivities.
During the festival, the idol of Lord Muruga is taken in a grand procession around the temple, accompanied by traditional music and dance performances. Devotees offer prayers, perform rituals, and make offerings of fruits, flowers, and coconuts to the deity.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Kavadi Attam, a popular dance form performed by devotees as a form of penance and devotion. Devotees carry a Kavadi, a wooden or metal frame decorated with peacock feathers, and dance to the beat of traditional music while walking on burning coals or piercing their bodies with hooks and skewers.
The Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple is open for darshan on all days of the week. The temple timings are from 5:30 AM to 1:00 PM in the morning, and from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the evening.
How to reach
Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple is located on a hill in the outskirts of Madurai city in Tamil Nadu, India. Visitors can reach the temple by various means of transportation, such as car, van, two-wheeler, or bus.
the nearest airport is the Madurai International Airport, which is located around 25 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 the Madurai Junction Railway Station, which is located around 22 km away from the temple. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
Madurai has a well-connected bus network, and there are regular buses that run from the Madurai Mattuthavani Bus Stand to the temple. You can take a bus to the Pazhamudircholai Bus Stop, which is located near the temple. Route number 44 is a convenient bus option from Madurai.
If you have your vehicle or have hired a taxi, you can take the NH 38 road towards Theni to reach the foothills of the Pazhamudircholai hills. From there, take a left turn and drive uphill to reach the temple.
Visitors can also take a bus shuttle every 20 minutes from the foot of the hill to the temple. The shuttle service takes approximately 15 minutes (3.4 km) to reach the temple.