Lord Muruga is worshipped with great devotion in Tamil Nadu. There are many temples dedicated to him and Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple Madurai is one among them, which is located about 8 km from the city of Madurai. Tirupparankundram is a hill and the temple is curved out of rock. It is regarded as one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. We reached the temple in the evening and got inside after buying some flowers and fruits from the shops outside to offer the deity.
The temple is a massive structure and the main entrance called Rajagopuram is about 150 ft tall. The temple dates back to the Pandya period and is an ancient temple with many artistic features. The main shrine has the sanctum of Muruga as well as Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. Outside the sanctum were panels showing the dance of Shiva in bliss. It is a magnificent sight and we were told that it dated back to the Pandya period. One of the interesting features here is that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are placed facing each other in the main shrine. The mandapams here have many sculptures that that are life like in their form. The Asthana Mandapam has many sculptures which are artistically and tastefully carved and are eye catching. Kambathadi Mandapam, Arrdha Mandapam and the Mahamabdapam are other mandapams here atht have beautifully carved pillars.
There is a rock carved shrine for Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi as well. Lord Shiva in the form of shivalingam is also worshipped here. In front of the Kodimaram there are sculptures of Nandi, Peacock and the Mouse, which are the vehicles of Lord Shiva, Muruga and Ganesha respectively. The legend says that it was here that Lord Murugan married Devayani, the daughter of Indra. So it is considered as one of the auspicious places to conduct marriage. The pond outside the temple is very beautiful and full of fishes. The devotees offer the fishes rice flakes and salt.
The place is often referred to as the Southern Himalaya in ancient Tamil texts and is a holy place where a lot of devotees come to offer their prayers.