Swaminathaswamy Temple, Swamimalai
Swamimalai Swaminathaswamy Temple
Lord Murugan has six holy abodes (Arupadaiveedu) in Tamil Nadu. Swamimalai Sri Swaminathaswami Temple, located on a hilltop in Swamimalai, is one of them. The temple is located at a distance of 8 kilometres from Kumbakonam, on the banks of a tributary of River Cauvery. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Govt. of Tamil Nadu.
Historical Significance of the Temple
As per Hindu legend, Lord Murugan got angry with Brahma (the God of creation) when the latter had disrespected him at the time of visiting Mt. Kailash (abode of Lord Shiva). Lord Murugan intercepted Brahmma and demanded to know the meaning of the Pranava mantra ‘Ohm’. On Brahma not able to answer the question, Lord Murugan pounced on him, hit him hard on his forehead, imprisoned him and took up the role of the creator.
On request of the Devas (celestial deities), Lord Shiva comes to Murugan and asks to release Brahma, to which Lord Murugan refuses. Lord Shiva asks Murugan to explain the meaning Ohm, this is the place where the father became a student of the son and hence the name Swamimalai meaning ‘The Teacher of Shiva’. Therefore, according to Hindu belief, Swamimalai is the holy place where Lord Murugan preached the ‘Pranava Mantra’ to his own father.
Architecture of Swaminathaswamy temple
The Swamimalai temple is built on a ‘Kattu Malai’ meaning an artificial hill. The temple has three gopurams (towers) and three prakarams (precincts/outer part of the sanctum) – first one at the basement, second at midway on the way to the hillock and third on the hillock around the sanctum. There are 60 beautifully laid steps that lead to the temple and the steps are said to represent 60 Tamil calendar years.
The shrine of Lord Shiva as Sundareswarar and mother Parvathi as Meenakshi is located downhill.
The first precinct has a shrine of Vinayagar just outside the precinct and images of Dakshinamurthy, Durga, Chandikeswarar and the festival image of Swaminathaswamy.
The second precinct, also the largest one of the temple, houses the chariot and a marriage hall.
The sanctum houses the granite image of Swaminathaswamy which is 6 feet tall. The deity is adorned with golden armours, crowns and a diamond lance. Unlike other Murugan temples where a peacock is placed axial to the deity, this temple has an elephant.
Reference to the Literature
Swamimalai Temple has been praised by poet Nakkeerar in the hymns of Arunagiriar’s Tirupugazh and in Tirumugattrupadai
Swaminathaswamy Temple Timings
Morning 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Evening 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
Devotees are served Annadhanam every day. Rooms and cottages are available for devotees at nominal rates.
|Usha kalam||6:00 AM|
|Irandan Kalam||8:00 PM|
Worship practices in the temple include tonsuring, Abhishekam (ablution of deity) with milk, sandal, ash and panchamirtham.
Festivals observed in the Temple
The major festivals observed in the temple are:
- Kirutikai Festival – in the Tamil month of Adi (July-August)
- Car Festival – in the month of April
- Visakam Festival – in the month of May
- Navarathri – during the Tamil month if Purattasi (September –October)
- Kanda Shashti – in the month of October
- Tiru Karthikai – in the month of November/December
- Thaipusam – in the month of January
- Pankuni Uttiram – in the month of March
How to reach Swaminathaswamy temple
Regular buses and private cabs can be availed to reach Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is well connected with all major cities in Tamil Nadu. Kumbakonam is the nearest railway head (8.5 kilometres away) and Trichy International Airport is the nearest Airport (85 kilometres away).