• Murugan

Palamalai Ranganathar Temple

Overview


This is a hill temple. The devotee will not feel it difficult to climb the hill as there are green trees on both sides. As there were no sufficient stones to build the temple, the construction could not go through earlier. Suddenly, people heard a big sound one day. Next morning they found a big rock in splits. They began the construction with the rock splits and completed it successfully. Now there is a road to the hills for convenient driving of vehicles. This abode of Shri Ranganathar is located in Palamalai Hills is near Periyanaickenpalayam on Mettupalayam Highway (Ooty Road) about 30 kms from Coimbatore.

Of late, this place is in news for man-animal conflict particularly with the 'Rajahs' (elephants – that's how the locals address it) or 'Doddavar' (respectful reference to a family elder in Kannada). As everyone knows this is manmade friction. We are encroaching and trespassing their territory and they have been left with no choice but to retaliate. Resultant, the hamlets on the fringes of Palamalai range are prone to elephant 'trespass' for food and water. Ironically, the man is fighting for his own survival.

The view from Palamalai is breathtaking, a panoramic view of Coimbatore on the south-eastern side and on the other, unending folds of the Mother Nature. The hill/mountain range stretches up to Nilgiris on the northern side and on the western, it goes up to Anaikatty (Tamil Nadu) and thereon the range runs into the Kerala side of Mannakkad and the famous Silent Valley National Park. The terrain from the Palamalai side towards Kerala is almost inaccessible by foot and only seasoned trekkers and the tribals may give a go. The wildlife here is mainly Rajah (the elephants), wild gaur (cousin of bison), deer, leopards, occasional sighting of bear, wild dogs, wild cats, snakes, different variety of birds like Peacocks, owls, bald eagles, jungle fowls, etc. it’s an ideal location for bird sighting too.


About The Temple


This is a hill temple. The devotee will not feel it difficult to climb the hill as there are green trees on both sides. As there were no sufficient stones to build the temple, the construction could not go through earlier. Suddenly, people heard a big sound one day. Next morning they found a big rock in splits. They began the construction with the rock splits and completed it successfully. Now there is a road to the hills for convenient driving of four cars. A private sector firm had also helped in building a big mandap. The consecration of the temple was celebrated a year back and the Padma Theertham tank was silted and cleaned. Today, it is a beautiful tank.

All merciful Lord Ranganatha appears in a standing form facing east pleasing the mind of His devotees. Thumbikkai Azhwar and Mother grace the devotees from their respective shrines. Adequate space is created around the temple to facilitate car festival and movement of devotees during festival times. Many visit the temple frequently as the environment and the climate are helpful to keep them healthy and free from any disease. Irulars, a tribal community are living near the temple. The car of the temple is aesthetically made by skilled craftsmen.

The devotee crowd is huge on new moon days and Saturdays. There are shrines for Lord Vinayaka, Sri Anjaneya and Acharya Sri Ramanuja.


Legend and Stories

HISTORY
Liberation from Vashista’s Curse

The story goes that Gandharva Dhurdhaman was bathing in the tank with women. Maharishi Vashista who was returning after visiting Lord Shiva got the due regards from the women who came out of the tank and sought his blessings. However, the Gandharva disregarded the presence of the Rishi and continued to bathe in the tank.

An angry Rishi cursed the Gandharva to turn to a Rakshasha. Shocked at this sudden turn of event, the women folks pleaded with the Rishi to bring the Gandharva back to his handsome form. Over time, Kaalava Rishi who was undertaking penance here invoking the blessings for Lord Narayana was harassed by this Gandharva turned Rakshasha.

Perturbed at this, the Rishi increased the severity of his penance. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Narayana appeared before the Rishi and killed the Rakshasha with his discus thus liberating the Gandharva from his curse and helping him unite with his Gandharva wife.

Kaalava Rishi requested the Lord to stay back here and provide darshan to devotees in the same standing posture as Ranganatha.


Liberation from the Bear’s curse

Another story goes that King Nanda Boopala relinquished his kingdom and headed towards the forest handing over the crown to his son Dharma Gupta. One day, while returning from a trip, the king had to stay back in the forest as it had suddenly become dark.

He climbed a tree to sleep there for the night only to be joined there by a scared Bear that had been chased down by a hungry Lion. Both of them agreed to take turns and sleep half the period of the night and keep vigil against the hungry Lion. With the Bear staying awake the first half, the Lion tried to negotiate a deal with the Bear asking him to push down the King in return for being allowed to go free. Not willing to go back on the agreement with the King, the Bear refused.

Well past mid night the Bear and the King exchanged turns and it was now time for the king to keep vigil. When the Lion tried to strike the same deal with the King, he immediately pushed the Bear down. However, to the shock of King Dharma Gupta, the Bear escaped. Once away at a distance, the bear informed the king that he was no normal Bear and that he belonged to the clan of Brigu Rishi. The Rishi also informed the Lion that he was a Yaksha who had turned into a Lion as a result of the curse of Gautama Rishi and that it was time for him to be liberated from the Rishi’s curse. The Bear who was angry at the king betraying the trust placed on him for protection during that night cursed him to turn into a lunatic. Shocked at this, king Dharma Gupta sought his father’s help. Former King Nanda Boopala took his son to a Sage who suggested that Dharma Gupta bathe in the Sacred Padma Theertham in Palamalai and invoke the blessings of Lord Ranganatha there. Dharma Gupta was relieved from his curse at this place and went back to rule his kingdom in a righteous manner.


Construction of the temple

The story goes that this was a thick and dense forest area. A cowherd who allowed his cow to graze here found that there was no milk left. One day, as he watched closely, he was amazed to find the milk on the Swayambu Lord that had come up here. It is believed that the invisible voice sent him the message that he should bring milk from the next morning.

A delighted cowherd followed this practice every morning. To this day, every morning inside the temple, the small idol of the Swayambu Lord is presented the milk Abhisheka as part of the morning pooja.

With the thick forest, devotees were keen that an outer wall be constructed around the temple but when the temple authorities fell short on construction material it is believed the Lord answered their prayers with the huge rock on the Southern side of the temple breaking up into pieces to constitute the material for the construction. Interestingly, answering the prayers, Lord provided sand in the far Northern corner of the temple.Padma Theertham as seen in the story above is on the Northern side of the temple about 1/2km away.


Festivals


Car festival is celebrated in the temple on Chitra Poornima day in April-May


Significance


Those facing the impact of some curses pray for relief.


How To Reach Sri Ranganathar Temple, Palamalai

Air

The nearest airport is at Coimbatore Airport.


Rail

The nearest railway station is at Coimbatore Railway Station.


Road

The temple is 8 km west of Perianaickenpalayam, on the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam road. The devotee has to reach the temple on the hill through steps – 1.5 mile. Bus No. 32 from Gandhipuram bus stand is available twice a day – morning and evening up to the foot of the hill.


Temple Address


Sri Ranganathar Temple,
Palamalai,Naicken Palayam, Perianaickenpalayam,
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Pincode - 641020.

Significance

Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-

  • To get rid of curses
Shlokas

Ariru Thadanthozh Vazhga Arumugam Vazhga Veppai Kooru Sei Thanivel Vazhga Kukkudum Vazhga Sevvel Yeriya Magnai Vazhga Aanai Thun Anangu Vazhga Maarila Valli Vazhga Vazhga Seer Adiyar Yellam

Meaning -Oh Muruga, we hail your 12 strong shoulders for they protect us from our enemies, we hail your 6 faces, we hail the Vel, your weapon that broke apart the Krounja mountain to reveal the asura in it. We hail the bird, the cock, that is part of your symbol in the flag. We hail your peacock, that takes you all over the world, we hail your consort Devyani, who was brought up by Indra's white elephant, Airavadam, we hail your other consort, the flawless Valli. And we hail your Bhaktas who worship you as a prayer.

Uruvai Aruvai Uladhai Iladhai Maruvai Malarai Maniyai Oliyai Karuvai Uyirai Gadhiyai Vidhiyai Guruvai Varuvai Arulvai Guhaney

Meaning -O Lord Muruga, you have form and you are formless, you have everything and have nothing, you who exist in the smallest, in flowers, in a bell's ring, in the light. You are the embryo, the life, destiny and fate. Bestow your blessings on us as our guru.

Jajwalyamananam Sura Brunda Vandhyam Kumaradhaara Thada Manthirastham Kandharpa Roopam Kamaneeya Gathram Brahmanya Devam Charanam Prapadye

Meaning -I look for shelter with the God, who is Brahman, who all the devas salute, who has a temple in the Kumaradhara banks, who shines and has an attractive personality and a very beautiful body.

Shadaananam Chandana Liptha Gathram Mahorasam Divya Mayoora Vaahanam Rudrasya Soonum Suraloka Naatham Brahmanya Devam Charanam Prapadye

Meaning -I always take refuge in the 6 faced Lord Guha, who has sandal paste smeared over his body, who is broad-chested, whose vehicle is the peacock, who is Lord Shiva's son and who leads the army of the Devas.

Timings

The temple is open during normal hours in morning and evening.

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