|Tirupparamkunram Temple,Tamil Nadu. en.wikipedia.org|
The main cave like temple, huge in size and rock-cut shrines resemble those of the Pallavas, but they seem to have been built by the Pandyas during the 6th century. Thiruparamkundram finds mention in Kanda Puranam detailing the slaying of demon Surapadman by Muruga. There are three main rock-carved caves; the foremost has Subramanyar, Deivayanai and Naradar. The second cave enshrines Durga and the third has Vinayakar. Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhumidevi.
It is believed that the Murugan temple existed long before the 6th century and converted into a Jain worship center by Jain monks during the reign of Pandya king Koon Pandiyan. Later, it was converted into a Hindu temple under the patronage of Gajapathy, the minister of a later Pandya ruler, in the later part of the 8th century. The Nayak rulers made valid contributions and built the huge pillared hall at the entrance of the temple through which we can access the temple on the hill. The temple is being managed by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
|Lord Subramaniya,Tirupparamkunram Temple,Madurai, .murugan.org|
As mentioned before, entrance to the hill temple is through the huge Aasthana mandapam, built by Tirumalai Nayak of Madurai Nayak dynasty along with a 7-tiered gopuram (tower) 150 feet tall that forms the main entrance to the temple above. The hall has several artistically carved pillars and each of the 48 pillars is 20 feet in height bearing big images of Yaalis, elephants, warriors on horse-back, hunting tigers etc. There are inscriptions from the Pandya, Vijayanagara and Nayak periods. This temple was built by carving the hill and in front of the Dwajasthambam or the Kodi Maram; there are rock-carved images of Nandi (bull), peacock, etc. There is a separate shrine for Sanneswarar. The Shiva, in the form of a lingam, is also enshrined in a rock-cut shrine.
|Tirupparamkunram Temple, templesofindia.net|
|Location of tiruparamkundram, Madurai. mapsofindia.com|
Skanda Sashti that falls in the Tamil month of Panguni (October- November) is an important festival and Soora Samharam - the slaying of demon Surapadman is enacted in the last six days of the festival. People, in thousands, watch this festival. Karthigai Deepam - lighting of oil lamp atop the hill in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November) is held with devotion. The 10 - day annual Brahmotchavam, in the month of Panguni, is equally famous. As part of this festival, Lord Vishnu named Pavalakanivai Perumal and Muruga (Karthikaya) are taken in a procession to Madurai to celebrate Minakshi's (Parvati) wedding with Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva), with residents of Madurai dressed in festive clothing. This famous Chitrai festival is part of this city's tradition. Vaikasi Visakam, and the float festival in Thai attract lots of pilgrims.
A visit to this large city - Madurai will not be complete if you do not include Tiruparamkundram in your tour itinerary.