The temple is situated in the village of Poombarai situated in the Palani hills of Tamil Nadu. The Hindu temple is a house for Lord Muruga, brought into existence by a sage named Bogar.
There is a legend behind the name of the temple. There was a saint-poet Arunagirinathar during the 15th century. Lord Muruga once saved him in a child form, which he has written about in a poem named “PoombaraiVelan.” Since Lord Muruga came in a child avatar, the temple was named as KuzhanthaiVelappar.
Creation of the Idol
It is believed that the idol was created by Bogar, who was one of the eighteen great Siddhas. The sculptor had to carve the idol rapidly, but he used most of his time carving the idol’s face. A very minimum time could be used for carving the rest of the body. As a result, it can be seen that the face of the idol holds perfection while the body is a bit less perfectly curved.
There is a Shrine dedicated to the creator as well, Bogar. It can be found in the southwest of the temple, and it leads to a tunnel, which then leads to a cave where Bogar used to meditate.
It is also believed that with time the idol was abandoned, and due to lack of maintenance, it submerged into the forest. The temple was then recreated by King Perumal, who used to maintain the CheraDynastys. One night he went on a hunt with his team during which he lost his way and team.
To spend the night, he took the shelter by the hill on which the idol was situated. That night when he slept, Lord Muruga came into his dream and ordered him to recreate the temple. Upon waking up, King ordered his people to find the idol and start building it again. Since that time, several changes are made in the temple to make it easy to be visited by the devotees.
The temple justifies the South Indian architectural style. It is built without a tower, and the sanctum sanctorum faces the east direction. The deity’s idol is made of nine poisonous substances that work as highly medicinal when mixed in a certain ratio. The idol is placed on a high platform made of stone with its weapons like Vel and vehicle Peacock.
There is a sub shrine where the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are placed with their companions. Near the main shrine, there are Nataraja and Dattatreya’s idols in the form of carvings, which is rare to find anywhere. Shiva Linga, Ganesha, Navagraha, Bhairava, Idumban, Dakshinamurti, and Nagas are other deities placed in the temple.
Religious Practices in the Temple
Various religious practices and festivals happen in the temple. One of these practices depicts the tonsuring in which the devotees shave some or all of their hair to imitate the Lord of Poombarai.
Another religious activity includes smearing the sandalwood paste on the head of the idol. The paste is then left overnight and acquired in the morning. Since the idol is made of nine substances that hold medicinal properties, this sandalwood paste becomes therapeutic when acquired from the deity’s head in such way.
There are various festivities as well that happens in the temple. Every year Poombarai celebrates TherThiruvizha or Car Festival in which the chariots of the Gods are worshipped, which are used for the processions.
Another festivity is the Skanda Shasti, which is closely associated with Muruga and legends related to him. Skanda Shasti is one such festival that has great significance in all over South India. Devotees from all around Tamil Nadu visit the temple, observe Vrat, recite Skanda Purana, and celebrate the Soorasamharam on the sixth day.
All the temples of Lord Muruga are situated on the hilltops since high elevations are always dear to Lord Muruga. Only the Tiruchendur is an exception since the Muruga temple here is situated by the seashore.
This year’s Skanda Shasti will be celebrated from 15th November 2020 and end up on 20th November. Visit KuzhanthaiVelappar temple and let Lord Muruga absorb all the negativity from your life.