Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tamil Nadu with Quilley - 9 March 2012 - Palani

My friend, Quilley, arrived the evening of 7 March on her way home from her Buddhist pilgrimage to India.  She scheduled two weeks with us, for which I am deeply grateful.  We dragged her off the morning of the 9th for a tour of the state of Tamil Nadu.

We travelled in a Toyota Innova with a great driver, Chandran.

Our friends John and Davina joined us, since they had not been to Kanyakumari yet.
(Gopal, John, Quilley, Davina, and Chandran)

'Palani is a city and a municipality in the Dindigul district of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. 

'Palani is pronounced using the special 'L' used in Tamil and is also spelt as "Pazhini" in English.

'It is a famous pilgrimage town and evey year more than 7 million devotees visit the Palani Murugan Temple and offer their prayers to the Lord Muruga.  This temple draws the largest number of devotees in Tamil Nadu.

'Palani is a centre of a form of traditional Indian medicine known as Siddha Vaidyam, said to have been developed by the ascetics resident in prehistoric times in the hills about the modern-day town.

'Further, the town is also the centre for production of Vibhuthi (sacred ash) and Pacha-amritham (literally, 'the five nectars' - a traditional preparation of fruit pulp and molasses), both of which are considered holy and distributed to devotees after being offered to the Lord Subrahmanyan in the hill temple.'

from Madurai Welcome, 49th Edition

This elephant was giving blessings outside Quilley's bedroom window.  We stayed at the Hotel Subam, which we found very comfortable and very conveniently located for going to the Palani temple.

Palani Hill Temple

'Palani Hill Temple and the Idol "Lord Murugan" is the deity of the Tamil Land.  Palani (Tiru Avinankudi) is the third Padai Veedu.  The temple at Palani is an ancient one, situated at an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level.

Palani Muruga

'The deity of Palani is known as Dandayudhapani Swami, the Lord having the Staff in his Hand.  The deity at the sanctum sanctorum is made out of an amalgam of nine minerals popularly called Navabashana.

'Palani has been mentioned in the Tamil Sangam Literature as "Podhini," which came to be called as "Palani" later, according to the historians.  In "Thirumurukatruppadai" (a Sangam Literature) Palani has been mentioned as the 3rd "PadaiVeedu."  This was the southern end of the Kongu Nadu and edicts refer to this place as "Vayapuri Nadu," which was ruled by king "Vaiyapuri Kopperumbaegan."'

from Madurai Welcome, 49th Edition

The temple on top of the hill.

We decided against the 923 steps up the hill and took this cable car trip.

John and Gopal
The view as you get off the cable car (still some stairs to climb, though)

No pictures allowed inside the temple, but outside you see many newly shaved heads plastered with sandalood paste.

It was a great first day.  To get to Palani, we had to drive down the mountain from Coonoor, past Coimbatore and on to Palani.

No comments: