Thiruparankunram

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Location : Near Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity: Paramgirinathar And Subramanyar
Dates Back To: Chola Period


Tirupparamkunram is considered as one of the most sacred temples in Tamil Nadu, which is dedicated to Subramanyar and Paramgirinathar. It has been held in reverence for over 2,000 years by the Tamil world. It has been revered by the Tevaram hymns of the Nayanmars and by the Tiruppugazh hymns of Arunagirinathar.

About The Temple
There are 3 main caves within the temple premises. The main shrine is a cave temple featuring Lord Subramanya, Deivayanai and Naarada (also spelt as Narad), which resemble the early cave temples of the Pallavas. The 2nd cave enshrines Durga and the 3rd enshrines Vinayaka. There are 2 other cells in the cave temple enshrining Somaskandha and Satyagireeswara in one and Vishnu with Sridevi, Bhudevi and Mathangamuniva in the other.

Temple Architecture
Tiruppamkunram features rock cut shrines as well as Mandapams lined with elaborately carved pillars. The sculptural work in this temple is of great beauty. Several inscriptions from the Pandya Vijayanagar and the Nayak periods are seen in this temple.

The main entrance is through a Mandapam called the "Aasthana Mandapam", which was built by Tirumalai Nayakkar of Madurai. 48 pillars line up the entrance of temple, each 20 feet in height, bearing Yaalis, elephant, warrior bearing horses hunting tigers etc. A seven-storied Gopuram towering to a height of 150 feet forms the entrance to the temple.

There is another Mandapam referred to, as the Kalyana Mandapam to the left of which is the sacred tank Lakshmi Theertham (also spelt as Teertha). There is also a tank called "Saravanapoigai" (as in Palani) to the east of the temple lined with beautiful steps against the imposing hill.

"Kambattadi Mandapam", the "Ardha Mandapam" and the "Maha Mandapam" can be reached using a series of steps. There are few more Mandapams within the temple complex. There are two panels on one of the cave temple walls that depict the cosmic dance of Nataraja. The Cosmic Dance portrayal shows several celestial beings in the orchestra and in the audience admiring the dance of Shiva. In addition, there are caves with interesting sculptural work.

The Deities
Tirupparamkunram enshrines Subramanyar (laos spelt as Subramanya), the leader of the armies of the Gods. He is seen in a seated posture (facing north) with his consort Deivayanai, the daughter of Indra, the King of the Gods on his left. This image holds silver 'Vel' (spear) and 'Abhishegam' (holy bath) is offered only to the Silver Vel.

One can also see the images of Vinayaka, Brahma, Saraswati, Devendra, Surya and Chrandra in this sanctum. There is also a Shrine to Govardana and Padmavati as well as shrines to Shanmuga, Saneeswara, the 63 Nayanma and Panchalinga (also spelt as Panchlinga)

Adhikaranandi faces the Panchalingam shrine. Inside the Panchalingam shrine there is small shrine dedicated to Thiruchendur Murugan, which resembles the famous shrine at Thiruchendur.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Madurai.
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Madurai, which is an important railway junction on southern railways.
Road: Tourists can access Thiruparankunram from Madurai, which is well served by Tamil Nadu government and private bus operators.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the star and economy class hotels, lodges, hostels, devasthanam cottages and choultries in Madurai.



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