Palani or Pazhani is one of the six sacred abodes of Lord Subrahmanya in Tamilnadu. Lord Subrahmanya is the younger of the two sons of Shiva and Parvati. In south Lord subrahmanya is also known as Shanmugha, Muruga, Kumara, Skanda, Vela though he is popularly known as Muruga.
Pazhani has its name from tamil words pazham nee. Pazham in tamil means fruit and nee means you. There is a story behind this name. Legend has it that one Sage Narada visited Shiva & Parvati with a pomegranate (considered to be fruit of wisdom). He handed the fruit to Shiva and said that it was a fruit of wisdom, the fruit should be consumed by only one person and should not be shared. Since both Ganesha and Muruga wanted the fruit, Shiva told that the one who goes around the world and finishes first would get the fruit. Muruga climbed on his vehicle Peacock and started circling the world and Ganesha, after consulting with sage Narada, circumambulated Shiva and Parvati saying that father and mother (parents) are the world and received the fruit from Shiva. Subrahmanya got terribly upset over this and left his home for Thiruavinankudi at the foot of Palani hills. Parvati later consoled Muruga by saying “you are the fruit of wisdom (gnana pazham nee) and why do you require a fruit of wisdom”. The place thus got its name Palani deriving from the words ‘Pazham Nee’.
The famous Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, also known as Palani temple, is located on the top of Palani Hills.Palani temple is said to have been built in 9th Century by King Cheraman Perumal and was maintained by the following kings of Nayaks, Pandyas and Cholas. The temple has carved Pillars, stone mandapams(halls) and with a golden vaimana. Idol of Muruga here is staid to be the only one of its kind. It said to have been shaped out of nine minerals (known as navabhashanam) and was crafted by Sage Bhogar about 5000 years ago. The idol is also special for Lord Subrahmanya is depicted as standing with a tonsured head, clad in a loin cloth with a stick in his hand. This symbolizes renunciation in life.
Pilgrims/devotees who visit Dandayuthapani temple will have to first visit Thiruavinankudi temple and then proceed to the main temple on the hill top. The temple can be accessed by foot, cable car and winch. The timings are 6 a.m to 8 p.m in general.
Don’t forget to buy Panchamritham here, which is sold as prasadam. Panchamritham is made of five substances viz bananas, grapes, sugar, ghee and honey. Buy this only from the temple offices. A sealed can of Panchamritham can last up to one month. One can also get other eatables sold in the name of prasadam namely curd rice, tamarind rice, sweet pongal (rice cooked with jaggery), laddu and athirasam (a sweet pancake).
The nearest main railhead is at Dindigul from where Palani is about 55 kms. The nearest airports are Coimbatore (105 kms) and Madurai (120 kms). There are frequent buses from Dindigul, Madurai, Coimbatore and other important towns in Tamilnadu.