Day 7:38 pm

  • Girivalam shrines – Aarumuga swami temple

    Hindus believe that the present age is Kali Yugam, the age of darkness and degeneration. The presiding deity of this yugam is Lord Muruga, the Kali Yuga Varadan. His weapon the Vel or spear signifies victory and it is ordained that this will ultimately restore peace and harmony to this chaotic age by destroying arrogance, violence and injustice. The worship of Lord Muruga has been practiced by the dravidians since the pre-christian era. Needless to say that this worship is still continued today with great religious fervour and devotion all over South India and especially in Tamil Nadu.

    One of the many legends associated with the origin of Lord Muruga narrates that Lord Shiva emitted sparks from his third eye and these fell into the Saravana Poigai (celestial lake) to become six babies. Six divine damsels then sprung forth to nurse the babies and were subsequently rewarded to appear as the Karthigai or Pleaides constellation. When Shiva’s consort Parvati beheld the beauty of these children, she embraced them all together to become one form with six heads and twelve arms. In this form Lord Muruga is known as Shanmukha or Arumuga Swami(the six headed god).

    On the Arunachala girivalam, an old temple to Arumuga Swami can be found on the outer Chengam road about half a kilometre after the Arts college and just opposite the Simha Theertham. The temple has a large vestibule like hall in front where sadhus take shelter. Further inside is an open air quadrangle with plenty of trees and greenery. In the centre, is the actual shrine to the Lord. The deity is in the form of an ancient stone statue depicting Muruga with six heads and twelve arms, majestically seated on a peacock. As is the custom in many girivalam shrines, an old sadhu officiates as priest and performs the puja  It is touching to note that he takes care to wave the arathi flame to each of the six heads in turn by going round the deity. A nice feature of this temple is the quietness  inside as it does not attract many people, so it can also be a good place for meditation.

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