Arulmigu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple is one of the six earthly Abodes of Lord Murugan (Aarupadai Veedugal). It is situated in Palani, which was known in ancient times as Sri Thiruaavinankudi, since lot of cows were once lived at the present place of this temple. Similar to Tirupati Laddu, Palani temple is famous for the delicious Holy Prasadam Palani Panchamritam, a sweet mixture made up of jaggery and mixed fruits.
Due to the divine mango play incident, Lord Muruga left Kailasha and he went to Palani by wearing only the Koupeenam(Loin cloth) on his waist. The main idol of the Palani Muruga was formed and installed by Siddhar Bogar, who is one among the eighteen great Siddhars, out of a rare herb which is popularly known as Navapashanam.
Those who are unable to climb the steps can utilise the services of winch and rope car. Six pujas are being performed to Lord Palani Muruga, and those who witness it would achieve the very purpose of their birth. This temple was one of the richest among the temples in Tamil Nadu.
As per the legend, one of the hills which were once carried by Idumba was supposed to be the Palani hill. It is a practice which is followed in modern times, where people used to carry milk on both of their shoulders as a part of their devotion in order to please the Lord. A shrine to Bhogar was there in the Palani Temple, since it is believed that Bhogar still meditate Lord Muruga in this sacred temple.
This temple was further expanded and renovated by a Chera king, as per the instructions given by Lord Muruga on his dream. There are also shrines for Lord Shiva, Parvati and Vinayaka. Performing Abhishekam (Holy Bath) by using various items like milk, ghee, mixed fruits and honey is famously done in this temple. Similar to doing the act of tonsuring at Tirumala-Tirupati, at Palani temple also tonsuring is being done by the devotees, with the belief that their head-weight and ego would vanish! Devotees used to carry kavadi, like Vel Kavadi, milk Kavadi, flower Kavadi and paneer Kavadi.
Festivals like Thai-Poosam, Panguni-Uthiram, Vaikhashi-Vishakham and Shasti are most popularly celebrated festivals at this temple, and Temple Golden chariot would be pulled by the devotees with great bhakti by reciting the praise, “KANDANUKKU AROHARA”. Sri Arunagirinathar visited Palani and sung praises on Lord Palani Murugan.
There is a famous Palani Andavar Ashtakam written in praise of Lord Murugan and the contents present are as follows:-
1. Oh Palani Andava. Please come, come by riding on your favourite peacock. Come with your Long spear and with the beautiful cock flag, give me all sorts of prosperity and help me to reach the eternal world after my death.
2. There are lot of devotees for you at Palani Temple, Please free them from the repeated chain of birth cycles, Oh Veda Purusha, Tatva Masi, Gnana Pandita , Oh Sri Asura Samhara Moorthy, please shower your grace on us and show your excellent divine form.
3. Oh Palani Andava come, Oh Muruga Bhagavane come, come, Oh Skanda come, Oh Arumuga come, Oh Vetrivela come Oh Veeravelava come, come soon, in order to put up an end for the sufferings of your devotees.
4. Oh Lord of Lords, Shower your grace on us, I surrender, surrender and surrender. Oh Subrahmanya, I surrender at your holy lotus feet, Please drive away all the ills, I, surrender for ever. Palani Andava, Kumara, Shanmuga, Alagesa, Please come soon to my home. I would adorn you with flowers, flower garlands, wonderful ornaments and with excellent garments. I have kept lot of Pori Urundai, Appam and Adirasam for you, please eat a lot of that by sitting comfortably at my home.
5. Oh the Divine Guru, Oh son of Lord Shiva-Shakti, Oh Muruga, Let your beautiful face give happiness to the entire world, let your marvellous peacock kill our bad habits, let your divine spear protect us from our enemies, let your powerful mantra, “OM SARAVANA BHAVA”, act as a protective shield for us. Oh commander of Devas, I surrender, I surrender and I surrender at your holy lotus feet.
6. Oh Palani Andava, if I try to commit suicide will you safeguard me, if I starve in hunger and thirst, don’t you provide food and water, if I suffer from illness, don’t you cure it, if I involve myself in bad activities, don’t you stop it, if I sing songs on you, don’t you hear it? Oh Palani Andava, I worship you on all times, on all directions, on all days, I worship you by calling your names, Saravana, Shanmuga, Senthil Andava. I worship you by lighting lamps, I worship you by chanting your marvellous mantras, I, worship you along with my family. I worship you even if I become sick, and I worship you even from my death bed, I worship you by putting flowers on your idol and I keep worshipping you for ever!
“OM SRI PALANI ANDAVA NAMO NAMAHA”