Palani is located in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. It is about 112 km from Madurai and about 152 km from Tiruchirappalli. Palani is a holy place and one of the sacred six ‘padai veedu’ temples of Lord Murugan. Devotees believe that Lord Murugan came and settled down in this sacred place. That is how Palani gained its popularity.
The shrine of Lord Arulmigu Dandayudhapani Swami Murugan is located at the top of a hill nearly about 500 feet high. The Kurinji Andavar Temple can also be seen from here against the backdrop of sun’s rays. Unlike other temples, the temple is open for nearly 16 hours at a stretch. Here the idol is a combination consisting of Navabashana or nine different kinds of medicinal minerals and the resulting essence looks like hard wax.
Devotees can reach the shrine either by climbing the steps, travel by the winch train or the cable car. Devotees, who come to visit the Lord, offer Kavadis, tonsure or shave their hair, Annadanam, or offering of food, or drop money in the hundial or collection box. Panchamritham, made out of five fruits or ingredients is distributed as the Prasad here. Thinai, a cereal grain powdered and mixed with kandasari sugar, is the prasad given after the last puja.
Thaipusam, Vaikasi Vishakam, Thirukartikai are the famous festivals held here in Palani. The Lord also known as Chinnakumarar is placed riding a golden peacock mount fixed to a golden chariot. This is taken around the prakaram of the temple atop the hill in a ceremonial procession on all Karthigai days and on the occasion of six other festivals in a year.
On request, a devotee can have the golden chariot pulled around the temple to the accompaniment of music. There is a big demand for such services in order to fulfill vows taken for thanksgiving for recovery from a sickness or achievement in any important undertaking.
During the conclusion of the procession, the person is honoured with ‘Parivattam’, temple recognition. The procession stops briefly at each of the nine bali-peetams or altars for religious offerings.
Tiru Avinankudi Temple is the oldest and largest temple at the foothills of the Palani Temple. Usually, before visiting the main hill temple, devotees visit this temple. Mariamman Kovil is also one of the famous temples in the vicinity.
Periyanayaki amman kovil or Aanai Kovil is another old temple in Palani which is carved from stones. Kuthiraiyar Dam Falls located near Pappampatti Palani has waterfalls behind the dam. Thekkanthottam is another small waterfall near Palani. The Varathamanathi Dam is a popular picnic spot.