Swamimalai is one of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu. One can see that it is mentioned in Thirumurukaatrup-padai of Nakeerar, compiled under ‘paththuppaattu’ (Ten verses) of Sangam period, which belongs to second century B.C. The shrine therefore is evidently older than 2400 years. It is believed to have been constructed by Parantaka Chola I. But recent history and documentation show that the temple was damaged to a great extent and the gopurams were demolished during the Anglo-French war of 1740 A.D.
The temple of Swaminatha is built on the hillock. At the foot of the hillock, there is a temple for Lord Shiva, who played the ‘Taught’. His temple is situated at a lower plane to indicate the superiority of the ‘Master.’ Lord Shiva is known as Sundaresa and His Consort, Meenakshi.
There are three beautiful gopurams on all three sides – east, west and north. On the south is situated the massive and main gopuram, known as the Rajagopuram. There are three prakarams in the temple. There is a shrine for Vinayaka, who is known by the name Netra Vinayaka. It is said that a blind man had his vision restored, after he worshipped Vinayaka here and from then on, Ganesa is known as Netra Vinayaka in Swamimalai.
There are other shrines in the prakaram for Agastya, Visalakshi, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and other deities. There is a shrine for Lord Muruga in a corner, where He resides with His consort, Devayani. This is the only shrine where Subrahmanya is seen with Devayani alone, without the other Consort, Valli. Moreover, the usual divine vehicle, peacock is absent in this shrine. Instead, there is a white elephant is found in front of the Lord. It is said that Indra, in gratitude for having saved him from Asuras, presented the Lord with his own vehicle, Airavatam, the white elephant and hence the peacock is absent in Swamimalai.
Krittika is an important day for a visit to the shrine. The main festivals are Brahma Utsavam, Skanda Shasti and the festival of His marriage with Valli. Vibuthi Abhishekam – smearing of the deity with holy ashes – is a special feature in Swamimalai, as it is in Palani.
The temple is very important from the literary, historic and also devotional points of view.
Pujas and Festivals
Daily pujas to the deities are performed six times a day (six kalams). Usha Kalam, Kalasandhi and Uchikala poojas are performed in the forenoon and the afternoon poojas commencing from Sayaratchai and Rendam kalam are concluded with Arthajama pooja in the night.
The important festivals conducted in the temple are:
Monthly Kirutikai festival;
Temple Car festival in April;
Visakam festival in May;
Navaratri festival in May;
Skanda Shashti festival in October;
Tiru Karthikai festival in Nov/December;
Taippūcam festival in January; and
Pankuni Uttiram festival in March