One of the Aru Padaiveedu, the six main abodes of Lord Muruga, Tiruparankunram offers a mystic beauty. It is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. It is where the lord marries Deivayanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra. The temple is located 5 miles from Madurai in India. In the main shrine, apart from Muruga, deities of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Vinayaka and Goddess Durga are housed. The other ‘Arupadaiveedu’s dedicated for Lord Muruga are Thiruchendur (100 km south of Madurai), Palani (120 km west of Madurai), Swamimalai (150 km east of Madurai), Thiruthani (50 km from Chennai)and Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai).
Inscriptional evidences point out that this temple, being carved out of a hill, was most probably earlier a Jain cave, which was however later converted into a Hindu temple. Gajapathy, Minister of the Pandya King, was instrumental during the later part of the 8th Century, to complete this conversion.
Saint Gnana Sambanda, the famous Shaiva Saint of the 7th Century, has visited Thirupparamkunram and has sung Devaram on Lord Shiva. Probably, this Shiva temple is the present temple in the main road near the entrance to the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple. The structure is quite old and ancient.
Gnana Sambanda has met the three tamil chiefs, the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya in this temple and has blessed all the three of them.
One of the curious thing about this temple is that, the Gods Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, and this is a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. This is because Hinduism always held two distinct worshipping groups – Shaivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu). Outside the temple there is a beautiful pond where, according to Temple tradition, the fishes are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees. There is also a Vedic school adjacent to the banks of the temple pond.This temple was built by carving the hill.
In front of the Dwajasthambam or the Kodi Maram, one gets the magnificiently carved Nandi, Mayil and the Mouse ( the vehicle of Lord Ganesha). This is a specialty of this Murugan shrine.Going inside, one can see the sannidhis of various Hindu Gods and Hindu Goddesses. Of special mention is the sannidhi of Saneeswaran without the other eight Grahas. Climbing a flight of six steps called the “Shadashara Padigal”, one reaches the Ardha Mandapam. One gets to see the rock carvings of Mahisshasura Mardini, Karpaga Vinayagar, Andarabaranar and Uggirar.
There is also a rock carved sannidhi for Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Shiva in the form Sivalingam and Sathiyagireeshwarar sannidhis located here cannot miss the attention of the Muruga Bakthas visiting this Murugan shrine.
The Moolavar deity is also sculptured from a rock. Abhishekams for the presiding deity is done to the Murugan’s Vel only.
There are five Theerthams or divine water sources, in and around the temple. They are:
Saniyasi Kinaru( well)
Kasi Sunai and