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அனைவருக்குமே இறைவன் அருள் என்றுமே உண்டு !
இறைவன் அருள் இருப்பதால் தான் இன்னமும் இந்த உலகம் இயங்கி கொண்டிருக்கிறது என்பதை யாரும் மறந்து விட வேண்டாம் !! 

Everyone has got God’s blessings, for eternity!
Only because of God’s blessings, the world is still functioning, and let no one forget it !!

are Mahaguru Agasthiyar’s words.

I have always thought one thing. We don’t plan or visit a temple. Its only because of that, the deity had decided to see you that day in that premise, you stand before Him / Her ! And it was proved once again to me in this temple visit.

I was just gazing through the calendar, and the following sunday happened to be a Sashti thithi + Krithikai star combination. Rare though. So I thought I would visit Murugan temple nearby. Friday evening, just a couple of minutes before leaving office, the name “Gnanamalai” struck my mind. I had been searching this temple for over 6 months now, and many inquiries had went down in vain. Only clue was, last month, in “Sakthi Vikatan” magazine, there was an open request for kurukkal post and it described the temple address. It was in Govindacheri, near Sholinghur, where my Appa is currently posted. So, I sat down once, to have a quick search in web. I did think, what will I get today, which I didn’t get in 6 months.

Googled “Gnanamalai”, and a site, http://jnanamalai.org/ which never came up in my previous searches came up. Had a contact mail ID there, which I mailed for info and left office. And the contact person, Ms. Bhavya Krishnan, was very quick and courteous, in responding. Within a day, She did give a couple of numbers, with which I was able to reach the temple. Before anything to write, I should say about the Gurukkal ayya. Aged 72 yrs, ayya is way calm, patient and helpful. And surprisingly, everyone who visited temple inquired about his wife. I didn’t have a chance to meet her, but Maami directed me to temple over phone. Truly, though I don’t have age to say this, God bless this couple !!!

Legend of the temple:

Tirupugazh was sung by Arunagirinathar, which everyone knows. But one of the two songs which he sung here, throws light on his personal life, which he didn’t reveal elsewhere. I should thank the website, http://www.kaumaram.com for these songs and meaning for some difficult Tamil words. My translation below.

Gnanamalai Tirupugazh – 1:

மனையவள் நகைக்க வூரி னனைவரு நகைக்க லோக
மகளிரு நகைக்க தாதை …… தமரோடும்
மனமது சலிப்ப நாய னுளமது சலிப்ப யாரும்
வசைமொழி பிதற்றி நாளு …… மடியேனை

With my Wife laughing at me,
every one else in town teasing,
Women around the world too laughing,
With Father and relations mind unhappy, and My own mind frustrated,
With everyone blaming and scolding me,

அனைவரு மிழிப்ப நாடு மனவிருள் மிகுத்து நாடி
னகமதை யெடுத்த சேம …… மிதுவோவென்
றடியனு நினைத்து நாளு முடலுயிர் விடுத்த போது
மணுகிமு னளித்த பாத …… மருள்வாயே

With my mind full of darkness,
Thinking was this for I took this birth,
When I decided to leave this body behind and die and jumped, (from a gopuram in Thiruvannamalai Shiva temple)
did You (Muruga) came near me and gave the “Padha deeksha”, Bless me the same here.

தனதன தனத்த தான எனமுர சொலிப்ப வீணை
தமருக மறைக்கு ழாமு …… மலைமோதத்
தடிநிக ரயிற்க டாவி யசுரர்க ளிறக்கு மாறு
சமரிடை விடுத்த சோதி …… முருகோனே

As “Dhana Dhana Dhanaththa Dhaana”, beats Murasu (an instrument),
Veena, Damarugam, and Vedas fill the air around, and keep flowing like tides,
You throw the Spear which glows like lightning, Killing demons in battle-field,
oh you, Muruga,

எனைமன முருக்கி யோக அநுபுதி யளித்த பாத
எழுதரிய பச்சை மேனி …… யுமைபாலா
இமையவர் துதிப்ப ஞான மலையுறை குறத்தி பாக
இலகிய சசிப்பெண் மேவு …… பெருமாளே !

You melted my mind, and blessed me with Yoga Anoobuthi, with thy feet,
Oh, son of Un-writable, Maragatha stone colored Uma !
With Devas praying, you sit in Gnanamalai, oh, you Valli’s husband,
Indrani’s (Lord Indra’s wife) daughter, Devasena’s favourite God!!!

Gnanamalai Tirupugazh – 2:

சூதுகொலை கார ராசைபண மாதர்
தூவையர்கள் சோகை …… முகநீலர்
சூலைவலி வாத மோடளைவர் பாவர்
தூமையர்கள் கோளர் ……

Cheaters, murderers, money liking prostitues,
Meat-eaters, Pale faced people (due to lack of blood) who are cunning,
Those who have Stomach pain, Epilepsy, Paralysis,
Sinners, Impure souls and ever-complaining people,

தெருவூடே சாதனைகள் பேசி வாருமென நாழி
தாழிவிலை கூறி …… தெனவோதி
சாயவெகு மாய தூளியுற வாக
தாடியிடு வோர்க …… ளுறவாமோ

To achieve things on street, talking to any extreme, and (women) inviting men,
Selling their mortal body for a Nazhi time (24 mins, ideally reference to prostitutes)
and captivating their minds,
Will having their relation be OK for me any time?

வேதமுநி வோர்கள் பாலகர்கள் மாதர்
வேதியர்கள் பூச …… லெனஏகி
வீறசுரர் பாறி வீழஅலை யேழு
வேலையள றாக …… விடும்வேலா

Munis expert in Vedas, kids, women, and brahmins,
were moved before the war did start,
and you destroyed the Upcoming demons, by throwing the spear,
which even evaporated the seven seas, and made them muddy!

நாதரிட மேவு மாதுசிவ காமி
நாரியபி ராமி …… யருள்பாலா
நாரணசு வாமி யீனுமக ளோடு
ஞானமலை மேவு …… பெருமாளே

Oh, You, son created by Sivagami,
who resides in Lord Shiva’s left-half of body,
also known as Parvathi , you sit in Gnanamalai with Valli, the daughter of Narayana self !!!

There is a wide belief that after Arunagirinathar sang the Thirupugazh here, Lord Muruga appeared before him and gave him His “Thirupadha” darshan. Even today, in the rock above the sanctum, there are foot-prints, which are ideally believed to be Lord Muruga’s foot prints.

Temple:
There is information on how this temple was searched and reconstructed in the website, which I had quoted earlier. So, I am not duplicating that information.

Adivaram Arch

Adivaram Arch

Vinayagar Shrine

Vinayagar Shrine

From the adivaram, where there is a Ganesa shrine, we need to climb close to 150 steps to reach the top.

Steps to Temple !

Steps to Temple !

Rocks near steps !

Rocks near steps !

I was really surprised, the steps, though it didn’t appear at first, were very steep. It was a bit tough to climb, with chest muscles pulling up. People who climbed at the same time felt the same though !!! But it was momentary. There was no discomfort. Once we climb the stairs, there is a mandapam to sit and take rest. Cool breeze was flowing.

Mandapam

Mandapam

There is a beautiful Dakshinamoorthy vigraham to pray there.

Dhakshinamoorthy Vigraham

Dhakshinamoorthy Vigraham

Then, there is a small pathway, which has a shed. And once you cross this, you end up in Murugan shrine.

Last Leg in climb

Last Leg in climb

By the time I reached there around 9.15 AM in morning, Gurukkal ayya was preparing to perform abhishegam in the Shiva shrine which is located above the Muruga’s shrine. So we went there.

Steps to Shiva Temple

Steps to Shiva Temple

What awaited me there, was a pleasant surprise !

Paalai Siddhar Jeeva Peedam:

Arunagirinathar requested God in Trichy, to bless him Yoga anubhuthi. Here in Gnanamalai, Muruga appeared before him, gave darshan of His feet, and blessed him Yoga anubhuthi. Having Arunagirinathar as his Guru, “Vetta veli siddhar” lived in Thiruvannamalai. People call him “Paalai Siddhar”. In this hill, which has very sacred Murugan’s foot mark, he performed Tapas for a long time. He treated people for blindness, deafness, infertility, and preached “Gnanam” for a long time here. He attained Siddhi on a Karthigai month Moola natchatram day. His Jeeva peedam is in the Shiva shrine above the Murugan shrine, to which ayya went for performing Abhishegam.

Paalai Siddhar Jeeva Peedam

Paalai Siddhar Jeeva Peedam

Lord Shiva here in this peedam is called “Gnana Gireeshwarar”.

GnanGireeshwarar on top of  Jeeva Peedam.

GnanGireeshwarar on top of Jeeva Peedam.

This shrine also houses Godess “Gnana Poongothai”, Vinayagar, Murugan and Bhairavar. Outside this sanctum, we have Navagraha shrine and Chandikeswarar.

Gnanapoongothai Ambal

Gnanapoongothai Ambal

Bhairavar

Bhairavar

There is a beautiful mandapam (which has been built now) behind the Shiva shrine, where the Siddha has done Tapas. People can perform “Anga-pradhakshanam” here. Here is where, the most sacred foot prints of Lord Muruga is present.

Murugan's foot pprint

Murugan’s foot pprint

Murugan Footprints

Murugan Footprints

Another print in Mandapam

Another print in Mandapam

After Abhishegam was done in this shrine, we came back to Murugan’s temple. In the koshtam, there is a beautiful vigraham of Murugan having Valli in his lap, and Arunagirinathar praying him. Milk abhishegam was done there, and we went to Murugan’s sanctum.

Murugan, Valli and Arunagirinathar

Murugan, Valli and Arunagirinathar

Murugan, with both his consorts Valli and Devasena has a divine beauty. What else, “Murugu” in Tamil itself means beauty.Abhishegam was done, and a person was very kind to allow me photograph the Moolavar !!! I was surprised though, since it is a general practice, not to allow. Beauty of Muruga, for your eyes 🙂

Gnanapandidha Swamy with his consorts Valli and Devasena !!!

Gnanapandidha Swamy with his consorts Valli and Devasena !!!

In the first pillar outside sannidhi, there is Paalai Sidhar !

Paalai Sidhdhar

Paalai Sidhdhar

After the peaceful Abhisegam darshan, I went around the temple, took some snaps and came out, not before promising Ayya, that I will return to the temple soon.

Mayil Vahanam

Mayil Vahanam

Dwajasthambam

Dwajasthambam

Gopuram

Gopuram

Rocks present in temple surroundings

Rocks present in temple surroundings

How to reach:

Apologies, I didn’t note down the distance. Was my mistake. Ideally, the temple is located in Kaveripakkam – Sholinghur road. So, you can reach it in two different ways:

1) Chennai – Thiruvallur – Thiruttani – R.K.Pet – Sholinghur – Gnanamalai In case you take this road, take right, after TVS brakes in Sholinghur, and ask for Banavaram road. Close to a maximum 15 kms from this place. You need to look for Mettumangalam and Pallamangalam villages. Once you reach Pallamangalam, you will find temple arch towards your right. 2 kms from the main road is the adivaram.

2) Chennai – Kanchipuram – Kaveripakkam in National Highway. Once you reach Kaveripakkam, to your rght-hand side, you will find the police station opposite to Kaveripakkam bus stop. Take the adjoining right to police station and proceed straight, till you find the temple arch to your left.

Contact:

Gurukkal Ayya’s numer: +91-94421-40830

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