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Almost six months back, I had got a mail forward, which was in relevance to a Murugan temple in Tamil Nadu. Before I saw that mail, I had never heard of that temple in life, though I have visited 4 out of 6 padai veedus.

I should say, Mahaguru Agasthiar in his Nadi has shown an infinitesimally small part of his Tamil prowess in those “Theenjuvai Tamizh” lyrics! I read that song again and again and again seeing the depth and beauty of Tamil used.

Before getting into that, heart-felt “Thanks !” to Salem Mr.Kumar (actually both of us never knew each other :)), who had patiently typed this and mailed in groups, without whose effort, no one would have ever come across these beautiful verses, or myself visiting this “Out of the League” temple!!!

The song and its translation, are a treat for you !!!

MahaGuru Agasthiyar Special:

Preface:

இறையருளால் இயம்புகின்றோம் இத்தருணம்,இறை வணங்கி அறம் தொடர என்றென்றும் நலமாம்.

இடைவிடா பிரார்த்தனைகள் நலத்தை சேர்க்கும்.இதை உணர்ந்து வாழ என்றென்றும் சாந்தியோடு மகிழ்வு கிட்டும்.

By the Grace of God, shall we tell now ! For anyone, by praying Lord and continuing charity, goodness will prevail forever!

Continuous prayers will add good happenings. Living life by realizing this, will give peace and happiness !!

Othimalai Mahathmiyam:

சங்கரனுக்கு,சரவணகுகன் ஓதிய கிரி!

சங்கடப்பட்ட பல்மாந்தர்கள் தலைவிதி மாறிய கிரி!!

சபலங்கள்,சலனங்கள் விட்டு ஓடிடும் கிரி!

சிறப்பில்லா முன்வினை ஊழ்பயன் சிறப்பாக மாற்றித் தரும் கிரி!!

The hill, where Shankara was preached by Saravana Guha !

The hill, where fate of many who suffered in life, has changed !!

The hill, where unwarranted desires and unwanted disturbances, run away from a person !

The hill, where even bad karma by virtue of previous births, gets good !!

சிந்தனையில் அணுவளவும் கட்டமில்லா தன்மையை நல்கிடும் கிரி!

சிறப்போ,சிறப்பில்லையோ,பேதம் பார்க்கா வாழ்க்கையை ஏற்க வைக்கும் கிரி!!

சப்த கன்னியர்கள்,அன்னையோடு,அன்னை அருளால் அருளும் கிரி!!!

The hill, which removes even petty sufferings from thinking of mind!

Good or bad, The hill, which makes you to accept life as such, without seeing differences !!

The hill, where Saptha Kannis, together with Mother, by Mother’s grace, bless all!!!

செப்புங்கால்,

To say so,

பஞ்சமும் அடங்க,பஞ்சவதனத்தோன் அருளும் கிரி!

The hill, where the Lord of five faces, blesses you to control your five senses !

சிறப்பாக எத்தனை குன்றுகள் இளையவன் அருளால் இருந்திட்டாலும்,

குன்றுக்கெல்லாம் உயர் குன்றாய் இன்றும் சான்றாய் அருளும் கிரி!

By the Grace of younger Lord, though there are many Hillocks,
stands this, as biggest of all of them, even today as proof, and blesses !

அன்னையோடு,ஐயன் அமர்ந்து அன்றும்,இன்றும்,என்றும் அருளும் கிரி!

The hill, where with Mother, sits Father, and blesses forever !

நீறு வேறு,நாமம் வேறு என்று அறியாமையால் எண்ணும் மாந்தனுக்கு,

நீறு பூத்த அக்னிபோல் நீரோடு,நாமமும் கலந்து வேங்கடகிரியாய் அருளும் கிரி

For a person, who, due to ignorance, thinks Shaivism (Shiva) and Vaishnavism (Vishnu) are different,
The Hill, where, like simmering fire in burnt ash, with Shiva, stands Vishnu, and blesses like VenkataGiri !!!

கட்டிய கணவன் காதில் ரகசியமாய் மனையாள் ஓதினாலும்,

If, wife whispers something ill in her husband’s ears,

கட்டிய மனைவி ஒதுகிறாளே என்று தாய் ஓதினாலும்,

or seeing this, if mother preaches her son,

உபயத்தையும் தாண்டி பிள்ளைகளுக்கு எதை ஓதினாலும்,

or leaving behind these two, whatever is preached to children,

மாந்த குரு சிஷ்யனுக்கு ஓதினாலும்,

or when a human guru preaches his disciple,

அனைத்திலும் பேதமுண்டு.சுயநல நோக்குண்டு.

they all have differences, and have a selfish vision.

பேதமில்லா தாண்டிய நிலையில்,

The Hill, where, Crossing all these differences,

வேதமெல்லாம் ஓர் உருவாக,

All Vedas come together in a single form,

ஓம்கார நாத வெள்ளம் ரூபமாக,

in the flooding sea of “Om” (Pranava),

நேத்திரத்தில் கருணை வெள்ளம் பிரவாகமெடுக்க,

With the eyes having a Gracious flood,

அறுவதனமும் ஐவதனமாகி,

and with Six faces becoming five,

எழு பிறப்பும் எட்டென விரட்டி,

Driving away innumerable future births,

உபயவினையும் இல்லாது ஒழித்து,

Destroying all karmas, both good and bad,

சூல நேத்திரத்தோன் திரு மைந்தன்,

The Honored son of the Three-eyed Lord,

சதுரத்தை நவரசமாய் பிழிந்தெடுத்து,

makes nava-rasa from the four Vedas,

அதனையும் தாண்டி பல்வேறு நுட்பத்தை பேதமில்லா ஓதி,

on top of this, adding many other intricacies,

preaches to all without difference,

ஒருமுகமாய்,திருமுகமாய்,ஒரு நினைவாய் மாந்தன் வாழ அருளும் கிரி.

giving a single definition, a divine notion,
which blesses a man live with a single thought.

ஞானத்தை நல்கும் கிரி!

அஞ்ஞானத்தை அடியோடு அழிக்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which gives Bliss!

The hill, which completely destroys ignorance!!

பேதத்தை நீக்கும் கிரி!

வேதத்தை உணர்த்தும் கிரி!!

The hill, which removes differences!

The hill, which makes a man realize Vedas!!

சீரற்ற குணங்களை சீராக்கும் கிரி!

நிலைத்த செல்வத்தை நல்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which normalizes unwanted thoughts!

The hill, which blesses indestructible riches (its punya, not money 🙂 ) !!

வாழ்வின் தடைகளை நீக்கும் கிரி!

எதிர்பார்த்த விடைகளை நல்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which removes obstacles in life!

The hill, which gives expected answers!!

கர்ம நிலைகளை மாற்றும் கிரி!

அக உளைச்சல் ஒழிக்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which changes karmic status!

The hill, which destroys mental disturbances!!

பேதம் காட்டா வேத கிரி!

ஓம் எனும் பிரணவம் ஒலிக்கும் நாத கிரி!!

The hill, which doesn’t differentiate between people, and is a Vedic structure!

The hill, where the Pranava nadha is ever sounding!!

இளையவன் திருவடி பாதம் படிந்த கிரி!

அன்னை நிரந்தரமாய் அருளும் கிரி!!

The hill, where younger Lord’s (Muruga) feet is inscribed !

The hill, where Mother permanently blesses all!!

ஐயனோடு இன்று அனைவரும் இருக்கும் கிரி!

ஓதும் கிரி அது ஓதிய கிரி!!

பேதம் தவிர்த்து பிரணவநாதம் கலந்து ஒலிக்கும் கிரி!!!

The hill, where with Father, everyone else is present today !

The preaching hills, where it was preached !!

The hill, where, leaving out all differences, Pranava nadham sounds for ALL !!!

Reading this, I was completely overwhelmed. After lots of trials, and lots of prayers to Venkata Subramaniar, who stands very tall near my home in Valasaravakkam, Chennai, I visited this temple recently. This post, is, as usual, my experiences and other related information.

Climbing the temple:

Othimalai, as Agasthiyar peruman mentions, is very tall. 1800 steps are there to reach the temple. Initial 900 steps are easy to climb. To mention, there are mandapams built every 100 – 150 steps, to take rest. And there is one getting constructed in between.

Fine. Once we get down in Othimalai bus-stop, it is a 10 mins normal walk to the adivaaram. We get to see Vinayagar peruman sitting there with Naagars, before we climb. I prayed and started the journey, and it was 10.00 AM. It was scorching heat by then, and I already felt slightly tired, since I had decided to go without break-fast, which was my first mistake. Do eat something before you start.

Somehow, with all my tiredness, reached 900 steps around 10.45. There is a separate temple for Vinayaga again, and He is with 2 Naga deivams. I sat down for a 10 mins break, took adequate breathings and continued my journey upwards.

After some steps, beneath a tree, there is a Naga statue installed, in the left side. Prayed there and continued the climbing. After some 50 odd steps, there was another mandapam, with a Shiva lingam in the right side. So, again took a chance to sit 🙂

Two things worth mentioning :
One, there was not a single soul walking with me in that heat, to even chit-chat. Pity, not even a monkey 😦
Second, though you feel Sun stripping all water in your body, somehow, there was a very cool breeze wherever I stopped to rest. In sathuragiri, if you walk in sun, be sure, you will not have any cool breeze. Two extreme cases, which made me somewhat surprised.

After some steps, came across last mandapam in the ascent. I was sure to have come up more than 70%. I was a bit worried also, since from the floor level, I had seen that there was a significant part to climb after that, without any mandapam. And the route was curvy in nature.

I prayed Siddhar Bogar for a second there, to help me out, due to his association with Othimalai. I didn’t know how much was remaining to climb, and temple was not in sight. It was almost 11. Suddenly a person came to that mandapam, and told me that there are around 500 steps to go, and I had covered 75% of the climb. Later I came to know that he was a mason there, and his experiences were way ahead, and when I left the hill in the evening, he was way taller than he was 🙂

Once I started my ascent, I had a sense of shadow over me. Surprised, I saw up. There was a small black cloud, which was covering the Sun on the steps. There was a cool breeze which started flowing and I felt a renewed energy to climb up. Also, I should say, the sky was clear, very less white clouds were there, and all of them were moving in a rapid pace. So, without further thinking, I started walking faster, and I think I had covered some 300 steps within next 5-6 mins. All the time, the cloud was there!!!

I rested for a second, and The cloud moved away, and Sun was again there with fury, and it was glaring heavily, as the steps are painted white. I slowly turned right, and there was the temple, visible from the place where I was.

Did Bogar shield me till I saw the temple, just for a second of prayer towards him??? I didn’t understand. There were some 200 steps after that, which I covered in the happiness of seeing the temple itself.

Before some last 20 steps, you will have a Vinayaga under a tree again. Thanked him for the lonely climb, and entered the temple. Once you enter, you have Godess Parameshwari, who stands as the Kuladeivam for the tribal people there.

Another 10 steps, we have the Idumbar- Kadambar sannidhi. You have to walk another 5 steps, and you reach the main temple premises.

Temple Premises:

First, you have Kasi Viswanathar in a separate shrine.

IMG_0495

Viswanathar

Having a pradakshina, we get to see Visalakshi ambal in another small shrine.

Visalakshi

Visalakshi

Praying both Ammai and Appan, I reached the main temple, where the Lord, who preached Pranava sits, rather stands 🙂

Othiappar Temple !

Othiappar Temple !

BEAUTY !!! BEAUTY !!! “Murugu” means beauty in Tamil is rather proved again here. Seeing His majesty, I forgot totally the list of prayers I had in mind 🙂 It was 11.45 and Shri Karthi Iyer (henceforth mentioned as Gurukkal ayya in this post. Don’t assume him as an elderly person with the name 🙂 He is in 30s, very friendly and I should say, his mantra pronounciation was very spashtam and divine.) was preparing for an Abhishegam. So sat down in the sannidhi for some time, absorbing his divine beauty.

By this time, Gurukkal ayya had completed Milk abhishegam for Viswanathar. So I started my walk with him, had darshan of abhishegam of Visalakshi. We climbed some 15 steps down to reach Naagar sannidhi, and later RajaRajeswari with Saptha kannis. Through out, Gurukkal ayya was explaining the sanithyam of this temple.

Naagar Sannidhi, on top of the hill.

Naagar Sannidhi, on top of the hill.

RajaRajeswari and Saptha kannis, First half

RajaRajeswari and Saptha kannis, First half

Rajarajeswari and Saptha kannis, second half

Rajarajeswari and Saptha kannis, second half

We went some steps and ended in the same Vinayaga + Naagar sannidhi, 20 steps below the entrance. After the abhishegam there, again we went through Parameswari, Idumbar and Kadambar. By this time, it was almost 1 PM.

Entering the main temple, abhishegam was done for Vinayaga, Naagars, and a small lingam which is present just outside Garbagraha.

Vinayagar, inside main temple !

Vinayagar, inside main temple !

We entered the Othimalai Andavar sannidhi and sat down for the Abhishegam of the Lord.  After preparations, Gurukkal ayya started the Abhishegam, and my God, fitting voice to chant mantras amidst the bells, and the whole environment was divine.

Amidst Veda mantras, Milk, panchamrutha and other abhishegams followed.

Othiappar, for your eyes !!!

OTHIMALAI ANDAVAR !

OTHIMALAI ANDAVAR !

Mayil-vahanam

Mayil-vahanam

Asking a Boon – Varam kettal:

Once the abhishegam, alangaram and archana for all were complete, Muruga was all beautiful, thus denying a chance to anyone to pray ! So, there is a method called “Varam ketal”, where Gurukkal ayya keeps flowers on the kireedam of Lord, and asks the person to prostrate before Him, and pray his needs.

1) If it is marriage, child related troubles, family oriented, then if the flowers fall to Right side of the Lord, it will succeed.
2) Any court related matters should have the flowers falling to the left to succeed.
3) In case the flowers don’t fall down, its status-quo, or, will take time to succeed.

Many people asked and I was really surprised, when for an aged person, the flowers fell like a shower from the head of Muruga, indicating the boon has been granted !!! Even Gurukkal ayya was very visibly happy. For some, there were no answers, and for some, the answer was Negative. I could see people cry, realizing, it will never happen. Later Gurukkal ayya narrated an incident, where a rural boy from Irumbarai, a nearby village, came here, asked for a boon to do Aeronautical Engineering, got it, and passed with Gold medal in his University !!!

Legend of Othiappar, as told by Shri Karthik Iyer:

1) Muruga stands with 5 faces and 8 hands and the Peacock has its face towards Lord’s left leg.
2) Five faces are Eesahanyam, Thatpurusham, Aghoram, Vamadevam, and Sathyojadham.
3) In case, there was no peacock in the vighraham, we can say, this is Lord Shiva himself!
4) Peacock is towards Lord’s left, which means, its Indra-mayil (Lord Indra as vahanam). Generally, in most of the temples, Peacock faces Muruga’s Right, which means they have come after Soora Samharam. This establishes this sthalam before Soora vadham, and in timeframe, before Tiruchendhur.
5) Even today, Gurukkal stands on behalf of Indra and does pooja.
6) Siddhar Bogar has done an Yagna in the North-East corner (Eesanya baagam) of this hill and sought permission from Muruga to do the Nava paashana vigraham. Muruga gave him his blessings here, and from here Bogar went to Palani, to create and install the vigraham. The sand in this place is white, compared to red ones surrounding it. During festival times, this is given as prasadham to devotees, who come up the hill.

Yaaga bhoomi of Maha Siddhar Boghar !!! White sand is in the middle.

Yaaga bhoomi of Maha Siddhar Boghar !!! White sand is in the middle.

7) Just like we send-off our guests, Lord Muruga went to Kumarapalayam, with Bogar, to bid farewell. He went with a single face and four hands. This is often misunderstood as, Muruga went to show way to Palani, since Bogar didn’t know it.
8) Bogar created a Navapashana idol in Palani, made pradhishta of it facing west, and created his Jeeva samadhi in Palani hills, close to Muruga’s abode.
9) In the whole world, only this shrine has Muruga with 5 faces and 8 hands. This is not described in any of the Vedha, Aagama and Siddha sashtras.
10) Gurukkal Ayya’s periyappa, has visited this shrine, with his Great-grandfather when he was just 4 years old. Then, it was a cave in which Muruga was present, and to gaurd this cave, there was a Cheetah, and a Peacock, which used to lie on its top.
11) There were 5 different streams there, and they will be ever flowing. Today, I didn’t see even one.
12) In the olden days, there was a bell made of mud, and if it is rung during pooja, it used to create more sound than conventional bells !!!
13) There is no separate peedam for Lord Muruga. The whole hill is His peedam, since he stands directly on the hill here. So when you keep your legs on the first step, ideally you are stepping on Muruga Himself !
14) Since Muruga preached the meaning of Pranava to Shiva, this came to be known as “Othimalai”
15) Mahaguru Agasthiyar has termed this hill as “Gnanamalai” in his Nadi.
16) Since puranas say Muruga preached Shiva, meaning of Pranava, in his younger days, before his Thirukalyanam, we can see Othimalai as “Moolasthanam” of Murugan.
17) This has not been sung by Naalvar and Arunagirinathar. Arunagirinathar has sanctified this as “Oothimalai” and due to affinity with these hills, the song is sung here in pooja time with pronounciation of Othimalai.
18) Kirupananda vaariyar swamigal, probably the greatest known Muruga bakhtha in recent times, never got a chance to visit this hill.
19) One bakhtha has climbed this hill for 47 days continuously, bit couldn’t see the Lord on various reasons. He was allowed inside only on the 48th day of his climb. Quite shocking !
20) Whatever be your prayers here, if they are just, Muruga will bless you with them. Whatever be the obstacles, if he kicks them out, they will run down to Pathala loka !!!

Agasthiyar and Arunagirinathar:

After the pooja and abhishegam, I had decided to leave, when Gurukkal Ayya told, having prayed Othiappar, pray these two people also, and moved two vigrahas, from behind the wall. I asked, “Is this Bogar?”. The reply came, “No, Agasthiyar! and the other one is Arunagirinathar !!” Seems, a devotee came with these two statues and asked boon to place them in different places in the hill and Muruga rejected it. Finally when they asked for Sanctum sanctorum, Muruga approved it with shower of flowers. Natural, I thought. When the Guru is here, where else the sishyas will be 🙂

Hospitality:

Completely worth mentioning was the attitude and real good spirit of the Gurukkal. Let it be taking names of all the crowd for archana patiently, even when it was around 4.30, doing varam-ketal for all who asked for it, without bothering the time, in between scolding Muruga for not answering people :), consoling people who didn’t get answers, and what not? After asking me if I had break-fast, he forced me have lunch with him, even at 6.30 in evening and allowed me to climb down only after that. When I was afraid if I could get some transportation back, he simply said, “No one can leave Othimalai without food ! please wait !!” And I was flattered, when after everyone left, he came to me asking “Palani anna, were you satisfied with the pooja and abhishegam???”. I saw, he asked almost everyone, whether they were satisfied with the pooja. Too humble, I should say.

And against my thoughts of transportation, an AC sedan came to me, offered a lift to Puliampatti, and the father-daughter duo were way courteous to drop me in the bus-stand, though they had to ride an extra mile for that. And the third person who was with them, and offered me lift, was none other than Dharmakartha of the temple !!!

How to Reach, and where to stay:

In case you are closer to Coimbatore, Take Coimbatore – Annur – Othimalai.

In case you travel from Chennai / Bangalore:
First take a bus to Sathyamangalam. KPN from Chennai, ABTx from Bangalore. Just outside Sathy bus stand, there is a lodge by name PV lodge. Very decent for refreshing yourself and starting. I didn’t have breakfast, so couldn’t refer a hotel. Take a PP bus from Sathy to Puliampatti (all coimbatore buses go here). Around 8.30 in the morning, you will have a minibus to Othimalai. I took this, and realized it as a mistake, since it reached Othimalai village by 9.45 AM. Precious morning time was lost there, else I would have climbed with more energy. Take an auto from Puliampatti bus stand, it should help you a lot.

Contact:

Karthi Iyer : 0-98430-44344

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