Significance: This is one of
the most important Murugan shrines in Tamilnadu, and is visited by thousands of pilgrims
year round, especially on Krittikai days each month. Arunagirinathar's
Tiruppugazh and Arunachalakkavirayar's
Marudachalakkadavul Pillaittamizh speak of the glory of this shrine.
This simple hill temple on the Marudamalai hill 10 km away
from Coimbatore is one of the Murugan hill temples in this region associated with the
mystic Tamil Siddhars. Sivanmalai is associated
with Sivavakkiyar, Chennimalai
with Pinnakku Siddhar, Palani
with Bhoga Siddhar and Marudamalai with Pambatti Siddhar.
Legend has it that Pambatti Siddhar, was originally a
snake charmer and was initiated into the world of philosophy by a
Siddhar by name Sattai munivar. Pambatti Siddhar is said to have performed several
miracles, and written extensively on
herbal medicine. His songs are addressed to snakes.
Antiquity: This temple is over 800 years old, as it has been referred to
in inscriptions in the Tirumuruganpoondy temple
near Avinashi. Tirumuruganpoondy is a Tevara
Paadal Petra Stalam and is at least 1200 years old.
Marudamalai is also referred to in the stalapuranam of the
Perur temple near Coimbatore. Marudamalai is considered to be one of the 5 hills
associated with Perur as mentioned in its stalapuranam. Another of these hills is Velliyangiri,
about 40 km west of Coimbatore, in the western ghats. Velliangiri is considered to be a
sacred hill, and pilgrims trek to the top of the hill from Maha Shivaratri to the
Agninakshatram period in May. The other hills associated with Perur are
Neeli malai or Uma Devi malai, Ayyaasaami malai
or Bhrama malai and Perumaal mudi or Vishnu malai.
The Temple: This small temple is built on the Marudamalai hill at a
height of 600 feet. The Dhandayutapani form of Murugan is enshrined in the sanctum and
worshipped. Also on the hill are the cave and spring associated with Pambatti Siddhar.
Awareness of Marudamalai has been enhanced through
feature films produced by Chinnappa Devar in the 1970s.