Friday, November 14, 2014

Divine Odhimalai

Swamimalai is well known for Lord Muruga explaining the meaning of Pranavam (Divine Rhythm/Supreme Being) to Lord Shiva, who Himself  is the Pranavam, thereby earning the name Thagappan Swamy (meaning, God/Guru for His Father).

A much less known hill that is related to the same incident is the Odhimalai. This is the place where Lord Muruga took up the creation process from Lord Brahma’s after imprisoning Lord Brahma. Lord Muruga did the creation by chanting the Veda hence the name Odhimalai - Odhi (Chant) Malai (Hill)

Odhimalai is about 45 kms from Coimbatore (via. Annur, Sirumugai route). We can drive up to the foothills and after that you will have to climb the stairs to reach the temple. Quite arduous climb of about 1800 steps but worth the experience Before, glimpsing at the Odhimalai experience, here are the legends associated with this divine hill.

The first legend, the one that is associated with the name of the hill. Brahma, once visited Kailash to see Lord Shiva, and when Murugan saw and wished him, but Brahma ignored and did not reciprocate. Murugan got irritated and when Brahma was on his way back, stopped him and mentioned that the Lord of creation should not such a diversion in his attention and asked him the meaning of the Pranavam.

Brahma could not answer and stood dumbfounded, and that provoked Murugan caught Brahma and imprisoned him and later Lord Shiva intervened to have Brahma released. That was when Shiva learned the meaning of Pranavam from his son as an obedient student at Swamimalai, thereby earning the name - Thagappan Swamy.

Meanwhile, before Lord Shiva intervened, Lord Murugan imprisoned Lord Brahma at a place called Irumbarai (meaning an Iron Room) and in order to prevent the imbalance that could be caused if creation is stopped as Brahma is imprisoned, he took charge of creation; climbed the hills of the Odhimalai and started the creation work. Lord Brahma used to have 5 heads but later he lost one because of his misdeed that he did, which is a separate story. So matching Lord Brahma, the deity at Odhimalai has 5 heads and 8 arms. Irumbarai is at the foothills.

The next legend is when Bhogar, one of the 18 Siddhars was on his way to Palani hills but when he heard about the Odhimalai deity, he worshipped the Lord and stayed at the place for quite sometime, and during his stay, he performed a lot of yaagams and poojas at the foothills and as a result that section of land called the Boodhikaadu (Viboothikaadu) was covered with a lot of Viboothi and turned white. Even today, that section of the land is still white, and people believe it is because of the yaagams of Bhogar.

When the time came, he got the instructions from Lord Murugan to start his journey to Palani. And to guide Bhogar, Lord Murugan took the form with one head and 4 arm and the remaining form with 5 heads and 8 arms stayed at Odhimalai. Lord Murugan guided Bhogar till a place, some say as Velayudhapalayam and some say as Kumarapalayam, and showed Bhogar the way to Palani Hills. There is a Murugan temple at the place where Lord Murugan stopped. Bhogar walked his way to Palani where he created the famous Navapaashana idols at Palani.

Now, let’s look at the pictures  of Odhimalai. Odhimalai is a very serene and beautiful hill, the arduous climb is worth the effort for enjoying its beauty. As we climb the hill we will be getting a beautiful view of the Bhavanisagar Dam. Halfway through, we meet Lord Ganesh in his own shrine, after which the climb becomes even steeper and more arduous. A few intermediary Mandapams have been built and the interesting thing is that all those constructions in the hill were built  using the bricks, sand and cement that were carried by the devotees from the foothills till the top. Even today, devotees who climb carry sand, bricks cement etc in small bags that could hold one or two bricks; or about a kg of sand or cement.

Now, the snaps of the divine hill


The Divine Hill that we are going to climb

Guys (Pradeep, Ravi, Suresh) with their share of sand bags
The ascent starts

View of the foot hills at the start of the climb

At the first mandapam

The steep stairs from the mandapam

View of the plains from about half the hill - Top left is Bhavanisagar

 Another view of the plains

 At another mandapam, start to feel exhausted

 The steep stairs, worth the effort

Bhavanisagar Dam is seen as we ascend

Pradeep continuing with the climb

The vegetation in the hills

Lord Vinayagar Shrine - half way at the hill

The stairs get steeper from Lord Vinayagar temple 

View of Bhavanisagar gets better as we climb

The steepness is very exhausting

The last few steps

Shrine before the main temple

The entrance to Odhimalai Temple

The entrance to Odhimalai Temple

Lord Odhimalai Andavar Shrine

 Lord Shiva Shrine

Odhimalai Andavar Shrine from behind

Goddess Parvathi Shrine

Waiting for Poojai to start

Scenic view of Bhavanisagar Dam and plains

Rain over the of Bhavanisagar Dam

View of the plains from the top

We were lucky to see a double rainbow

Poojai Starts

Odhimalai Andavar carried around the temple after the Poojai

The descent starts

Devotees offering at each step from the foothills

Awestruck at the painstaking effort, if climbing alone was arduous, imagine this

The sand bags have reached their destination

View of the foothills

View of the foothills while descending

 Nearing completion of the journey

The glorious hill that we climbed

It was the grace of Odhimalai Andavar for making it happen. It wasa  wonderful experience, go there once and get the blessings of Lord Murugan

More to come, until then...


Sridhar Chandrasekaran said...

You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey.

harshithaa said...

Dear Sir,
I saw you blog about Muttom Nagalingeshwarar temple.Actually where it is exactly located.Actually Iam a Travel agent based at Thudiyalur.I am doing pilgrimage tours.So i need to know the exact location.Can you help in this regard.My mail id is

Baranee said...

Hi Prabhu,
We have found your blog while searching for more information for my last visited places of respectful generation Tamil King of Kings (Who else, The Great Chola Kings).
I was very sad while reading your blog "Great Temples In Desolate Ruins"
and another blogger "Raja Raja Cholan I Pallipadai and Inscription Controverises".

You are doing such a wonderful job.
Hats off to you. Keep sharing.

Kind Regards,
Baranee from London

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Baranee!

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Sridhar Chandrasekaran!

macman said...

Please continue to blog, enjoying your posts. - Another Coimbatorean.

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks macman!