Swamimalai Temple

Sri Swaminathaswamy Temple

Sri Swaminathaswamy temple, is Swamimalai, is the fourth of the six padaiveedu (abodes) of Lord Subramanya.  It is built on a hillock like structure.  Sri Murugan of Subramanya is worshipped here as Sri Swaminathaswamy. The story goes that Lord Subramanya asked Brahma the meaning of the primordial Pranava (Om) mantra.  On Brahma feigning ignorance, Subramanya imprisoned him.  When Lord Shiva sought to intervene, Sri Subramanya asked Him the same question.  Shiva also feigned ignorance, and requested him to elucidate the meaning of the mantra.  Sri Subramanya then stipulated that He would expound on the mantra, only if He (Shiva) accepted Him (Subramanya) as His guru.  Shiva agreed.  Subramanya, the teacher, then came to be known as Swaminatha, and the sylvan village, where he preached, as Swamimalai.

The artificial hillock is about 60 feet (18 m), high and the steps numbering 60 lead ot the sanctum.  The number 60 supposedly refers to the Hindu cycle of 60 years.  Sri Swaminathaswamy, the presiding deity, is a six-foot (1.8m) tall, majestic, granite idol.  On a lower level, n the ground floor, are shrines dedicated to Lord Sundareswar (Shiva) and His consort, Goddess Meenakshi.  Tirumurukatrupadai of Saint Nakkeerar (Third century BCE) contains hymns in praise of Sri Swaminathaswamy. 

The view of the main entrance is marred by encroachments, like in most other popular temples.  In front of the modest-sized  Rajagopuram are images of Lord Swaminatha, flanked by those of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

How to get there:

Swamimalai is just 5km from the temple -town of Kumbakonam, on the Kumbakonam-Thanjavur highway.  It is 32km from Thanjavur.  Buses connect the place with all important towns in the state. Swamimalai is on the Mayiladuthurai-Thanjavur-Trichy railway line.  It is mainly serviced by passenger trains.  Trichy 81km is the nearest airport.

Accommodation:

The Devasthanam runs guest houses and cottages. Or, you could stay in Kumbakonam.

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