The most famous temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya is Palani in the District of Madurai in South India. In the South, Lord Subrahmanya is deeply venerated and is held in great adoration cannot be a temple in the South where a separate place is not dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya.
Sage Agastya was praying at Kailas, to Lord Siva and Uma appear on the top of two separate hills created by him. One hill called Sivagiri and the other Saktigiri. They appeared in fulfillment his wish.
As Siva and Uma appeared on the two hills, Agastya worshipping them and wanted to take the two hills to Podikai Hill in the South, his abode. Lord Siva agreed to this request of Agastya. Agastya commissioned Idumban, his disciple, to bring them. To enable Idumban to carry them with ease, the Sage initiated him in certain mantras, acquainting him also with the route.
Idumban bore the hill slung across his shoulders in the form of a Kavadi, one on
either side using the Danda. Of Brahma as the rod and the snakes of the earth the ropes to tie thern, and turned towards
When Idumban was resting at Palani, Lord Subrahmanya was coming away from his parents, discomfited in a contest with his brother Ganapati. The legend says that Iswara, seated with Parvati, once called to Him His two sons Ganapati and Subrahmanya, and addressing them, said: "I -have a rare fruit in my possession and shall give it to that one of you, who goes round the world and returns to me first."
Subrahmanya, eager to win the prize, started on his peacock at once, which flew with its Divine Burden quicker than lightning, while Ganapati sat quiet until his brother disappeared out of sight and then, slowly rising, went round his parents and asked for the fruit, saying: "All the worlds that are, that were and that will be are within you and, by going round you, I have gone round all of them.
Therefore the fruit is mine." Parvati and Parameswara were delighted with the reply and gave him the precious fruit (pomegranate). Long after this was over, Subrahmanya came sweating, on his peacock, only to find that he had been outwitted.
The story should not be taken literally. It is the philosophy in it, which is essential. The lesson briefly stated is, that God being known, everything else is known and no study of the external world, however comprehensive that may be, can ever yield us the precious fruit of wisdom.
"Knowledge of course will come, but wisdom with its peace and bliss will linger on the shore." Ganapati outwitted his brother by sheer wisdom. Lord Subrahmanya was not very much satisfied with this explanation of his father and in anger came away to Tiruvannagudi, the place at the foot of the Sivagiri Hill. Then he came to Sivagiri Hill itself. When Balasubrahmanya got angry for not receiving the fruit and went into seclusion, Siva pacified him saying that the fruit was not separate from him (Subrahmanya) and he himself was the fruit [Pazham (Palam) -fruit; nee-you].
Lord Subrahmanya forsook all worldly garments and with kaupeenam. (Just a shred of cloth to cover his nakedness) and a baton staff in hand, he became a recluse. Finding the two hills nearby, he got on the top of one and rested. When Idumban wanted to lift his Kavadi to continue his journey, he could not lift it, as Subrahmanya had already got on the top of one and it was heavy. He investigated the reason and, finding an intruder on the top of the bigger hill, he challenged him to get down.
Subrahmanya would not Idumban raised his club to attack but Subrahmanya immediately killed him. Idumbi, finding her husband dead, looked at the top of the hill and, finding Lord Subrahmanya. There, she prayed to him to give back the life of her husband who had acted indiscreetly due to ignorance of the identity of the intruder.
Agastya was instantly found to be present on the scene. Agastya being the preceptor of Idumban imperceptibly protected him in the journey throughout, as is the custom with Hindu preceptors who are considered as God incarnate to their disciples. He also appealed to Subrahmanya for mercy. Idumban was restored to life and to Subrahmanya's grace.
Idumban prayed to Muruga that he might be allowed to stand ever at His portals as dwarapalas, and also that whoever offered vows with the Kavadi be blessed. Lord Muruga granted these boons to him. Since then pilgrims to Palani bring they’re offering on their shoulders in a Kavadi.
The hill is 450 feet in height, reached by a flight of 659 steps. The idol is composed of Navapashanam. (Nine different kinds of poisons) blended together in certain rare proportions, the resultant substance resembling wax. The mixing of the nine poisons was done by a Muni called Bhoga. Some say that the constituent of the image is an amalgam of nine minerals.
The body of the deity is not smooth and seems to have been either scraped out or corroded by age. It is said that some Siddha Vaidyas of the locality, who knew
of the miraculous curative and preservative properties, of the image, scraped the body of the deity in the unknown Apparently unnoticed and used the same for curing otherwise incurable diseases of men. The
touch of the body is believed to work cur, wonders.