“In the Temple we can find peace. The blessings of the temple are priceless”Thomas S. Monson
Lord Muruga, famously known as God of Hills is the ruling deity of Tamil Nadu, South India. God of war is another name that Lord Murugan is called by and he acquires a position of immense significance amongst Tamil Hindus. The Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple is well known among devotees as well as other tourists who come to admire the rare Kurinji flowers. These flowers, that bloom once every 12 years, are considered nothing short of a treasured jewel! The architectural style of the Kurinji temple beautifully incorporates Dravidian elements. Located about 3 km away from the star-shaped Kodai Lake, the shrine attracts countless visitors. One can even take in views of the Vagai Dam and Palani from here.
The Kurinji temple is not to be mistaken for just another place of worship as it beholds a rich illustrious history. The interesting story behind this temple is that it was built by an Australian woman– Lady Leelavathi Ramanathan who was married to PonnambalamRamanatham, the Solicitor General of Ceylon. She was so fascinated and moved by Hindu scriptures that she chose to convert to Hinduism and adopt the culture. Later, following the demise of Lady Ramanathan’s husband, she built this temple in 1936 to honour his memory.
In addition to the idol of Lord Muruga, who is the primary deity here, there are idols of nine planet gods. The intricate carvings and beautiful paintings found throughout the temple are breathtaking and will leave you speechless. The Tamil words Kurinji and Andavar denote ‘hill region’ and ‘God,’ respectively. As a result, the name itself symbolizes a relationship between the hill and the hill’s God.
The temple was named after the famed Kurinji flowers that blanket the hills of Kodaikanal in purple and blue. These flowers are tied to the name of the ‘Nilgiri Hills’. In a rare phenomenon, Kurinji flowers only bloom once in 12 years. Strobilanthes Kunthiana is the scientific name possessed by them and is locally called ‘Neelakurinji’.
Kurinji flowers can be found in roughly 33 different types in the Ooty mountain ranges. It is a natural phenomenon, and neither a scientist nor a naturalist has been able to come to any conclusions on how the Kurinji flowers stick to the time intervals of 3, 7, 12, 17, and 36 years for flowering, one of the many mysteries of the mother earth still unsolved!
Kurinji flowers can be found in abundance in the Shola Forests of the Western Ghats of South India. They can be witnessed in their glory covering the mountains of Kodaikanal, South India’s Princess of Hills. Tourists, nature enthusiasts, and photographers flock to Kodaikanal during the flowering season to observe and enjoy the exotic beauty of the Kurinji flowers.
They last bloomed in 2018 and are expected to bloom again in 2030 now.
After a pleasant visit to the Kurinji Temple, make sure you take some time out to explore another significant shrine, the Palani Murugan Temple. One of Murugan’s Six Abodes is the Palani Arulmigu Shri Dhandayuthapani shrine. Palani is a popular tourist destination in South India, known for the Palani Murugan Temple, which was built thousands of years ago and is dedicated to the Hindu war God Kartikeya (Lord Murugan).
With the lush Western Ghats in the background and lovely lakes in its foothills, it is a picturesque location. Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit Palani. Enchanting hills, old temples, appealing waterfalls, magnificent lakes, deep green forests, and a spectacular animal sanctuary all draw a large number of people.
From the Palani Murugan, you can see the entire Palani city’s breathtaking splendour. The Palani Murugan Temple holds immense spiritual significance because the idol is said to be fashioned from a concoction of nine poisons (Navapashanam) with healing properties.
Location: Kurinji Andavar Temple Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, 624101, India
Entrance Fee: No fee
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm (Monday to Sunday)
Best Time to Visit: 11 am
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