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The History Behind Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple

“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. 

Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple

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 Kurinjis

The History Behind Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple Screenshot 2022 04 23 at 1.45.07 PM
Image captured by nemo_philes

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.

Nearby Attractions

  • Silver Cascade Falls – Birthed by the overflow from the man-made Kodai Lake, these falls are the ideal place to stop on a long road trip. Feel free to dive into the waters if the temperature’s suitable!
  • Sacred Heart Church – The Sacred Heart Church is one of Kodaikanal’s holiest sites. It is a parish church of the Roman Catholic faith. People travel from all over to offer their prayers. The church’s lovely architecture makes it stand out.
  • Kodai Lake – The views of the lake are beautiful. If you want to rent a pedal boat, you won’t have to wait long. Pony riding and cycling are available for a fee near the entrance to the boathouse.
  • Wax Museum – There is a cost to enter, and once inside, you can witness wax statues of Krishna-Radha, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sharda Devi, St Alphonsa, St Francis Xavier, and other religious figures.

Palani Murugan

The History Behind Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple Screenshot 2022 04 23 at 1.47.29 PM
Image by palani_v2.o

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.

Nearby Attractions

  • Palani Hills –  Mythology has it that Lord Murugan himself created this location. Lord Muruga was enraged because Lord Shiva had refused to give the auspicious mango fruit presented by sage Narada. As a result, he proceeded to this region and established a territory for himself- The Palani Hills
  • Varathamanathi Dam – If you’re in search of a place to relax on the outskirts of the town, this is the spot. The dam’s not crowded and offers an amazing view of the Palani Hills. 
  • Thirumoorthy Hills & Waterfall – It is one of the most popular spots to visit near Pollachi and is part of the Anamalai range in the Western Ghats. Thirumoorthy Temple is located at the foot of the hills, bordered on one side by a seasonal stream.

Traveller’s Guide

The History Behind Kurinji Andavar Murugan Temple jly un H5H6Z56c k unsplash

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

  • Summer is a great time to visit the Kurinji Hindu Temple as you can enjoy a clear view due to the lack of fog. After a long day of exploring Kodaikanal, make a stop at this temple to breathe in peace and delight in the divine aura that this place radiates.  
  • To avoid crowds, visit the temple in the morning. 
  • There might be extra parking charges. 
  • After viewing the temple, don’t forget to see the Kurinji flower and tour Kodai Lake.
  • Pastry Corner, Muncheez, Cafe Cariappa, Question Mark and Kodai Sunshine Hotel are some delectable nearby restaurants and food spots.

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