Situated atop a hill, shouldering with mountains overlooking the village, Sri Balamurugan Temple in Thandikudi is devoted to Lord Murugan and it is believed that only from here that Lord Muruga cross jumped to reach Palani, while he was angered with his parents over the contest between the siblings, to who owns the Gnanapalam (wisdom fruit) by coming around the world. It is also believed that Lord Muruga stayed on this hill for some time, defeated the monster Idumban to convert him as his devotee before making Palani (one of the two hillocks which Idumban carried as Kavadi from Kailash) as one of his abode.
The Balamurugan Temple is said to be 2,000 years old, but the temple that exists today is built on the belief that Lord Muruga appeared in the dreams of Sri La Sri Pandrimalai Swamigal (a Siddhar or saint) and ordered him to build a temple for him on the Thandikudi hill, from where he cross jump to Palani. He is also believed to show the exact place – where the temple is built – by lighting some torch on the hill, and the people who went there were surprise to see a footprint (which is believed to be Lord Muruga’s) on the rock and image of peacock gripping a snake on the adjacent. Thais believed that Lord Muruga has gone to Palani only from Thandikudi and the benefit of visiting Palani is said to be fulfilled only if they appear in Balamurugan Temple.
Greatness of Sri Balamurugan Temple in Thandikudi
According to one story, Lord Muruga went to Palani only from Thandikudi. It is therefore believed that Palani darshan would be complete if the devotee begins his pilgrimage from here. It is also believed that Lord Muruga jumped every step (Thandi Kudhithal in Tamil). His Holiness Sri Pandrimalai Swamigal (originally Ramaswami by name) brought Lord back to Thandikudi as Balamuruga.
Substantiating this incident, a great light appeared in Thandikudi (the name is derived from the jumping journey of Lord Muruga from this place to Palani and back) hills for three days continuously. People went to that Jyoti spot and found the footprints of Lord Muruga indicating His coming back.
Nearby, a rock appears as a peacock (Lord Muruga’s Vahan) holding a snake. A perennial spring on a rock is the sacred theertha of the temple. The sand at a nearby place is offered as the sacred ash Prasad to the devotees.
History of Sri Balamurugan Temple in Thandikudi
After staying for a while in His 6th Padai Veedu – army camp – in Pazhamudhir Solai, a place of hilly environment, Lord Muruga came to Thandikudi. It is during this time, Idumban, a disciple of Sage Agasthya brought two hills – Shivagiri and Shakthigiri – to Palani hills. Lord Muruga chose one for him and reached the hill jumping. Thus the place was named Thandikudhi which later changed as Thandikudi.
As prayed by His Holiness Pandrimalai Swamigal, Lord Muruga directly appeared in the dreams of devotees and arranged supply of necessary materials for building the temple here including the idol of the presiding deity through a sculptor. It is also believed that the construction of the temple was directly supervised by Lord Muruga Himself. The temple has shrines for Navagrahas the nine planets, Sage Agasthya Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga, Lord Bhairava. Peacock and Idumban shrines are also in the temple. The consecration of the temple took place grandly in 1949. Marudanayagam and Ganapathy are presently the head priests of the temple.
The specialty of Sri Balamurugan Temple in Thandikudi
A deep footprint considered as that of Lord Muruga is seen on a stone nearby the temple as if pressed on the sand. Another rock nearby looks as if a peacock is holding a snake in its mouth. These are still visible even today. A spring is ever-flowing even during hot summer, revered as the sacred spring of the temple. There is also a sand space at a higher level of about 75 feet from the temple. This sand is offered as Prasad – sacred ash to the devotees.
Festivals of Sri Balamurugan Temple in Thandikudi
Panguni Uthiram in March-April; monthly Kruthika star days and Tirukarthikai in November-December are the festivals celebrated in the temple.