Arulmigu Swaminatha Swami Temple of Karthikeya / Muruga State Highway No.22, Kumbakonam, Swamimalai-612302

2nd among Aru Padai Veedu (Sacred Shrines of Lord Murugan). It is considered that Lord Muruga taught Pranava Mandiram to Lord Shiva

Temple Etiquette

  • Footwear not allowed inside

    Footwear not allowed inside
    Footwear to be left outside the temple. In summer be careful of the hot paving stones.

  • Prasad and donation

    Prasad and donation
    Use your right hand to accept prasad and give donations. The left hand is considered unclean in India.

  • Dress conservatively

    Dress conservatively
    Avoid shorts, skirts, tanktops and do not expose legs.

  • Avoid cellphones

    Avoid cellphones
    Use of cell phones is restricted normally. Photography is restricted in some temples.

  • Circumambulation or pradakshina

    Circumambulation or pradakshina
    Devotees are to walk around the sanctum sanctorum in a clockwise direction

About Arulmigu Swaminatha Swami Temple

The temple is 2nd among the 6 holy shrines of Lord Murugan called Arupadaiveedu.

The shrine of the presiding deity, Sri Swaminatha Swamy is located atop a 60 ft (18 m) hillock which is artificially made and the shrine of Goddess Sri Meenakshi  and Sri Sundareswarar is located downhill. The temple has three gopuram, three precincts and sixty steps and each one is named after the 60 Tamil years.  The annual Vaikasi Visagam (May - June) festival is attended by thousands of devotees from far and near. As per Hindu legend, Lord Muruga, the son of Lord Shiva, extolled the meaning of the Pranava Mantra (Aum or Omgaram) to his father at this place and hence attained the name Sri Swaminatha Swamy.

The temple is believed to be in existence from the Sangam period from 2nd century BC. The temple was greatly damaged during the Anglo-French war between Hyder Ali and British in 1740. Hymns in praise of the presiding deity have been sung by Saint Nakkeerar in Tirumurukatrupadai and by Saint Arunagirnathar in Tiruppukazh.

As per Hindu legend, Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, disrespected Lord Muruga at the time of visiting Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. The Child Muruga got angry with Lord Brahma and asked him how he was creating living beings. For this Lord Brahma said that he was creating living beings with the help of the Vedas. On hearing the reply, Lord Muruga asked Brahma to recite the texts from Vedas. Lord Brahma started to recite the text with the holy word called Pranava Mantra, "Om".

At that time Lord Muruga stopped Lord Brahma and asked him to explain the meaning of the Pranava Mantra. Lord Brahma could not reply and hence Lord Muruga knocked Brahma on his forehead with his clenched fists and punished him with imprisonment. Lord Muruga himself took up the role of the creator. The Devas' were surprised by the absence of Brahma and they requested Lord Vishnu to negotiate with Lord Muruga to release Brahma. Lord Vishnu could not help and as the last resort, Lord Shiva went to the rescue of Brahma.

Lord Shiva came to Muruga and asked him to release Brahma from imprisonment. Lord Muruga refused to release him stating Brahma was unaware of the meaning of the Pranav Mantra. Lord Shiva asked Muruga to explain the meaning and Muruga extolled to Shiva the meaning of the Pranava Mantra. Lord Shiva behaved like a student to a teacher, listening with rapt attention from his son, giving Muruga the name "Swaminatha Swami". The meaning of this name is "The Teacher of Shiva".

Following the legend, the shrine of the son Muruga is atop the hillock, while the father Shiva's shrine is located at the basement. In Swamimalai, Muruga is known as "Sri Balamurugan" and "Sri Swaminatha Swami". The temple is built on an artificial hill. Another name for this place is "Thiruveragam". The temple has three gopuram (gateway towers) and three precincts. Out of the three precincts, one is located in the basement, the second at midway to the top of the hillock and the third on the hillock, around the sanctum of the Sri Swaminatha swamy shrine.

There are sixty steps and each one is named after the 60 Tamil years. The first thirty steps lead to the second precinct of the temple. The image of Sri Swaminathaswamy is 6 ft tall. There is a shrine of Sri Vinayagar outside the first precinct. The central shrine houses the granite image of Sri Swaminatha Swamy. The first precinct has the images of Sri Dakshinamurthy, Sri Durga, Sri Chandikeswarar and the festival image of Sri Swaminatha Swamy.

In this temple the you can see "Elephant" as Lord Murugan's Vaganam (Vehicle) instead of "Peacock" which is normally his Vaganam (Transporting Vehicle). It is said that God Indiran gifted it to Lord Murugan.

Swamimalai is one of the Arupadaiveedu, believed to be the six main abodes of Lord Muruga, that mark the different phases of his life. According to Hindu belief, Swamimalai is where Muruga preached what as called as "Pranava mantra" to his own father, Shiva, at a tender age, after arresting Brahma for not answering his question about Pranava Mantra. The teaching capabilities of Murugan is found as one of his identifying features. The cult of Murugan is of pride to the Tamil people who identify six with Murugan connating six directions and six chakras in human anatomy.


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