Palani Murugan
Periyanayaki Amman Utsavar
Periyanāyaki Amman Utsavar, Palani

Periyanayaki Amman Temple

Popularly called 'Town Temple', 'Ūr-k-kovil' and 'Ūr-Ambalam', this large and spacious temple is in the heart of Palani town, two kilometres from Adivaram. Built four centuries ago by the Nāyaks and enlarged by chieftains of Palani, Ayakudi and Neikkarappatti, it has Goddess Periyanāyaki as the presiding deity; there are sanctums for Muttukumāraswāmi, Subramanyar, Kailāsanāthar and Nātarajar. In the Muttukumāra Swāmi shrine, within the iron railings are a series of festival deities, the last of which Uchi Mahākāli is an amazing piece of art.

This temple is essentially a Muruga shrine with other shrines added perhaps at later stages. This is clear from the fact that the central tower is over Muruga's shrine. The flagstaff and image of the vehicle are all in front of Muruga only. Kailāsanātha is on the northern side and Periyanāyaki on the southern side with Muruga in the centre, or in between father and other. This seating arrangement is known as Somāskanda Mūrtam.

In the Palli Arai in the Amman shrine, it is worth taking a look at the mirror reflecting the chamber. Ask for the shutter to be raised up. Almost every pillar is extravagantly covered with a filigree of sculpture. The supreme climax of South Indian architecture in its most prodigal plastic manifestation.

In one pillar of the Kailāsanāthar shrine and in another in the Navaranga Mandapam, Gnāna Dandāyudhapani has been remarkably produced by stone masons. The pillars and sculptures therein add to importance of the Navaranga Mandapam, which has been built by the Nadar community.

Palani Periyanāyaki Amman Kovil with temple car shed
Periyanāyaki Amman Kovil with temple car shed at left

On Vijayadāsami day, the Lance of the Lord is brought from the hill temple to this temple and the Utsava deity Muttukumāraswāmi uses it to destroy evil and usher in an era of hope and good cheer after Navarātri.

In the month of Aadi (July-August) 100,000 archanas (laksha & chana) are performed in this temple. Particularly, the Fridays of this month are crowded days here and one has to inch his/her way to the sanctum.

This temple houses the vāhanas of all the temples under the Devasthānam and from this point of view, this temple is an art gallery. Do not miss the silver car, a galaxy of various vehicles, the ivory palanquin, several vāhanas in silver, brass and wood. Their beautiful workmanship needs close observation.

Near the Periyanāyaki Temple is the Mari Amman Temple, very popular with the local folk. It is crowded on Fridays. Increasing attention is being paid to this temple.