Palani Murugan Temple is one of the most famous Murugan temples in India. It is located in the township of Palani, 100 km southeast of Coimbatore and a similar distance northwest of Madurai, and near the famous hill station, Kodaikanal.
It is one of the major Arupadaiveedu of Lord Muruga. The other Arupadiveedus are Thiruchendur Murugan Temple (100 km south-west of Madurai), Swamimalai Murugan Temple (150 km east of Madurai), Thiruthani Murugan Temple (50 km from Chennai), Pazhamudircholai (10 km north of Madurai) and Tirupparamkunram Murugan Temple (10 km south of Madurai).
As per the Hindu mythology, Sage Narada once visited the divine court of Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. Lord Shiva was with his consort, Goddess Shakti, and their two children, Lord Ganesha and Lord Subrahmanya. Sage Narada gave Lord Shiva a fruit and told him that it was a special one, the fruit of wisdom (Jnana-Pazham).
Lord Shiva wanted his children to have the fruit of wisdom. However, when he offered it to them to be shared between the two sons, Sage Narada requested not to cut the fruit in two, lest the power be diminished. As a result, they had to decide to conduct a simple competitions to decide on who should have the fruit. Shiva and Shakti decided that the son who first circles the Earth would get the fruit. Immediately accepting the challenge, Lord Murugan, started his journey around the globe on his divine vehicle, the peacock or mayil.
Lord Ganesha, who believed that his parents were his world, circumbulated Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti and claimed the mango fruit. Lord Subrahmanya returned to Mount Kailash, only to find that Lord Ganesha had already won the contest. Lord Murugan felt he had been deceived and decided to leave Mount Kailasam. He reached to top of what is today called Pazhani malai (the Hill of Pazhani) and set up his abode there.
Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva rushed to the hill and tried to pacify their son, calling him, Gnana Pazham Nee appa (in Tamil, "you are the fruit - Pazham; of wisdom - Gnana"). Hence this place came to be called Pazhani, or Palani.
Legend also has it that a divine siddhar named Boghar, created the idol of Dhandayuthapaani using navapashanam, an amalgam made from 9 poisonous elements which on getting mixed develops highly curative powers for many ailments of the human body, according to Sidhha Medicine practice. A small portion with a deity, dedicated to Boghar is also placed inside the temple. the adjoining walls depicts the history of the creation and other facts related to the temple.
Darshan (meaning open to the public) hours are from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. On festival days the temple opens at 4.30 a.m.