An ancient Ranganatha Temple on the Western Ghats near Coimbatore
Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from Diseases and Illnesses
Located 8kms West of Periyanayakkanpalayam off the Coimbatore- Mettupalayam NH 181 is the several centuries old picturesque Ranganatha Hill temple at Palamalai with the Western Ghats in the backdrop. From Kovanur, one has to navigate 7acute and steep hair pin bends to reach the temple. This is the Prarthana idol for 6 Aadhi Vaasi Villages around this area.
While this area was a dense forest and continues to be, roads have been laid in the recent past and Government bus ply to this temple twice in the morning and twice in the evening every day.
Liberation from Vashista’s Curse
The story goes that Gandharva Dhurdhaman was bathing in the tank with women. Maharishi Vashista who was returning after visiting Lord Shiva got the due regards from the women who came out of the tank and sought his blessings. However, the Gandharva disregarded the presence of the rishi and continued to bathe in the tank.
An angry rishi cursed the Gandharva to turn to a Rakshasha. Shocked at this sudden turn of event, the women folks pleaded with the rishi to bring the Gandharva back to his handsome form.Over time, Kaalava Rishi who was undertaking penance here invoking the blessings for Lord Narayana was harassed by this Gandharva turned Rakshasha.
Perturbed at this, the Rishi increased the severity of his penance. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Narayana appeared before the rishi and killed the Rakshasha with his discus thus liberating the Gandharva from his curse and helping him unite with his Gandharva wife.
Kaalava Rishi requested the Lord to stay back here and provide darshan to devotees in the same standing posture as Ranganatha.
Liberation from the Bear’s curse!!
Another story goes that King Nanda Boopala relinquished his kingdom and headed towards the forest handing over the crown to his son Dharma Gupta. One day, while returning from a trip, the king had to stay back in the forest as it had suddenly become dark.
He climbed a tree to sleep there for the night only to be joined there by a scared Bear that had been chased down by a hungry Lion. Both of them agreed to take turns and sleep half the period of the night and keep vigil against the hungry Lion.
With the Bear staying awake the first half, the Lion tried to negotiate a deal with the Bear asking him to push down the King in return for being allowed to go free. Not willing to go back on the agreement with the King, the Bear refused.
Well past mid night the Bear and the King exchanged turns and it was now time for the king to keep vigil. When the Lion tried to strike the same deal with the King, he immediately pushed the Bear down. However, to the shock of King Dharma Gupta, the Bear escaped. Once away at a distance, the bear informed the king that he was no normal Bear and that he belonged to the clan of Brigu Rishi.
The Rishi also informed the Lion that he was a Yaksha who had turned into a Lion as a result of the curse of Gautama Rishi and that it was time for him to be liberated from the rishi's curse.
The Bear who was angry at the king betraying the trust placed on him for protection during that night cursed him to turn into a lunatic. Shocked at this, king Dharma Gupta sought his father’s help. Former King Nanda Boopala took his son to a Sage who suggested that Dharma Gupta bathe in the Sacred Padma Theertham in Palamalai and invoke the blessings of Lord Ranganatha there.
Dharma Gupta was relieved from his curse at this place and went back to rule his kingdom in a righteous manner.
Having been the place where the Gandharva had been liberated from Vashista's curse as well as the one where the king regained his original princely form after a bath at the sacred tank, this temple is believed to be a Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from diseases, illness and different kinds of doshams.
The priests at this temple display a great sense of sincerity in discharge their bhakthi for Lord Ranganatha.
Construction of the temple
The story goes that this was a thick and dense forest area (it still is!!). A cowherd who allowed his cow to graze here found that there was no milk left. One day, as he watched closely, he was amazed to find the milk on the Swayambu Lord that had come up here. It is believed that the invisible voice sent him the message that he should bring milk from the next morning.
A delighted cowherd followed this practice every morning. To this day, every morning inside the temple, the small idol of the swayambu Lord is presented the milk abhiseka as part of the morning pooja.
With the thick forest, devotees were keen that an outer wall be constructed around the temple but when the temple authorities fell short on construction material it is believed the Lord answered their prayers with the huge rock on the Southern side of the temple breaking up into pieces to constitute the material for the construction. Interestingly, answering the prayers, Lord provided sand in the far Northern corner of the temple.
Padma Theertham as seen in the story above is on the Northern side of the temple about 1/2km away.
Festivals are celebrated in a grand manner at this temple. There is an old small temple chariot that is replete with interesting sculptures.
Puratasi Saturdays- Procession outside the temple
11day Brahmotsavam in Chitrai (including 7days before Pournami)
Azhvaar Utsavam on their Birthday
30day Margazhi Utsavam
Moolavar: Ranganatha in an East facing Standing posture
Thaayar : Sengothai Thaayar and Poonkothai Thaayar ( separate sannidhis)
Utsavar : Ranganatha
Temple Time: 530am-8pm
Contact : Rangaraja Bhattar @ 93604 96065, G. Krishnamurthy Bhattar @ 76395 19750, Jagadeesan, Hereditary Trustee@ 94433 48564
How to reach
Board any bus from Coimbatore ( Gandhipuram Moffusil Bus stand) and get down at Periya Nayakkan Palayam (LMW).
From Periya Nayakkan Palayam, take a bus West to Kovanur (about 4kms)
From Kovanur, a jeep (shared basis) will cost Rs. 10-Rs.20 to reach the hill temple ( 4kms) in about 20minutes
1km from Kovanur, from the foot of the hill, there are also steps to walk up to the temple ( about 2kms- it will take about 45minutes to climb up the steps)
Bus from Railway Station / Gandhipuram (Bus No. 32) @ 530am will take you to Kovanur by 645am
From Kovanur, direct bus ply to the temple at 7am and 830am