Every year, there are many minor festivals and a few major festivals are conducted at Palani. Agni Nakshatram, Kandhar Shasti, Thirukkarthigai, Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthiram are the major festivals, which are attended by pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka and other states. This attendance of devotees indicates the National integration of the country.
On this day, a ten-day festival is conducted at Arulmigu Lakshminarayana perumal temple. At the Periyanayakiamman Temple also, Lord Muthukumara Swamy, along with Valli and Deivanai, rides in the silver car along the streets around the Temple.
This is one of the important festivals at Palani. During the last 7 days of Chitrai and the first 7 days of the following month(i.e.Vaikasi) the devotees of Lord Muruga go around the Hill by foot, early in the mornings. As per the Palani mythology, it is considered holy to worship the Hill temple from afar or from near or go around it. It is also called Girivalam. It is an age old practice. In ancient days the siddhas, rishis, saints and other noble persons followed this practice. Girivalam gives mental peace, the medicinal herbs around the hillock cure many physical diseases. Nowadays people go around the temple by wearing Kadamba Flower.
This is celebrated for ten days. At the Perianayaki amman temple, it is celebrated for 10 days with procession every day. There is car festival on the 10th day(i.e Visakam). Visakam is Lord Muruga’s birthday star. This is celebrated at all Murugan Temples. At Thiruchendur also this is observed in a grand manner.
During the Tamil month of Aani(3rd month of the Tamil year) Annabhishekam (abhishekam with fragrant cooked rice) is conducted at Thiruvavinankudi Temple, Hill Temple, Periyanayagi Amman temple and Periyavudaiyar Temple. On Aani Uthiram Day, abhisekam is performed to Lord Nataraja and a procession is conducted with the Lord in the Company of the icons of the four Tamil Saints.
FESTIVALS IN AADI
1. Aadi Perukku: From Perianayaki amman Temple, Lord Kailasanathar and Amman go to Periyavudaiyar Koil and after performing “Kannimar Pooja” return in a procession .
2. Aadi Krithigai: This is celebrated in a grand way at Palani. Devotees carry flower-Kavadi to Lord Muruga and Worship.
3. Aadi Amavasai: On this day many devotees offer ‘tonsure’ on the banks of Shanmuga River and climb the Hill for worship. In the book of Palani mythology this has been mentioned in the chapter on ‘Shanmuga Nadi’. Devotees consider that they get cleansed of their sins once they bathe in the Shanmuga River.
4. Aadi Laksharchana: At Periyanayaki Amman Temple, this is conducted well , and Amman (Goddess Periyanayaki) is given special abhishekam and decoration . On the last day of the function, Amman is adorned with the “Golden Kavacham”.
KANDHAR SHASTI (SOORA SAMHARAM)
This is a very important festival at Palani, during the 6 days in the month of Aippasi (7th Tamil month). This is based on the mythological story of Lord Muruga Killing the demons. On this day only (once in a year) the Lord comes down the Hill, and after vanquishing the demons, ascends the Hill again. This is associated with Kandhar Shasti. The four demons (Gajamugan, Tharagan, Singamugan and Surapadman) are won by the Lord. It is a grand sight to see the dramatic representation of this. On this day devotees observe total fasting as they consider that this will offset all their sins.
From Thirugnanasambandar’s statement “Ancient Karthigai day”, we known about the age-old practice of this festival. It falls on Karthigai Day in the Tamil month of Karthigai. It is celebrated for 10 days and daily “Chinna Kumarar” goes in procession in the small golden carriage. On Karthigai day, he goes in the Golden Car. On the 10th day, woman devotees light lamps and worship Murugan. This is done in Thiruvavinankudi, Periyanayagi Amman Temple and the Hill Temple.This is a very important day for devotees. Every month also, an Karthigai day, devotees visit Palani.
During the Tamil month of Markazhi (9th month) the Hill Temple opens at 3 A.M, and recital of Thiruvembavai is done. The early morning Pooja is done in all the main Temples in Palani. The recital of Thiruppavai is done at Perumal temple.
This is a very important festival , associated with pilgrimage to Palani. Devotees from Tamil Nadu reach Palani by foot (Pada Yathra) and worship. Begining with flag-hosting at Perianayagiamman Temple, this festival runs on for 10 days. Kavadi of various types (with holy water, sugar, flowers, tender co-conuts, etc., ) are offered to Murugan at Palani.
On the 6th day, there is procession of Lord Muruga with Valli and Deivanai in the Silver Car. During this, Kavadi dance and rural musical-dance are performed. On the 7 th day there is “Thai Thaer” (wooden Car) and thousands of devotees participate in this. On the 7th day “Chinna Kumarar” goes round in His Golden Car.
This also is a very important festival here, and is celebrated for 10 days, devotees carry Kavadies with holy water (from sacred rivers), sugar, tender co-conut etc. During these 10 days, we can see various rural dances like ”Oyilattam, Thappattam, Dhidumattam,Velanattam, Samiyattam”etc., along with rural songs. The rural music is an important part of Paunguni uthiram festival.
The main feature of Panguni Uthiram is the offering of “Theertham” (Posts of Holy water) from Kodumudi. Lord Palaniandavar is given abhishekam with this holy water. The devotees carrying Kavadi to Palani sing Kavadi - songs throughout their ‘Padayathra’ and these songs are ancient oral songs.
On the 1st day, there is flag hoisting at Thiruvavinankugi Temple and on all the 10 days Lord Muthukumara Swamy with Sri Valli and Sri Deivanai goes in procession around the Palani Hill. On the 7th day there is “Car Festival” and this is attended by thousands of devotees. During these days the Lord also is given special reception and pooja at many ‘mandapams’ in the Palani Adivaram area. It is a grand sight to see Lord Muruga with his concerts during these processions.