Fifteen km west of Coimbatore, on the Western Ghats, situated in a lush, green milieu is the temple of Marudhamalai. Said to belong to the 12th Century, the temple is surrounded by the hilly range on three sides. Several buses ply between Coimbatore and the foothills of Marudhamalai, from where devotees board mini buses to reach the temple. Stone inscriptions dating back to the 12th Century contain words such as Marudhan and Marudhachalam, which reveal that the names were in vogue even then.
Marudhamalai abounds in medicinal herbs and the pure air and serene atmosphere should make it a haven for the health-conscious. The hill is dotted with small mandapams for the devotees to relax on their way uphill. At the foothills, where the steps to the temple begin, is the Thaan Thondri Vinayakar Temple. The 18th step above the Vinayakar Temple is another significant spot because those, who are unable to make it to Sabarimala find praying at this place equally gratifying.
Another deity that draws your attention on the way is Idumban, who is seen on a huge circular rock at the Temple of Idumban! The three huge stones that stand out for the colour that’s different from the rest, and the mandapam of Kudhirai Kulambu are the other noticeable places on the route. High above these are the Paambaatti Siddhar Cave, Uchchi Pillaiyar Temple and Pancha Vriksham that convey a lot about the hoariness of Marudhamalai.
The Adhi Moolasthanam is in the shape of a lingam, where Lord Muruga is seen with Valli and Deivanai. The beautiful deity of Muruga in the Moolasthanam is both a devotee’s and connoisseur’s delight!
Noted yesteryear filmmaker M.M.A. Chinnappa Thevar made immense contribution to the proper maintenance of the temple, clearing the hilly route for devotees to climb up easily, building resting houses, providing lights on the path to the temple and so on.
Water has been provided at the hill at a cost of more than Rs.6 lakhs.
Apart from religious activities, serving society is part of the agenda. The temple manages a home for destitutes, where now 45 children benefit. Besides food, clothing and shelter, the temple takes care of their education till the high school level.
At the foot of the hill, a siddha hospital treats the poor and distributes medicines worth Rs.30000 free, annually. In Vadavalli, the temple management also runs a school, which had initially been functioning under a thatched roof. It has now shifted to a permanent structure and has grown into a high school.