Five Faces Eight Hands Subrahmanya Bhogar Odhimalai

The History of Lord Shiva and Subrahmanya are so complex and intricate with various cross references in The Vedas,Puranas, Ramayana , Mahabharata and Ancient Tamil that it needs a careful study to reconstruct history.

Though Tamil mentions the Sanatana Texts , the Puranas and the Ithihasas, there seems to be a special niche for Shiva and Subrahmanya, giving rise to the speculation that these two personalities might belong to pre Sanatana Dharma period.

It might be of interest to note that Shiva is not directly mentioned in the Vedas, but in Sri Rudra, while Subramanya is referred to as Skanda.

No individual Hymns were addressed to them as addressed to Narayana, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Durga, Ganesha and the others, though these Deities were worshiped by Rama and Krishna.

I am doing research on this and shall come up with a series of articles.

Subrahmanya worship is ver old in the South and the oldest Subrahmanya Temple dated around 4 BC has been found near Pondicherry.

Please refer my Post on this.

And the presence of Siddhas is a mystery in Hinduism as Shiva is described as the Adi, First Siddha, followed by Agastya and Bhogar.

There is a controversy as to who was the chief disciple of Lord Shiva for Yoga, Bhogar or Agastya.

Agastya has been dated 5000 years ago.

Check my Post.

As to Bhogar, He is also as old as Agastya if we are to take the Siddha manuscripts into account.

I am looking into this.

Subrahmanya one of the chief deities of Tamil Diaspora ruling the mountainous region called Kurinji is reported to be one of the Gurus of Bhogar.

Bhogar had installed the Idol of Lord Subrahmanya at Palani in Tamil Nadu .

This Idol was made of Nava Paashaana,not stone, but of a special mixture of herbs that has with stood the test of Time for over two thousand years!

There are reports that more ancient Temple of Subrahmanya is in Odhimalai, near Coimbatore.

This temple is in a place called irumborai.Irumborai is situated at a distance of 10 kms from puliyampatti which is on the way of Coimbatore to Sathiamangalam at 48 th km.

This was established by Bhogar, the Siddha.

The temple has Subrahmnaya with five faces and eight hands and is considered as Shiva.

The Murthy is called Krauncha Vedamurthy, the epithet applies to Subrahmanya/Shiva.

Another speciality is that there is no Sanctum for Devi!

As Prasad, the sand from the place considered to be the remains of the Homa Kunda Fire raised by Bhogar.

(Please refer my Post Shiva’s Marriage Fire still Burning)

This temple is in Odhimalai.

Odhi in Tamil means repetition of sacred mantra.



During a visit to Mount Kailash, Lord Brahamma, the creator, after saluting Vinayaka, simply bypassed Muruga and proceeded for darshan of Lord Shiva.  Lord Muruga stopped him and demanded the meaning of the Pranava Mantra from Brahmma which Brahamma was not able to offer.  Hence, Muruga jailed him and began the creation work Himself.


Brahmma had five faces then.  Lord Muruga too, having assumed the charge of creation had for himself the same five faces.  All the creatures created by Lord Muruga including humans, were of high righteous standards and enjoyed high longevity too.  This added to the burden of Mother Earth.  She went to Lord Shiva and explained her woes.  Lord Shiva intervened, asked Muruga the meaning of Pranava Mantra which Lord Muruga explained.  On the direction of Lord Shiva, Muruga released Brahmma from his captivity.


Lord Muruga explained the meaning of  Pranava (the first Vedic sound Ohm) in Swamimalai.  Here in Irumbarai, Muruga taught the Agamas of the Vedas.  Odhal in Tamil means learning.  Malai means hill.  As Lord Shiva learnt from His son Muruga these philosophies here, the place came to be known as Odhimalai.  The Lord also was named Odhimalai Andavar.

Moolavar : Odhimalai Andavar
Urchavar : Kalyanasubramaniar
Amman / Thayar :
Thala Virutcham : Odhi tree
Theertham : Sunai theertham
Agamam / Pooja : Shivagama
Old year : 500-1000 years old
Historical Name : Gnanamalai
City : Irumbarai
District : Coimbatore
State : Tamil Nadu
Where Bhogar Performed Yagnya, Odhimalai.jpg
Ygnya Bhomi where Bhogar Performed the Oblation.


‘1) Muruga stands with 5 faces and 8 hands and the Peacock has its face towards Lord’s left leg.
2) Five faces are Eesahanyam, Thatpurusham, Aghoram, Vamadevam, and Sathyojadham.
3) In case, there was no peacock in the vighraham, we can say, this is Lord Shiva himself!
4) Peacock is towards Lord’s left, which means, its Indra-mayil (Lord Indra as vahanam). Generally, in most of the temples, Peacock faces Muruga’s Right, which means they have come after Soora Samharam. This establishes this sthalam before Soora vadham, and in timeframe, before Tiruchendhur.
5) Even today, Gurukkal stands on behalf of Indra and does pooja.
6) Siddhar Bogar has done an Yagna in the North-East corner (Eesanya baagam) of this hill and sought permission from Muruga to do the Nava paashana vigraham. Muruga gave him his blessings here, and from here Bogar went to Palani, to create and install the vigraham. The sand in this place is white, compared to red ones surrounding it. During festival times, this is given as prasadham to devotees, who come up the hill.

7) Just like we send-off our guests, Lord Muruga went to Kumarapalayam, with Bogar, to bid farewell. He went with a single face and four hands. This is often misunderstood as, Muruga went to show way to Palani, since Bogar didn’t know it.
8) Bogar created a Navapashana idol in Palani, made pradhishta of it facing west, and created his Jeeva samadhi in Palani hills, close to Muruga’s abode.
9) In the whole world, only this shrine has Muruga with 5 faces and 8 hands. This is not described in any of the Vedha, Aagama and Siddha sashtras.
10) Gurukkal Ayya’s periyappa, has visited this shrine, with his Great-grandfather when he was just 4 years old. Then, it was a cave in which Muruga was present, and to gaurd this cave, there was a Cheetah, and a Peacock, which used to lie on its top.
11) There were 5 different streams there, and they will be ever flowing. Today, I didn’t see even one.
12) In the olden days, there was a bell made of mud, and if it is rung during pooja, it used to create more sound than conventional bells !!!
13) There is no separate peedam for Lord Muruga. The whole hill is His peedam, since he stands directly on the hill here. So when you keep your legs on the first step, ideally you are stepping on Muruga Himself !
14) Since Muruga preached the meaning of Pranava to Shiva, this came to be known as “Othimalai”*
15) Mahaguru Agasthiyar has termed this hill as “Gnanamalai” in his Nadi.
16) Since puranas say Muruga preached Shiva, meaning of Pranava, in his younger days, before his Thirukalyanam, we can see Othimalai as “Moolasthanam” of Murugan.
17) This has not been sung by Naalvar and Arunagirinathar. Arunagirinathar has sanctified this as “Oothimalai” and due to affinity with these hills, the song is sung here in pooja time with pronounciation of Othimalai.
18) Kirupananda vaariyar swamigal, probably the greatest known Muruga bakhtha in recent times, never got a chance to visit this hill.
19) One bakhtha has climbed this hill for 47 days continuously, bit couldn’t see the Lord on various reasons. He was allowed inside only on the 48th day of his climb. Quite shocking !

* Swamimalai also a similar History.

Othimalai, as Agasthiyar peruman mentions, is very tall. 1800 steps are there to reach the temple. Initial 900 steps are easy to climb. To mention, there are mandapams built every 100 – 150 steps, to take rest. And there is one getting constructed in between.

How to Reach, and where to stay:

In case you are closer to Coimbatore, Take Coimbatore – Annur – Othimalai.

In case you travel from Chennai / Bangalore:
First take a bus to Sathyamangalam. KPN from Chennai, ABTx from Bangalore. Just outside Sathy bus stand, there is a lodge by name PV lodge. Very decent for refreshing yourself and starting. I didn’t have breakfast, so couldn’t refer a hotel. Take a PP bus from Sathy to Puliampatti (all coimbatore buses go here). Around 8.30 in the morning, you will have a minibus to Othimalai. I took this, and realized it as a mistake, since it reached Othimalai village by 9.45 AM. Precious morning time was lost there, else I would have climbed with more energy. Take an auto from Puliampatti bus stand, it should help you a lot.


Karthi Iyer : 0-98430-44344

Check the Phone Number.

Asking a Boon – Varam kettal:

Once the abhishegam, alangaram and archana for all were complete, Muruga was all beautiful, thus denying a chance to anyone to pray ! So, there is a method called “Varam ketal”, where Gurukkal ayya keeps flowers on the kireedam of Lord, and asks the person to prostrate before Him, and pray his needs.

1) If it is marriage, child related troubles, family oriented, then if the flowers fall to Right side of the Lord, it will succeed.
2) Any court related matters should have the flowers falling to the left to succeed.
3) In case the flowers don’t fall down, its status-quo, or, will take time to succeed.

Agastya on Odhimalai.

MahaGuru Agasthiyar Special:


இறையருளால் இயம்புகின்றோம் இத்தருணம்,இறை வணங்கி அறம் தொடர என்றென்றும் நலமாம்.

இடைவிடா பிரார்த்தனைகள் நலத்தை சேர்க்கும்.இதை உணர்ந்து வாழ என்றென்றும் சாந்தியோடு மகிழ்வு கிட்டும்.

By the Grace of God, shall we tell now ! For anyone, by praying Lord and continuing charity, goodness will prevail forever!

Continuous prayers will add good happenings. Living life by realizing this, will give peace and happiness !!

Othimalai Mahathmiyam:

சங்கரனுக்கு,சரவணகுகன் ஓதிய கிரி!

சங்கடப்பட்ட பல்மாந்தர்கள் தலைவிதி மாறிய கிரி!!

சபலங்கள்,சலனங்கள் விட்டு ஓடிடும் கிரி!

சிறப்பில்லா முன்வினை ஊழ்பயன் சிறப்பாக மாற்றித் தரும் கிரி!!

The hill, where Shankara was preached by Saravana Guha !

The hill, where fate of many who suffered in life, has changed !!

The hill, where unwarranted desires and unwanted disturbances, run away from a person !

The hill, where even bad karma by virtue of previous births, gets good !!

சிந்தனையில் அணுவளவும் கட்டமில்லா தன்மையை நல்கிடும் கிரி!

சிறப்போ,சிறப்பில்லையோ,பேதம் பார்க்கா வாழ்க்கையை ஏற்க வைக்கும் கிரி!!

சப்த கன்னியர்கள்,அன்னையோடு,அன்னை அருளால் அருளும் கிரி!!!

The hill, which removes even petty sufferings from thinking of mind!

Good or bad, The hill, which makes you to accept life as such, without seeing differences !!

The hill, where Saptha Kannis, together with Mother, by Mother’s grace, bless all!!!


To say so,

பஞ்சமும் அடங்க,பஞ்சவதனத்தோன் அருளும் கிரி!

The hill, where the Lord of five faces, blesses you to control your five senses !

சிறப்பாக எத்தனை குன்றுகள் இளையவன் அருளால் இருந்திட்டாலும்,

குன்றுக்கெல்லாம் உயர் குன்றாய் இன்றும் சான்றாய் அருளும் கிரி!

By the Grace of younger Lord, though there are many Hillocks,
stands this, as biggest of all of them, even today as proof, and blesses !

அன்னையோடு,ஐயன் அமர்ந்து அன்றும்,இன்றும்,என்றும் அருளும் கிரி!

The hill, where with Mother, sits Father, and blesses forever !

நீறு வேறு,நாமம் வேறு என்று அறியாமையால் எண்ணும் மாந்தனுக்கு,

நீறு பூத்த அக்னிபோல் நீரோடு,நாமமும் கலந்து வேங்கடகிரியாய் அருளும் கிரி

For a person, who, due to ignorance, thinks Shaivism (Shiva) and Vaishnavism (Vishnu) are different,
The Hill, where, like simmering fire in burnt ash, with Shiva, stands Vishnu, and blesses like VenkataGiri !!!

கட்டிய கணவன் காதில் ரகசியமாய் மனையாள் ஓதினாலும்,

If, wife whispers something ill in her husband’s ears,

கட்டிய மனைவி ஒதுகிறாளே என்று தாய் ஓதினாலும்,

or seeing this, if mother preaches her son,

உபயத்தையும் தாண்டி பிள்ளைகளுக்கு எதை ஓதினாலும்,

or leaving behind these two, whatever is preached to children,

மாந்த குரு சிஷ்யனுக்கு ஓதினாலும்,

or when a human guru preaches his disciple,

அனைத்திலும் பேதமுண்டு.சுயநல நோக்குண்டு.

they all have differences, and have a selfish vision.

பேதமில்லா தாண்டிய நிலையில்,

The Hill, where, Crossing all these differences,

வேதமெல்லாம் ஓர் உருவாக,

All Vedas come together in a single form,

ஓம்கார நாத வெள்ளம் ரூபமாக,

in the flooding sea of “Om” (Pranava),

நேத்திரத்தில் கருணை வெள்ளம் பிரவாகமெடுக்க,

With the eyes having a Gracious flood,

அறுவதனமும் ஐவதனமாகி,

and with Six faces becoming five,

எழு பிறப்பும் எட்டென விரட்டி,

Driving away innumerable future births,

உபயவினையும் இல்லாது ஒழித்து,

Destroying all karmas, both good and bad,

சூல நேத்திரத்தோன் திரு மைந்தன்,

The Honored son of the Three-eyed Lord,

சதுரத்தை நவரசமாய் பிழிந்தெடுத்து,

makes nava-rasa from the four Vedas,

அதனையும் தாண்டி பல்வேறு நுட்பத்தை பேதமில்லா ஓதி,

on top of this, adding many other intricacies,

preaches to all without difference,

ஒருமுகமாய்,திருமுகமாய்,ஒரு நினைவாய் மாந்தன் வாழ அருளும் கிரி.

giving a single definition, a divine notion,
which blesses a man live with a single thought.

ஞானத்தை நல்கும் கிரி!

அஞ்ஞானத்தை அடியோடு அழிக்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which gives Bliss!

The hill, which completely destroys ignorance!!

பேதத்தை நீக்கும் கிரி!

வேதத்தை உணர்த்தும் கிரி!!

The hill, which removes differences!

The hill, which makes a man realize Vedas!!

சீரற்ற குணங்களை சீராக்கும் கிரி!

நிலைத்த செல்வத்தை நல்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which normalizes unwanted thoughts!

The hill, which blesses indestructible riches (its punya, not money 🙂 ) !!

வாழ்வின் தடைகளை நீக்கும் கிரி!

எதிர்பார்த்த விடைகளை நல்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which removes obstacles in life!

The hill, which gives expected answers!!

கர்ம நிலைகளை மாற்றும் கிரி!

அக உளைச்சல் ஒழிக்கும் கிரி!!

The hill, which changes karmic status!

The hill, which destroys mental disturbances!!

பேதம் காட்டா வேத கிரி!

ஓம் எனும் பிரணவம் ஒலிக்கும் நாத கிரி!!

The hill, which doesn’t differentiate between people, and is a Vedic structure!

The hill, where the Pranava nadha is ever sounding!!

இளையவன் திருவடி பாதம் படிந்த கிரி!

அன்னை நிரந்தரமாய் அருளும் கிரி!!

The hill, where younger Lord’s (Muruga) feet is inscribed !

The hill, where Mother permanently blesses all!!

ஐயனோடு இன்று அனைவரும் இருக்கும் கிரி!

ஓதும் கிரி அது ஓதிய கிரி!!

பேதம் தவிர்த்து பிரணவநாதம் கலந்து ஒலிக்கும் கிரி!!!

The hill, where with Father, everyone else is present today !

The preaching hills, where it was preached !!

The hill, where, leaving out all differences, Pranava nadham sounds for ALL !!!

Reading this, I was completely overwhelmed. After lots of trials, and lots of prayers to Venkata Subramaniar, who stands very tall near my home in Valasaravakkam, Chennai, I visited this temple recently. This post, is, as usual, my experiences and other related information.



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