Tiruttani article courtesy of Mr. Suresh
One of the most sacred and most beautiful shrines on a hill about 700 feet high, the Fifth among the Six Padai Veedu shrines, Tiruttani, rightly called the abode of peace (Shanti Puri) gives solace to the devotees either for their physical needs or for their spiritual pursuits. None less than Sri Rama, an Incarnation of the Lord Narayana, is said to have worshipped Subrahmanya here.
The most graceful language Tamil had its origin here when Lord Muruga revealed it to the seer Agasthyar. Situated on the Tiruttani (or Tiruttanikai malai) hill, 84 km from Chennai, the temple is reached by a flight of 365 steps.
After a prolonged and fierce fight with asuras, the anger of Muruga was cooled down as He reached Tiruttani. At nearby Vallimalai, Muruga married Valli, the tribal girl who worshipped him and later he came to Tiruttani.
The prayer of two maidens
Amrita (Amuda) Valli and Sundara Valli were the two daughters of the great God Maha Vishnu. They desired to marry Subrahmanya. With this desire in their minds, they went to Saravana Poikai, a lake where Muruga was born and engaged in intense austerities. Pleased with their tapas, the Lord Subrahmanya appeared before them and granted their wishes, which He promised will be fulfilled in their later births. In due time, Amrita Valli was born as Indra’s foster-daughter Devasena.
The amazing story of Valli
Valli’s story is somewhat strange, but romantic. Nambi Rajah, the tribal chieftain of Chittoor had seven sons, but no daughter. He wished intensely to have one. As an ardent devotee of Muruga, he started some penances for this.
Siva Muni was a sage living in the same forest. Once, while he was walking in the forest, he happened to see a deer. As inevitable turn of fate would have it, by the mere sight of the Seer, the deer conceived a female human child.
Nambi, who was hunting in the forest with his sons was surprised to see a cute baby girl in the wilderness. The kind tribal king was, however glad and considered he had been blessed by the Lord Himself with this precious child. With tender care, he took the baby and brought her up. Since she was found among the creepers (valli), she was named Valli.
Due to the impressions left of her past life, Valli developed a deep devotion to Muruga from her young age. When she was a beautiful young woman, her whole mind was occupied with the thoughts of Muruga and she decided that she will marry him alone and none else.
As his foster daughter now approached the age of marriage, Nambi sent her to perform ‘tinaippunam’, a custom among the tribals. The girl, as per this custom, had to sit in a rostrum high above the ground and scare away birds and other animals that tried to destroy the crops till the harvest time.
Narada, the divine sage knew the past, present and future. The clever Seer came to Valli and told her that she should marry Muruga and none else. The words of the sage were like nectar to the innocent girl, but she didn’t know how to find her bridegroom.
Narada, the creator of destiny for many a divine event, lost no time and met Muruga who was relaxing at Tiruttani after his long battle with the asura Soorapadman at Tiruchendur. The sage reminded Muruga of his promise to the two maidens Amruta Valli and Sundara Valli and added that Sundara Valli was now living at Vallimalai as a tribal maiden Valli. He told the young god that the beautiful girl was living only to get married to Him and this was right time to seek her hand in marriage.
Muruga sensed it was time for Him to honour his promise and soon started to Vallimalai. He appeared before Valli as a hunter. The girl’s mind was absorbed in Muruga and failed to recognize the disguised hunter! At this time, Nambi came there, and it was quick for Muruga to transform himself into a venkai tree.
Soon he understood he had to be cautious. This time he transformed himself into an old man and approached Valli. “I am hungry, give me some food”, asked the old man. The kind girl offered him some flour mixed with honey. “Will you marry me?” asked the old man. It was too much for poor Valli. She wanted Muruga and here was an old man proposing to her! She turned away.
Muruga now knew he had to change tactics. He asked his brother Ganesh to help. Hearing his brother’s pleading for help, Ganapati soon appeared there as a huge elephant and began to chase the frightened Valli. Soon she had to go to Muruga disguised as the old man and she fell into his arms. Valli promised the old man that she will give him anything he wanted if he would save her from the wild elephant. Muruga now asked her hand in marriage. Understanding who the old man really was, Valli agreed.
The matter was soon informed to the kurava king Nambi and his sons. They all agreed to this holy union. Muruga soon married Valli at Vallimalai.