Palani Temple Steps Count


The Palani Murugan Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan, is perched atop the Palani Hills, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Pilgrims from far and wide undertake the arduous climb to seek the blessings of Lord Murugan, the deity revered as the God of War and Victory. What makes this pilgrimage truly distinctive is the emphasis on climbing the steps, known as ‘Padi Vizha’ in Tamil, as a form of devotion and penance.

The Steps:

The temple is situated at an elevation of approximately 150 meters, and reaching it involves climbing a flight of steps that wind their way up the hillside. The total number of steps is a subject of much debate and speculation, with estimates ranging from 600 to over 700 steps. The variability is due to different routes leading to the temple, each with its own set of steps.

Symbolism of Steps:

The significance of climbing the steps lies in the spiritual journey it represents. Each step is not merely a physical movement but a symbolic gesture of overcoming obstacles and purifying the soul. Pilgrims believe that the hardships endured during the climb serve as a form of penance, cleansing them of sins and bringing them closer to the divine.

Physical and Spiritual Rigor:

Undertaking the climb to Palani Temple is not for the faint-hearted. The steps vary in size, and the terrain can be challenging. Pilgrims, young and old, embark on this journey with unwavering faith, often carrying kavadis – symbolic structures representing offerings and prayers. The physical rigor is seen as a form of devotion, and many undertake the climb barefoot as a mark of humility and surrender.

The Different Routes:

There are multiple routes leading to the Palani Temple, each offering a unique set of steps and experiences. The two primary routes are the Elephant Path and the Steps Path.

  1. Elephant Path: This route is relatively gentler and is traversed by pilgrims riding on elephants. While it does involve some climbing, the experience is more comfortable compared to the Steps Path.
  2. Steps Path: This is the more traditional and challenging route, where pilgrims climb the steps on foot. The Steps Path is divided into two sections – the Lower Palani and the Upper Palani. The former has around 693 steps, and the latter has around 180 steps.

Highlights Along the Way:

As pilgrims ascend the steps, they encounter various shrines, mandapams, and resting spots. These intervals provide opportunities for reflection, prayer, and interaction with fellow devotees. One notable feature is the ‘Sorgavasal’ or the Gateway to Heaven, a symbolic entrance where pilgrims believe they enter the celestial abode.

The Temple Summit:

Upon reaching the summit, pilgrims are greeted by the majestic Palani Murugan Temple. The spiritual journey culminates in darshan – the auspicious glimpse of the deity’s idol. The panoramic views from the hilltop add to the ethereal experience, making the climb a pilgrimage of both physical and spiritual rewards.