Sri Swaminatha Swami Thiru Koil Swami Malai, Tanjore District, Tamil Nadu - India
This is the "Fourth Padai Veedu" of Lord Sri Muruga. This temple is on a manmade hill in Tanjore District. Tanjore is purely an agricultural district is in the "Delta Area of Cauvery River". The legend of this place is, when Sri Subramanya was a young boy, Brahma the Lord of Creation, was proud of his knowledge, did not respect Sri Subramanya.
Sri Subramanya asked him with what power are you creating the living beings on the earth? When Sri Brahma could not give a satisfactory answer, Sri Subramanya imprisoned Sri Brahma and asiumed himself the work of creation.
Thereafter, Lord Sri Shiva asked Sri Subramanya whether he has the knowledge and if so explain it to him. Sri Subramanya answered that he has the knowledge and if Sri Shiva wanted the same to be imparted to him he should become his pupil and learn the same with reverence. There upon Sri Shiva kept Sri Subramanya on his lap and closing his lips with his hands in reverential manner, allowed Sri Subramanya to impart the knowledge in his ears which Sri Subramanya did. There after Sri Subramanya came to be known as Swaminathar (the Guru of Swamy) and the place came to be known as Swami Malai. He is also known as Sri Guru Nathar.
This hill has 64 steps and each one is named after each one of the Tamil years. As one reaches the top of the hill, first one has to worship the Sri Ganesha and enter the Sanctum. The idol of Sri Subramanya is in a standing posture facing east and is about 6 ft. in height. In front of the Lord there is an idol of an elephant instead of the usual peacock found in Sri Murugan temples. This Elephant is supposed to be "Iravatham" the celestial elephant donated by Lord Sri Indra.
On the ground level there are idols each of Sri Ganesha, Sri Dakshina Moorthy, Sri Shiva, Sri Parvathi and Navagrahas. The practice in this temple is first devotees should climb the hills, worship Sri Ganesha and Muruga and then come down and worship the other Gods. On Thursdays Sri Muruga is adorned with "Vaira Vel" (The Diamond Vel) and the Silver Chariot is also taken round the temple in the evenings. Swami Malai is about seven km. from Kumbakonam and can be reached by rail or road.