Kanjamalai - falls into the
category of Marudamalai, Sivanmalai and Chennimalai
in Kongunaadu, and is known for its association with the Siddhar
saints of Tamilnadu. It is located 14 km west of Salem, and is
known for the herbs that abound in the region. Pilgrims visiting the hill temple here,
consider a dip in the waters of the streams traversing the hill sacred.
There is a Siddhar koyil on the hill, and there is a also a Murugan
temple recent in origin. The simple temple is rich in legend, thanks to its association
with the Siddhars.
Legend has it that Adikaimaan, a tamil ruler was
presented with a nellikkani - as the amritam or the panacea by a siddhar
at Kanjamalai and that he presented it to the saint poetess Avvaiyaar.
This incident is releted in the sangam works of the earlier portion of
the 1st millennium CE.
Another legend has it that a devotee of Shiva spent years travelling
visiting the various shrine sof Shiva and finaly reached the shrine of Karpuranaathar
and spent the rest of his life in penance, after which he attained the status of a siddhar,
and that he assumed a formless form in Kaliyugam, in the preceincts of Kanjamalai - also
considered to be an abode of Shiva, and that he came to be known as Kanjamalai
Another legend has it that, a yogi came down to Kanjamalai with his aged
discipile with the intention of obtaining eternal youth through yogic practices. He left
his disciple in charge of cooking his food, and went out to the rich jungle, in search of
medicinal herbs. The devoted disciple, stirred the pot of boiling rice with a stick found
nearby and to his horror found the rice turning black. Afraid of serving the blackened
rice to his guru, he consumed it himself - and to his utter amazement attained a youthful
The guru, convinced of the magical powers of the stick which
had been used to stir the rice, searched for it, and to his horror discovered that the
disciple had thrown it into the fire. He caused the disciple to vomit out the rice that he
had consumed, and consumed it himself and also attained an eternally youthful form. It is
said that these two siddhars are none other than Tirumoolar and Kanjamalai