Swamimalai Swaminatha Swamy temple - one of the six holy abodes ,Tamil Nadu

The Swamimalai Swaminathaswamy temple, one  among the Aaru padai veedu or sacred shrines  is dedicated to Lord Muruga. The Lord here expounded the meaning of the Pranava Mantra ''OM'' to his own Father Lord Shiva Himself. In Tamil he is often referred to as 'Thagappan Swami (Acharya to his father). The temple, it is believed, exists from the Sangam period - 2nd century BC and Parantaka Chola I made some modifications. Here at Swamimalai, Muruga is also known as  "Balamurugan."

Swamimalai is  an embodiment of  the motifs of fertility, eternal youthfulness and wisdom that are essential in life. Here, the god of wisdom is believed to impart immortality and eternal bliss to the devotees..

Swaminathaswamy temple,Swamimalai,

Sage  Bhrugu, before his arduous tapas or penance, got the boon that anybody disturbing his penance will forget all his knowledge. The frightened  devas over his intense penance which caused a lot of unbearable  heat, requested  Lord Siva to stop the penance. The Lord put out  the sacred fire by covering the saint's head by hand but because of the boon the Lord lost his knowledge and later regained them at this shrine by learning the Pranava mantra from none other than Lord Muruga, his son.

Lord Shiva learned the exposition from him and then only he released Brahma. Lord Karthikaya explained the meaning of Pranavam to Shiva, the cosmic dancer. 
Entrance, Swaminathaswamytemple,Swamimalai,.dinamalar.com
Another legend has it that once Muruga imprisoned Brahma, the Hindu God of creation for his misbehavior and  for not giving proper explanation to the meaning of Pranava Mantra ''OM.'' As Brahma was not able to do his duty of creation, the world came to a standstill. A chaotic situation was brewing. At last, Lord Shiva learned the exposition from Muruga and then only he released Brahma.
The place where the temple is located  is a delta area and there are no out-crops of rocks. Nor are there small hills. The temple is built on an artificial hillock of about sixty feet height with sixty  stone steps representing  sixty ''Tamil years''  leading to the Lord's shrine. In the ground floor there are temples dedicated to Lord Sundareswarer and Goddesss Meenakshi. During the Anglo-French war between Hyder Ali and British in 1740, the temple was  badly damaged and subsequently it was repaired.
The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.,

Navaratri festival in May, Skanda  Shashti festival in October; Tiru Karthikai festival in Nov/December; TaippÅ«sam  festival in January; and Pankuni  Uttiram festival in March are some of the festivals worthy of mention and they are conducted with devotion and religious fervor.  The annual Vaikasi Visagam festival attracts  thousands of devotees from far and near. Soorasamharam annual - festival slaying of demon Soorapadman  by  Karthikaya (Muruga) created by lord Shiva is the most attended festival in this temple. 

Swamimalai is 5 km from  Kumbakonam on the banks of a tributary of the  river  Cauvery and is about one kilometer from  Thiruvalanchozhi bus stop on Thanjavur-Kumbakonam route. 

At Thiruvalanchozhi there is a famous big temple dedicated to  Vinayagar. The temple has beautiful stone sculptures and beautifully carved, ornate pillars.