A MAJOR PILGRIMAGE centre, Palani is situated on the edge of the great Vyapuri Tank. Its hilltop Subrahmonyam Temple is the most famous of the six abodes of Murugan, the son of Shiva, who is said to have come here disguised as a mendicant after quarreling over a fruit with his brother, Ganesha. Popularly known as Dandayutha Pani (“Bearer of the Staff’), Murugan is depicted with a clean shaven head, holding a stick. His image is made of medicinal herbs, mixed together to create a wax-like substance. During the Thaipoosam festival, the temple attracts thousands of pilgrims, many of whom shave their heads as an act of worship. An electric cable car takes devotees up the 600 steps to the hill shrine. Palani is also a base for hikes in the surrounding hills.