Once Swamiji had an enchanting vision. He saw hills all around. A streamlet was flowing below. From the hills on e could see villages and green fields. Lord Skanda told Swamiji that it was there that He would like to reside.
Swamiji used to narrate this vision to devotees. One day in 1966 a devotee presented an idol of Dandayudhapani to Swamiji. But did really such a spot exist as seen in the vision?
In 1967 a devotee informed Swamiji that there did exist such a spot. With him Swamiji visited Udayapatti village which is five miles from Salem on the Athur Road. He could not believe his eyes. To the minutest detail his dream was found transformed into reality there.
The site belonged to the government which is supposed to be secular. People feared that the government would not sell the land for building a temple. Even if it agreed, it would take a long time on account of red tape to get its consent and would involve a mass of correspondence shutting between the parties. However, a petition was sent.
Miracles do happen even now. In a week the government issued orders handing over the land to Swamiji. That year he arranged for lighting Skanda Jyoti. The hill near Udayapatti got the name of Skandagiri. It is surrounded by three hills giving the impression that Sri Dandapani is surrounded by Trimurtis. Coconut trees, green valleys and flowerbeds add to the scenic beauty of the place. The atmosphere is peaceful and is conductive to penance and meditation. A rivulet known as Kannimar Odai flows at the foot of the hill. There is a temple of Kanya Devi on its bank. She blesses women devotees with good husbands and conjugal happiness.
Swamiji built a beautiful temple on the hill dedicated to Lord Dandapani and Goddess Durga. A big hall for discourses and a guest house also were built. On the southern and northern sides there are temples for Vinayaka and Hidimba respectively. The main temple has a large number of idols of Vyasa, Sankara; Madhva, Ramanuja, the four great ‘Nayanmars’ (Saivite saints), etc.
Skandhashramam in Udayappettai, Salem was established in 1968.
The installation of Skandhamatha and Sri Jnana Skandha Guru and Kumbhabishekam was performed in 1971.
Skandhamatha is Maa AshtadasaBhuja Mahalakshmi Durga that is Maa Chandi as per the Murti Rahasyam of Devi Mahathmyam. Skandhashramam was later expanded with the installation of Panchamukha Anjaneya, Heramba (Pancha Mukha) Ganapathi, Dattatreya, and Swarnakarshana Bhiravar.
The importance of the temple is that both the presiding deities Muruga and Devi stand face to face. As a result of this, Lord Muruga possesses immense powers because He faces His Mother. Hence, offering prayers to Muruga here is believed to be very good for the attainment of knowledge. Muruga is to be worshipped first followed by a darshan to Devi. Devi possesses eighteen hands and is also known as ‘Ashtadasa’. She has numerous weapons in Her hands.
Then we see the Navagrahas along with their respective wives around the sanctum sanctorum. Around the temple are also painted sayings of SAthguru Santhananda Swamigal in Tamil. These are with regard to how human beings should behave and live peacefully in the world. Apart from the above, there is a prayer hall. There is also a yagasala where Ganapati homam is performed daily. The yagasala has huge figures of flames of homams around it. There are also shrines of Panchamukha Anjaneya, Panchamukha Ganapati, Swarnakarshanabhairavar (Bhairavar with His Consort), outside the sanctum sanctorum.
There are many unique features in skandhashramam.
1. There are Murtis for the Navagrahas with their consorts established around the temple for skandha.
2. There are murtis of all the Hindu Saints inluding Sri Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi.
3. There are frescoes of the Eighteen Siddhas in the new Homa mandapam.
A big homa mandapam was later constructed.
Salem Skandhashramam _ Important Events
Prathishtas and Kumbabhishekams
31/10/1969 – Establishment of the Yajurveda patasaala.
08/02/1971 – Sri AshtadasaBhuja Mahalakshmi Durga and Sri Jnana Skandha Guru (Thandapani) shila vigraha prathishta Maha Kumbhabishekam.
Nithya Chandi Homam for 48 days and Satha Chandi Homam on the concluding day.
01/09/1974 – Panchamukha Anjaneya (16 ft in height) shila vigraha prathishta.
05/09/1975 – Sri Dattatreya Bagavan (16 ft in height) shila vigraha prathishta
It is situated on a small Hillock, 2kms away from udayapatti of Salem Town. This lies in Salem-Attur route. It was planned by Om Shri. Santhananda Swamigal in May 1968, and he executed it in the form of a temple by name Skandasramam and its Maha Kumbabisekam took place on 08.02.1971. In the Maha Mandapam, we see Shri Ashta Dasapuja Mahalakshmi Durga Parameswari, who is also known as Skandamatha and opposite to Durga, there stands the grand, attractive, and smilling Murthi by name Gnanaskandan (Bala Dandayudha Pani). Both are in standing pospure. Besides, in the outer premises of the northern side of Maha Mandapam one can see the astonishing statues of 16′ Shri Panchmuga Anjaneyar and Shri Panchamuga Vinayagar. They reveal the greatness and spiritual attitude of Om Shri Santhananada Swamigal. Skanthasramam is in the form of Linga. There are nine important points in the Linga form of the temple, they donote (1) Datta Bhagawan (2) Danvanthri (3) Swarnakarshana Bairavar (4) Panchamuga Ganapathi (5) Panchamuga Anjaneyar (6) Gnana Skanda Gurunathan (7) Skanthamatha (8) Magangal Mandapam (9) Skanda Jothi. Besides these 9 points on the top of the Linga form, it is predicted as the adobe of Ganga, in between the 3rd and 5th point there is Gomuki. On the right and left side of Ganga there are moon and sun respectively. In the eastern side of the temple, there runs “Kannimar Odai” (Stream). As it flows towards north, it is also known as “Utharavahini”. By the side of the stream there is the goddess “Kannimar Amman”. In praise of Lord Skanda, SkandaguruKavacham” is being recited by the devotes. Skanda denotes the child sitting on the lap of Parvathi and Parameshwaran. As Skandan ordered the Swamigal in his dream to build a temple, it is called as Skandasramam.
At 8.00 A.M. daily, Abisekam takes place and at 11.00 A.M. special Pooja is being performed. No camphor is used and no Archanai is done by the devotees. Everyone is blessed by Skanda and his beloved mother Skanda Matha. There is a separate “Yaga Sala” where Yagnas are conducted on special occasions like Navarathri, Panguni Uthram, Vaikasi Visakam etc. The credit goes to Om Shri Shanthananda Swamigal, the founder of Skandasramam. His original name being Subramaniam, his Guru Shri Senthamangalam Avathuda Swamigal named him as Santhananda. The goddess Durga gives ‘Santham’ and Lord Skanda gives ‘Anandam’. Both Santham and Anandam combine together and bless the devotees with Santhanandam, which co-incides with the name of the founder Om Shri Santhananda Swamigal.
Sri Skandasramam, Salem by Dr. Sivagami Paramasivam