It is situated about Eight kilometers(5 miles) west of Kumbakonam on the banks of a tributary of river Cauvery. It is well connected to and surrounded by important places like Mayiladuthurai, Papanasam, Tanjore and Kumbakonam.

Swamimalai, is fourth among the Six Sacred Shrines devoted to Lord Muruga. Here is the place where Lord Muruga, the Legend propounded the meaning of “Om”, the Sacred Pranava Mantra to His Father Lord Shiva, and thus assumed the title Swaminatha(“Lord of Lords”).

Once when Brahma, the Lord of all creations was proceeding to Kailasa, the ever-playful child Lord Muruga asked him for the meaning of the Pranava OM. When Brahma admitted his ignorance, the Lord imprisoned him. With Brahma imprisoned, all creations came to a standstill and Devas prayed to Lord Siva to get Brahma released.

When Muruga insisted that the imprisonment was a just punishment for the ignorance of Brahma, Lord Siva asked him whether he himself knew the meaning of the primordial Pranava OM. Lord Muruga said that he knew the meaning of OM and can expound it to the end only if he can accept him as guru and listen to the exposition as a devoted disciple. As Lord Siva agreed to the request of Lord Muruga and heard the exposition of OM as a disciple, thus this place is known as Swamimalai and the presiding deity as Swaminathan.

The temple, situated on a hill, has an impressive statue of Murugan in the sanctum. He has an elephant as his vehicle instead of the typical peacock.

This small village is also an important centre for Bronze casting, where artisans still use traditional methods to create beautiful images for temples.