Thiruchendur Murugan Temple
Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is one of the most famous Lord Muruga Temples situated at Thiruchendur, 55 km south east of Tirunelveli, in Tuticorin district, Tamilnadu. Thiruchendur temple is located on the shore of the Bay of Bengal and presents an awesome visual with wonderful natural setting around it.
Thiruchendur temple is the second of the six abodes (Arupadaiveedu) of Lord Murugan, other five being Palani Temple, Swamimalai Temple, Thiruthani Murugan Temple, Pazhamudircholai Muruga Temple and Thiruparamkunram Temple. The main deity is also worshipped by various names such as Subramanya, Senthil Andavar, Shanmugar and Arumuga Nayinar
History of the temple
A demon by name Surapadma with his pride and arrogance caused trouble to mankind and captured many Devas. The Devas pleaded with Lord Shiva to save them from the tortures of Surapadma. Lord Shiva opened his third eye to create a son called Murugan to fight against Surapadma. He camped on the seashores of Tiruchendur and won the battle against Surapadman. A temple was constructed at Thiruchendur for Lord Murugan to commemorate this victory.
Structure of Thiruchendur Murugan temple
The unique feature of this temple is that the Raja gopuram (main tower) is on the western side, whereas normally Raja gopuram is built on the eastern side of all temples. This tower measures130 ft high and has nine stories with nine Kalasams at the top of the gopuram. The main entrance of the temple faces south. As you enter from south you find a huge Shanmugha Vilasa mantapam reminding us of the ancient architectural glory.
There are three prakarams in the temple. Siddhi Vinayaga Peruman temple, also known as Thundukai Vinayagar temple is located in the first prakaram. On the west one can see 108 SivaLingas, worshipped as Mahadevars. You will also find Vallapa Vinayagar, Lord Ranganathar and Perumal Sannidhi around the first prakaram. A copper-plated flagstaff is erected in the middle of the eastern side of the first prakaram.
There are Vira Marthandar and Virakesari idols at the entrance of second prakaram on either side. Small shrines of Kumaravidanga Peruman, Dakshina Murti temple and Goddess Valliammai are placed around this prakaram. The divine bedroom called Palli arai is found in Valliammai sannidhi. There is a special Yaga Salai Mandapam constructed to hold Yaga Pujas during Skanda Shasti Festival.
Once you enter the inner chamber, you find the main deity Lord Muruga, carved beautifully in black granite. The Pancha Lingas that Lord Muruga worshipped are seen behind him.
Traveling to Thiruchendur
The temple is located about 640 km from Madras (Chennai), 60 km from Tirunelveli and 80 km from Kanyakumari. By road, you can go by the scenic ECR road from Tuticorin. There are frequent bus services to Thiruchendur from all important places of Tamilnadu. It is also connected by frequent train services from the nearest Tirunelveli Junction. If you are taking an air route, Madurai is the nearest airport.