Tiruchendur Murugan Temple

Tiruchendur is the second abode of the six chosen spots of Lord Muruga, as described by Nakkirar, the famous Tamil poet. It is situated 40 km south of Tuticorin along the beautiful shores of the Bay of Bengal. It is said that Lord Muruga camped here along with his army to defeat the demon, Surapadma. It is for this reason that this place has become one of the “Padai Veedu”, meaning, the battle camp.

The other names for Tiruchendur are Thirucheeralaivai, Jayanthipuram, Thirubhuvana Maadevi and Chathurvedi Mangalam.

The glory of South India Pilgrimage has been praised by Nakkirar in his poem, Thirumurugatrupadai and in other Tamil works like Purananooru, Silapathikaram and Devaram. Another famous Tamil poet, Arunagirinathar has compared Tiruchendur with Thirukailai, the abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas.

Temple Structure

Normally, the Raja Gopuram will be in the eastern side of temples in South India Temple. But in Tiruchendur alone the Raja Gopuram is in the western side. It is said that the Raja Gopuram was not erected on the eastern side since the sea is very close in the eastern side. The basement will not be strong as it is near the sea and there is a possibility of danger to the tower due to sea erosion.

First Prakaram

When we enter the first prakaram, we can see the shrine of Kumara Vidanga Peruman in the left. He is the processional festival deity of Lord Arumuga Nainar. Proceeding further, we can see the 63 Nayanmars and Thogai Adiyars in the left and Dakshina Moorthy on the right. The next three pillars are embellished with the figures of Kasi Swami, Mauna Swami and Desika Moorthy Swami, the people who brought about the temple thiruppanis.

Next to them is the grand Valliamman shrine, beautifully decorated with marble slabs. Behind this shrine are the shrines of Sankara Narayanar Swami,Visalaksi Amman, Vethapuriswarar Swami, Vathapuriswarar Swami, Yegambaranathar Swami decorated with marble slabs stands near Valliamman Shrine and in between them is the Yagasalai. We can worship Lord Chandeeswarar at the northern side of the prakaram and the shrines of Natarajar, Saneeswarar and Bairavar are on the opposite side.

Maha Mandapam

By moving through the Maha Mandapam in two ways, we can worship both the Moolavar (Lord Balasubramanian) and Lord Arumuga. From a spot called Maniyadi, we can worship Lord Balasubramanian. Opposite to Maniyadi, Parvathi Amman and Kariyamanicka Vinayagar can be seen. Veerabagu Devar is at the left and Veera Mahendra Devar is at the right side of the Moolavar.

Second Prakaram

In this prakaram, a small Dakshinamoorthy image is at the southern side. At the western end of the prakaram is Noottretu Lingas, or the 108 Lingas. The shrine for Soora Samhara Moorthy is situated next to the108 Lingas and also the shrine of Arunagirinathar, author of Tiruppugazh, is situated in this prakaram. Next to it is the flight of steps leading to Mela Gopuram. Mela Vasal Vinayagar is seated opposite to these steps. At the northern side of the prakaram,the shrine for Perumal is situated. Here Perumal is in a standing position. Next to this shrine, in the Santhanasala rock, we can worship Lord Ranganathar in a lying posture and Goddess Gajalakshmi by his side. Also we can see Sridevi, Boodevi, Neeladevi and the images of 12 Alwars.

Shanmugha Vilasa Mandapam

The principal entrance to the temple faces south. The magnificent Shanmugha Vilasam is the front extension to the main temple. The mandapam is 120 feet long, 86 feet broad and supported by 124 columns. Those who observe fasting, stay in this mandapam where sea breeze blows refreshingly. This mandapam was originally made of white stones. It was later renovated with granite stones by Mauna Swamigal. The granite roof of the mandapam, without the support of pillars, bears testimony to the excellent architectural technology of the ancient days. Looking from the Shanmugha Vilasa Mandapam one can worship Lord Senthilandavar with his consorts in the Maha Mandapam.

Priya Harrison

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