Thiruchendur Murugan Temple

Arruppadai Veedu is something that is sacred and very close to the hearts of devotees and followers of Murugan (Lord Subrahmanya). You can click here to know more about the Arruppadaiveedu Yatra presented by Pureprayer. Arruppadaiveedu are the places where Murugan conducted campaign against a demon king “Surapadman” and defeated him. This is popular as Surasamhara. In honor of Murugan’s victory, temples of Murugan have been built in these six places. The six sacred places are Palani, Swamimalai, Thiruttani, Thiruchendur and Palamudircholai and Thirupparamkundram.

Let’s continue our Yatra of SpiRitual Journeys with Thiruchendur Murugan Temple and learn about this Kshetra.

Where is Thiruchendur Murugan Temple?

Thiruchendur Murugan temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya is situated on the shores of Bay of Bengal about 60 km from Tirunelveli of Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) district in Tamil Nadu state. Thiruchendur temple is the only shrine among the six Aarruppadai temples situated on the sea shore. Another interesting aspect about the temple is, the Raja Gopuram is located to the western side of the temple-complex.

The proponent of Advaita philosophy Sri Adi Shankaracharya, is said to have had Darshan of Lord Subrahmanya in this temple and created the Subrahmanya Bhujanga Stotram. A stanza in the Subrahmanya Bhujanga Storam is like this:

O son of Parameshwara!
O merciful Lord,
When you have twelve large eyes stretching to your ears,
What can you lose by casting a side glance at me for a minute?

ವಿಶಾಲೇಷು ಕರ್ಣಾನ್ತದೀರ್ಘೇಷ್ವಜಸ್ರಂ

ದಯಾಸ್ಯನ್ದಿಷು ದ್ವಾದಶಸ್ವೀಕ್ಷಣೇಷು ।

ಮಯೀಷತ್ಕಟಾಕ್ಷಃ ಸಕೃತ್ಪಾತಿತಶ್ಚೇ-

ದ್ಭವೇತ್ತೇ ದಯಾಶೀಲ ಕಾ ನಾಮ ಹಾನಿಃ ॥

What is the legend of Sri Adi Shankaracharya visiting the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple?

Sri Shankaracharya was once going through a phase of ill health due to evil acts of a rival. He visited Tiruchendur Murugan temple as ordered by Lord Shiva of Tirukokarnam. Kokarneswarar Temple of Thirukokarnam is about five kilometres from the town of Pudukkottai in the Tamil Nadu. When he reached the Murugan temple sanctum, he saw a serpent worshipping the deity. Inspired by this devotion of the serpent he created the Subrahmanya Bhujangam. Also, he was cured of his physical ailments.

What is the history of Thiruchendur?

Sindhupuram, Jayantipuram, Thiruchentil are some of the previous names for Thiruchendur. The name Thiruchendur has been mentioned in the works of Arunagirinathar as early as 15th Century CE. Sindhupuram is due to the proximity of the sea. Jayantipuram may be due to the victory of Lord Subrahmanya over the demon Surapadma.

Puranic Background:

Skanda Purana is dedicated to the birth of Lord Kartikeya (Murugan) to conduct Surasamharam. Lord Subrahmanya (Murugan) conducted campaign against a demon king called “Surapadman” and defeated him at six places. The present day region of Thiruchendur was one of these. The sands of the region was so bloodied due to the fierce battle, the sand turned deep red. Hence the place was called Senthur (Meaning: Red colored).

Subrahmanya ordered the architect Maya to construct a temple for Lord Shiva in order to worship and consecrated ‘Jagannatha Shivalingam’ here. Maya carved the temple from a portion of Gandhamadana Parvat that fell here.

Historical Background:

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is a very ancient temple whose origins take us back to Medieval Cholas. The temple has been constructed in Dravidian style. The temple endured Dutch occupancy in 17th Century CE. They even took away the Utsava Murthy (Procession deity) as booty. When they encountered bad weather in the high seas, they threw the idol into the sea. The seas calmed and the idol was recovered by Vadamalaiyappa Pillai a few years later.

Temple Architecture:

Thiruchendur Murugan temple is spread over an area of about two acres. The temple has been constructed in Dravidian style of architecture. The nine-story Mel Gopuram (Raja Gopuram) in the west that rises to a height of 137 feet was built in 17th Century CE. The temple has three Prakarams (Meaning: Corridors). Main entrance faces south direction. Shanmukhavilas Mantap is in the entrance tower. This consists of 120 stone pillars. A saint known as Mauna Swamygal renovated this Mantap with granite stones. First Prakaram is called Sivilli Mantapam. A shrine dedicated to Lord Venkatesha is in the Prakaram. Gaja Lakshmi is also installed here. Sri Ranganatha Swamy complete with Bhudevi and Neeladevi in the adjacent shrine. Brahma the creator appears on the lotus from Ranganatha’s navel. Vasanta Mantap is a recent addition to the temple-complex. Vasanta festival of ten days is celebrated here with the mantapa gaily decorated to suit the occasion.

There are four inscriptions erected during the rule of Pandyan dynasty. Two of them are from the period of 9th Century CE.  The other two belong to 13th Century CE.

Nazhi-Kinaru:

The Pond inside the temple premises is called Nazhi-Kinaru. This consists of two water-springs one inside the other. The inner spring is a source of fresh water with a delectable sweet taste. The water in the outer spring is saline in nature. It is said that, Murugan’s army was very thirsty during the Surasamharam campaign. They requested Murugan for drinking water. He used his weapon here and fresh water sprang up. The weary warriors quenched their thirst.

Valli’s Cave or Dattatreya’s Cave

A small cave temple dedicated to Srivalli is situated towards the sea shore attached to the temple walls. A beautiful Mantap built with 16 stone pillars is in the front of the shrine. Image of Srivalli has been carved on the cave wall in the passage.

When is the best time to visit the temple?

Winter period from October to February is said to be pleasant and highly conducive to visit Thiruchendur Murugan temple. However, devotees visit the temple throughout the year. Days with stars of Krittika, Vishaka and days of Shashthi, Karteekmaas among many others attract a lot of devotees to the temple.

What are the festivals in Thiruchendur Murugan temple?

Annual festival is performed during the Skanda Shashthi that occurs in Margasheershmaas (Tamil: Margali). This is a seven day event. Surasamharam is performed on the sixth day and Subrahmanya Kalyanotsav is performed on the seventh and concluding day. This apart, many festivities are performed throughout the year. Brahmotsavam performed during the Phalgunmaas (Tamil: Maasi) is a twelve day event. Three cars are pulled during this festival on tenth day. During Shravanmaas (Tamil: Avani), the festivals take place for twelve days with participation of devotees in huge numbers.

What is nearby Thiruchendur Murugan Temple?

Murugan temple of Kurukuthurai:

Murugan temple of Kurukuthurai located about 63 km from Thiruchendur Murugan temple is a must visit temple. It is believed that the main deity of this temple and that installed in Thiruchendur were the works of same sculptor. Also, when the Utsav Murthy stolen by Dutch was recovered from the seas, the newly made deity was sent to Murugan temple of Kurukuthurai.

This temple erected by Nayaks of Madurai is believed to have withstood the ravages of flooding by Tamraparni River many times.

Panchalamkurichi fort:

Panchalamkurichi fort is located about 64 km from Thiruchendur Murugan temple. This is a fort rebuilt in memory of Kattabomman Veera Pandyan. The original fort was destroyed by British. Kattabomman was hanged in the year 1799. The same year when Tipu Sultan of Mysore was slain.

Concludes

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