Beach | Pilgrimage
At a distance of 59 km from Tirunelveli, 35 km from Tuticorin and 92 km from Kanyakumari, Thiruchendur is a small coastal town in the Toothukudi district of Tamil Nadu and is a popular pilgrimage destination situated in the Gulf of Mannar.
Thiruchendur Murugan Kovil is the prime attraction of the town. This temple is considered to be one of the six Padai Veedu (Battle Camps) of Lord Murugan, the others being Thiruparamkundram, Palani, Swamimalai, Thiruthani and Pazhamudhircholai. This temple is known as the second Padai Veedu of Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga won the battle with the demon Surapadma and worshipped Lord Shiva at this sacred place. It is believed that the temple existed since the Vedic period, as it is mentioned in many ancient scripts.
The main entrance to the temple faces south although the sanctum faces east. The 133 feet Rajagopura, built close to the shores of Bay of Bengal, is an outstanding example of Dravidian architecture. The Gopura consists of 9 storeys there are nine Kalasas at the top of the gopuram. This is the only Murugan temple situated on the sea shore. This temple was built by three holy saints.
Lord Murugan is represented in various forms in the temple, the presiding deity (Moolavar) being Balasubramanya in standing posture. The other forms are Shanmugar, Jayanthinathar, and Kumaravidanga Perumal. The temple has two large enclosures. Adjacent to the sanctum is the Panchalingam shrine in a cave like structure, where it is believed that Subramanian worships Shiva. Senthilaandavar shrine adjacent to the sanctum houses the processional images of Subramanian with his consorts. The innermost enclosure has the shrines of Aarumugaswamy, the 63 nayanmars, Natarajar, Karaikkal Ammaiyaar and others were present.
The main entrance of the temple opens into the first enclosure known as Sivili Mandapam. There is a shrine of Lord Venkateswara on the northern side of the enclosure. There is also a Nazhikkinaru on the temple premises, which is a sacred well, constructed around a fresh water spring. On the northern shore has a cave carved out of sandstone has two images dedicated to Valli and Dattatreya.
In the 17th century AD, Tiruchendur temple was occupied by the Dutch for few years and they even looted some of the idols in the temple. Legend has it that the Murugan idol was carried away in their ship. There was a sudden storm and the Dutch grew afraid and threw the idol into the sea. Vadamalaiyappa Pillai, an ardent devotee of Lord Muruga saw a vision of the idol's position in his dream. Immediately, he rushed to the spot and found a floating lemon and Garuda was flying over the spot. The idol was recovered from the deep sea at the same location.
Brahmotsavams, Vasanthothsavam, Visaka Visakam, Skandha Sashti, Aavanipperunthirunaal and Maasipperunthirunaal are the most celebrated festivals of Thiruchendur. The Swing Festival or Oonjal Sevai is also popular among the pilgrims.
Timings: 5 AM to 9 PM.