Tiruchendur – One of the 6 abodes of Lord Muruga (Aru padai veedu (in Tamil) or 6 abodes)
After a visit to our Ancestral Deity, (which you may have already read about in my blog last week), & having our meals (that is what lunch is called in South India), we started our journey to Tiruchendur (one of the 6 abodes of Lord Murugan).
PS – temples in South India are open from 5 am to 12 pm (max 1 pm) & then they remain closed until 4 pm when the darshan starts again that continues up to max 9 or 10 pm.
Tiruchendur is approximately 1.5 hours drive from Tirunelveli town. So we had to immediately start after our lunch to reach there on time & also marvel at the beautiful sea facing temple. The view is breathtaking, clean waters & beautiful peacocks to keep you company whilst you stroll around the temple.
The Six Abodes of Murugan are six temples situated in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. The Lord is known by different names such as Karthikeya, Skanda, Vadivela and Muruga at various temples. The six most sacred abodes of Murugan was mentioned in Tamil sangam literature, “Thirumurugatrupadai”, written by Nakkeerar and in “Thiruppugazh”, written by Arunagirinathar.
The 6 abodes are Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram & Thiruchendur.
The story of Lord Murugan is described in Skanda Purana. According to the legend, in the olden days the demon Soorapadman tortured the Devas, who went to complain to Lord Vishnu and Brahma. They assigned Kamadeva to awake Lord Shiva from his penance, who later gave birth to Kartikeya. Karthikeya killed Soorapadman and saved the devas. Muruga is depicted as the god of love and war. Kartikeya married Valli by love and married Deivayanai by winning the war held at Tiruchendur.
In Tamil literature five types of lands are explained. They are Kurinji (mountainous region), Mullai (forest region), Marutham (agricultural region), Neithal (coastal region) and Palai (desert region). Separate gods for these land types are clearly told in Sangam literature. According to the literature, Lord Muruga is the God of mountainous region.
Located on the sea-shore near Tuticorin amongst the remains of Gandhamadana Parvatam or Santhanamalai (Sandal Mountain). The temple commemorates the place where Murugan won a decisive victory over demon Soorapadman by worshipping Lord Shiva.
One of the most fascinating thing about the temple is, right before you exit the temple, you can see a wall that has a small window like opening which gives u a lovely view of the sea & below that is a small hole. If you place your ears on the hole, you can hear “Om”. Though the sound is not distinct, more like vibrations but something unique.
Temple history (Courtesy temple website)
The seashore temple of Subrahmanyam at Tiruchendur is one of the delightful spots sanctified and venerated by every Hindu. As one of the first spiritual centres for the salvation of man, His shrine has been an attraction for Hindus for ages. This sacred house of God is in the extreme southwest of the Indian peninsula. The rising sun bows in adoration of it each morning as he rises from the rippling expanse of the ocean, and spreads light and life over every living object.
Bordered by the sea on the East and the North, the temple walls on these sides are washed by the foaming waves of the Gulf of Mannar. The date of the temple is hidden in the Puranic past. The nucleus of the structure however has been here for more than 2,000 years as the Tamil Classics inform us.
Lord Muruga’s association with Tiruchendur is highly significant. It is described in extenso in His epic, the Skanda Puranam. The young Muruga as the Devasenāpati vanquishes evil in the form of Surapadman. The Tamils have ever since been celebrating the event as an annual festival during Skanda Sashti.
Tiruchentil means as it does, the House of Victory. It borders the sea and has all the natural charm of a hero’s fortress. It is verily a haven of Peace and Bliss. The Tamils in this part of the peninsula have such an attraction for the place and its presiding Lord Arumuga Nayinar.
An attempt is here made to give His bhaktas all over a close account of His shrine at Tiruchendur; and with this additional desire of impressing that the Temple is one worthy of a pilgrimage in this life. The divine inspiration and His grace that the bhakta is sure to secure will more than recompense his labours.
The great and noble abode of Lord Subrahmanyam measures 300 feet north to south and 214 feet east to west.
The principal entrance of this great temple faces south, and opens into the first temple prakāra. It is Sivili Mantapa. It is a series of four long corridors running around the still inner second prakāra flanked on either with the familiar rows of columns of yalis. The Sivili Mantapa produces a fine effect of symmetry and grandeur. This prakāra 292′ 6″ north to south and 190′ east to west branches off both ways to the west and the east of this grand portal.
The western portion has a number of rooms where are lodged a few vahanam, and in another portion in the temple stores. On the opposite row is the shrine of Dakshinamurti. As the corner is reached there is a mantapa where the processional deities are given the festival alankara before starting out and when they return thereto after the processions. Here is also conducted the annual Tirukkalyānam for Valli on the Panguni Uttiram day.
How can you reach Tiruchendur?
Nearest Airport is Tuticorin. However, since our visit was from Chennai to Tirunelveli, we traveled by private vehicle from Tirunelveli to Tiruchendur which takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach. The roads are fairly good so travel is comfortable.
Many trains also halt at Tiruchendur if you plan your visit from Chennai.
If you love beaches, please plan your visit at 4 pm. That way, post darshan you can enjoy a little beach time & the gorgeous sky too before sunset. It is extremely hot during day time at the beach. The water is comparatively clean. In the evenings you can enjoy murruku (chaklis), Corn bhel, chaat items or peanuts at the beach.
Picture Courtesy of Lord Murugan at Tiruchendur – Temple website