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Temples of Lord Muruga in India Temples of Lord Muruga in India
Temples of Lord Muruga in India Introduction Legend
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THIRUCHENDUR (Thirucheer alaivai)
Arulmighu Sendhil Andavar Thiru Kovil

Thiruchendur Sendhil Andavar Temple - One of the most sacred temples of Lord Muruga
Thiruchendur or Thirucheer alaivai , a holy place near Thirunelveli, in Tamilnadu - South India, houses one of the most sacred temples of Lord Muruga and is the second Aarupadai Veedu . Saint poet Nakkerar, in his songs in praise of Lord Senthil Andavar, places Thiruchendur in the second place amongst the six battle places ( Arupadaiveedu ) that Lord Muruga has fought to win over evil.

The Other Temples in the Arupadai Veedu sung by Nakkeerar are:
4.Tiruthani and
A few Murugan devotees do consider that Marudamalai Murugan temple also deserves to be mentioned as one additional Padai Veedu.

The various names of the presiding deity include Senthil Andavar, Shanmugar and Arumuga Nayinar.

This holy shrine of Lord Muruga has been sung by various poets like Arunagiri Nathar and Kumara Guruparar . References to this place, are available as Senthil in Purananooru and Alaivai in Againanooru. The ancient sangam age literary work Silappathigaram hails Tiruchendur as "Kandavel Koil kondulla thalam" (Murgan's abode).
Tiruchendur has also been known by other names such as Tirucheer Alaivai, Senthil Jayanthi, Kanda Madana Parvatham, Veeravaghupattinam and Vyazha kshethram. The name Vyazha Kshethram comes after the worship by Vyazha bhagavan or Jupiter God at this shrine.
Legend has it that Lord Senthil Andavar fought a battle to win over the demon Soorapadhman (commonly referred to as the Soorasamharam) and his army, on the seashore at Tiruchendur. While all other temples of Arupadaiveedu are located on hilltops, Tiruchendur Murugan temple is the only shrine located on seashore.

It was ordained by lord Shiva, to whom Lord Arumugan is born, that Skanda would triumph over the evil prevailing in the form of demon Soorapadhman. Murugan camped on the seashores of Tiruchendur and won the battle against Soorapadman (Surapaduman). The battle of Soora samharam is depicted very well through paintings that adorn the walls of Skanda at Tiruchendur.

The battle was fought to kill the arrogance and ego of the demon who thought that he was invincible. Soorapaduman is known to have taken many forms during the battle to deceit the Murugan. At the end of the battle, Soorapadhman is torn into two pieces from which emerges the Seval or Cock, which became the flag of the Kandan, the other piece becoming the peacock or Mayil, which become his vehicle or vahanam. Lord Senthil Andavar is believed to have worshipped lord Shiva at the temple built by Mayan, the sculptor of the Devas, before and after the battle. Thus was born the mayilvahanam and the name of Mayil Vahanan for Muruga himself.

Near Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu in South India Tiruchendur Murugan temple is located along the seashore.

The Rajagopuram of the temple, renovated in the 1930's, is a towering structure, visible to the sailors and fishermen, from several miles away. Measuring to a height of over 130 feet, the majestic gopuram is made up of nine tiers. Several legends are embedded in the icons that glorify the temple tower. One notable mythology is that of the churning of the ocean by the Devas (Sura) on one side and the Asuras (Demons) on the other side, using the Kali python as the rope. The episode is known as "Kali Manthan" in Hindi and points to the extraction of the Amritham that is nectar, which prevents death. This episode is normally overlooked by the pilgrims. A close look up of this is exquisitely video graphed in the CD ROM titled Arupadaiveedu - A Multimedia ecstasy a CD ROM / VCD on Muruga by Cybervalley Systems , India (

Thundukai Vinayagar, the lord who destroys all obstacles, has a sanctum on the approach path to the temple of Skanda. It is widely followed that Lord Muruga with his Vel or lance, created a never drying rivulet that flows with water now called as Nazhi Kinaru. Muruga Bakthas cleanse themselves in the Skanda Pushkarini before entering the sanctum sanctorium of the Tiruchendur Murugan Temple. Vasantha Mandapam is a living testimony to the architecture of the designers.

The valli gugai or Valli cave in the premises nearby houses the sannithi for Valli, Murugan's consort and for Lord Dattathreya. Entering the Murugan temple through the Shanmuga Vilasa mandapam, one gets enchanted by the 124 pillars that stand as testimony to the architecture and craftsmanship that prevailed then.

One gets enthralled by the sculptures of Shanmugar (Shanmuka), Subrahmanyar, Natarajar and Ganapathi, each carved out from a single rock. Sivili mandapam can be reached in the second ring or "praharam" with access to the Kanda Madana Parvatham - a rock carving housing the lord of seven hills - Venkatachalapathi. Idols of the 63 nayanmars, Valli, Deivayani and Karaikala Ammaiyar take us to the mythological past. There is a special depiction of Lord Murugan's battle with Surapadman, which shows Lord Muruga piercing the demon Surapadman with his lance.

The moolavar at Tiruchendur has four arms holding a rudhraksha malai and his lance or Vel, noticeably missing, as he is known to be worshipping Shiva Lingam.

Many of those who migrated away from India, be it the early settlers in South Africa or the tech-savvy migrants to US - the first generation who have lord Murugan in their hearts find it difficult to pass on this spiritual shield to their children who grow up in alien lands.

Keeping this in mind, Cybervalley Systems has brought out a CD-ROM titled ARUPADAIVEEDU - A MULTIMEDIA ECSTASY that can play on all PCs and select VCD players. It is a multimedia title covering a group of six most sacred temples of Lord Muruga - popularly known as Arupadaiveedu - in south India.

With well researched contents, covering vital details like spiritual significance of the place, legends, puranas, history, festivals and spiritual events, this CD ROM presents a detailed coverage of the temple premises. It also exquisitely brings to life, many pujas and utsavams of Lord Karthikeya - like...

- Thiruparamkundram : Soora Samharam, Chariot Festival and Laksha archana (worship to Lord Muruga by hundred thousand names)
- Thiruchendur : Swing Festival (Oonjal Sevai - where Lord Muruga swings with his consort in a highly tranquill atmosphere)
- Palani : The Golden Chariot Festival (A very famous occation in which golden image of the Lord goes around the temple in Gold Plated Chariot)
- Swamimalai : The Soora Vahana Festival (Lord Muruga is seated above the Asura Soorapadhman and is taken around the temple)
- Thiruthani : Mirror Festival (Kannadi Sevai - where the Lord's Six faces are exposed through a mirror and worshipped)
- Pazhamudhircholai : Bathing Festival (Abhishekam - where the Lord's image is bathed in several holy waters, amidst the veda chanting - Sri Rudhram and Chamakam)

Such rare footages produce spiritual ecstasy in one's mind, even if they are viewed repeatedly !

Peace and tranquility are the possible benefits of viewing the CD contents - be it in a group during small functions or alone- in solitude in the background of darkness. For kids- it will be as much fun as watching the cartoons - if only the parents take time to explain the CD contents to their kids with some interest.

To know more about the CD ROM - Click here
To view some of the screenshots from this CD ROM - Click here
To download a demo of this CD ROM - Click here
To purchase this CD ROM - Click here

The Pandiya kings who ruled Madurai and greatly patronized the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, are known to have contributed to the Temple construction at Tiruchendur. The dynasty that served includes Ugira Pandiyan, Marravarman and Vikrama Pandian. The heirs of Veerapandiya Kattobomman worshipped at the Tiruchendur Shanmugar swamy sannithi, the sanctum that is still available as evidence.

It is widely believed that temple's history includes an episode with the Dutch sometime in the 17th century. The icon of Lord Murugan, worshipped at Tiruchendur, over several centuries was carried away by the Dutch who were sailing back. Thunder and storm lead the Dutch to jettison the idol in the sea. Later, a dream that appeared to one of the local Muruga bakthar triggered the search for the idol, which was then recovered and restored. The pictures in the Tiruchendur temple walls also depict Lord Skandavel being worshipped by the local Collector Washington, one of the European leaders during the foreign rule in India. He generously donated silver to the temple.

The King of Tiruvankoor Samasthanam, Maharaja Marthandavarma of Travancore was an ardent devotee who donated greatly in kind and cash to this Murugan temple at Tiruchendur. He patronized this Senthil Andavar shrine and instituted the "Ettukala Pujai".

The stala vriksham for Thiruchendur temple is the Amla tree( Nellimaram) .

Saravana Theertham (Nazhi Kinaru)

Daily pujas to the deities are performed six times a day (six kalams). Forenoon : Ushat Kalam, Kalasandhi and Uchikala poojas are performed in the and the afternoon poojas commencing from Sayaratchai and Rendam kalam are concluded with Arthajama pooja in the night.

Thai pusam or Thai Poosam and Panguni Uthiram are celebrated with grandeur. Falling on the day of Poosam star, during the month of Thai - sometime during the end of January, Thai Pusam, is a Murugan festival celebrated all over the world. Notable is the festival at Patu caves in Kuala Lumpur where over one million Muruga Bakthar visit the shrine for Thai Pusam.

The battle of Lord Muruga with Soorapadman is enacted to the fervor of the Muruga Bakthas in the Tamil month of Masi at Tiruchendur ending with the marriage of Lord Murugan with Deivayanai (Devanai).

Azhvar Thirunagari
Rotary Club of Tiruchendur

Links to Tour & Travel Agencies
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Links to sites with details of Thiruchendur Hotels and Lodges
Tamilnadu tourism