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Arupadaiveedu - Temples of Lord Muruga in India
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Thiruchendur - Sri Senthil Andavar Temple

Thiruchendur shore side temple 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 five Temples in the Arupadai Veedu sung by Nakkeerar are:

      1.Tiruparamkundram Subramanya Swami Temple
      2.Swamimalai Swaminatha Swami Temple
      3.Palani Dandayudhapani Swamy Temple
      4.Tiruthani Subramanya Swamy Temple and
      5.Palamudhircholai Subramanya Swamy Temple

       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.

Legends/Puranas and Mythology

       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.

Arupadai veedu - a multimedia ecstasy

       For those who are interested in exploring these temples of Lord Muruga, Cybervalley Systems has come out with a comprehensive multimedia CD-ROM/ VCD titled Arupadai veedu - a multimedia ecstasy.

       With exclusive coverage on each temple reverred to as arupadai veedu, the CD-ROM/ VCD is a must buy for all those who wish to explore the temples, legends associated, holy waters associated with the temples, various festivals and other important details which may not be available elsewhere.

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Location and Temple Precincts

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

Massive temple tower and adjascent towers of thiruchendur temple

       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 (http://www.cybervalleysystems.com).

       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.

Beautiful carvings on pillars adorn thiruchendur temple

       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.

       Holy water tank is Saravana Theertham (Nazhi Kinaru)

History of the Temple

       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".

Temple timings & Festivals

       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).

Important links

       Thirunelveli and Azhvar Thirunagari are the nearby tourist locations.

       Other places of interest include:
       Rotary Club of Tiruchendur
       http://www.shiksha.com/infobin/eng/eng_siva.htm

       Links to Tour & Travel Agencies
       chennaionline
       madura travel
       welcometoursandtravel

       Places to Stay
       tiruchendur.org
       Tamilnadu tourism
       nammalwar.tripod.com

       Other important links on Thiruparamkundram
       murugan.org
       tiruchendur.com
       tiruchenduronline.com
       templenet.com
       murugan.org
       kataragama.org
       hindubooks.org
       sivanandadlshq.org

       Links to other Murugan Temples in Arupadai Veedu:
       Tiruparamkundram
       Palani
       Swamimalai
       Tiruthani
       Pazhamudhircholai

Imbibe the spirit of devotion in your kids!

       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.

       Cybervalley Systems has brought out a CD-ROM titled Arupadaiveedu - A Multimedia Ecstasy that can play on PCs and select VCD players - a multimedia title covering the six Murugan temples of Arupadaiveedu in south India.

       This CD exquisitely brings to life the pujas and certain utsavams of Lord Karthikeya - To illustrate a few shots...
      - the ther (Temple chariot) utsavam of Thiruparamkundram Murugan;
      - the Unjal ( Swing) sevai of Tirutchendur Murugan ;
      - the Abishekam of Palamuthircholai Murugan or
      - the golden chariot of Palani
      - are some such scenes that leave a permanent impression in one's mind.

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

   (c) 2003, Cybervalley systems.All rights reserved.