Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Subrahmanyar||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||5 to 12 & 1 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Arupadai veedu||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruchendur||District:||Thoothukudi|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Thoothukudi (43 km)||Tirunelveli (66 km)|
|Kanyakumari (97 km)||Nagercoil (103 km)|
Tiruchendur is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, in the southern coastal town of Tiruchendur.
Sthala puranam and temple information
The Tiruchendur Subrahmanyar temple is the second of six Arupadai Veedu temples dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is also the only one of those six, that is not on a hill or hillock. This temple also boasts of an extended Kanda Sashti festival, lasting 12 days, compared to the usual 6 or 7 days in most other places.
Soorapadman, an asura, performed various austerities and obtained a boon from Siva, which made him very powerful. As a result, he took over all three worlds and began ill-treating everyone including the Devas, Rishis and Celestials, who went to Siva and begged him to save them. A boon once given cannot be taken back, and so Siva created six powerful sparks out of his third eye, which were carried by the six Krittikas, and became Kartikeya (Subrahmanyan, both being names for Murugan). Lord Murugan defeated Soorapadman on the sixth day (Sashti) of the Tamil month Karthikai. This incident is supposed to have taken place at Tiruchendur. Each year, this day (is celebrated as Kanda Sashti / Soora Samharam, and is a significant festival in Hinduism. Murugan’s lance split Soorapadman (who had taken the form of a tree) in two – one half became his vehicle (the peacock) and the other the cockerel (mascot on Murugan’s flag).
Before the fight with Soorapadman, Lord Murugan obtained information about his adversary from Guru bhagavan, because of which this temple is considered a Guru sthalam.
After defeating Soorapadman, Lord Subramanya asked Viswakarma to build a temple, and installed a Siva lingam. To this day, the first puja is performed to this Lingam before puja to Murugan. The Lingam is hidden in darkness behind the moolavar and is visible only during deeparadanai. There are pancha Lingams installed next the moolavar sannidhi.
In the Kanda Purana of the Mahabharatham, two other causes are indicated for the celebration of the Kanda Sashti festival, apart from Murugan’s victory over Soorapadman. Once a few sages conducted a yaaga (sacred fire worship) in order to get a son for the welfare of the world. It was begun on the New Moon Day and went on for six days. From the sacrificial fire, six seeds erupted (one each day), and Lord Muruga was born on the sixth day, when all these six seeds were made as one.
Another version of the legend suggests that after getting his daughter Devasena married off to Murugan (as a result of Murugan vanquishing Soorapadman), Indra served Murugan by becoming a peacock (Murugan’s vehicle).
The Sangam poet Nakkeerar has sung Murugatrupadai on Lord Murugan here.
Other information for your visit
Tiruchendur has some budget and small accommodation options of late, considering the increasing pilgrimage and tourist traffic into the town. Alternatively, accommodation can also be found at Tirunelveli (budget and mid-range) located about 55km away, and Thoothukudi (budget / small) located about 40 km away.