Bharat Stories
Light of Knowledge

Tiruchendur Murugan Temple

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By Smitakshi Guha

Located in the district of Thoothukudi in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Tiruchendur is a small yet popular temple town, widely renowned for housing the famous Tiruchendur Murugan Temple, which happens to be one among the six heavenly abodes of Lord Muruga, a popular Hindu deity, prominently significant in south India.

When it comes to the origination of the name of the place, it is said that since this is the very land where Lord Muruga had fought and defeated Surapadma, the Asura King, the ground here had become completely red due to the brutal bloodshed from the battle. This fact gave the place the first name “Senthur” which in literal translation means “a red place,” and since it was the battleground for the popular Lord, it got the honorary prefix “Tiru” to its name, thus, Tiruchendur was coined.

Literally, the prefix “Tiru” means sacred, holy, and divine, and in south Indian culture, it is used for many deities, such as Tiruvannamalai: for Lord Shiva, Thirumayam: for both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, Tirunallar: for Lord Shani Eshwaran, Tirukkaruvagur: for Lord Garbharaksham, Tiruporur: for Lord Muruga, Thirumayilai: for Lord Adikeshava Perumal, so on and so forth.

Long ago, Dutch pirates had stolen the idol of the lord from the temple after illicitly acquiring it alongside the Portugese Church here during their invasion. It is said that the moment they tried to run away with the idol, a massive storm showed up, forcing them to drop the idol in the sea, and soon after the storm stopped. The devotees were shattered to know that the holy idol was now lost. However, it is believed that Vadamaliyappa Pillai, an ardent devotee of Lord Muruga saw Senthilandavan in his dream and was informed about the exct spot in the sea where the lost idol could be found. The dream indeed turned out to be true as when fishermen and divers got to the spot, they did manage to retrieve the idol.

Other than the famous Lord Muruga Temple, the place also has many other popular temples such as the Avathara Pathi, the Aazhigudi Maradachan, Sri Ponvandu Aihar Temple, and many more.

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