Most Famous Temples Of Thiruchendur
feat only added to the power exuded by this temple.
The temple is a fitting abode for an immensely powerful deity. It is an arc Thiruchendur, meaning ‘sacred and beautiful’ in Tamil, is predominantly a temple town in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. The Thiruchendur temples are some of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in the state. This town is most well-known for an old Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Murugan. The Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is believed to be one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan. It is a temple that has been in existence for millennia, according to ancient Hindu scripts.
Darshan at the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple
This scenic coastal town is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Murugan, the second son and warrior deity of Shiva. Sitting serenely by the Bay of Bengal, the Tiruchendur Murugan temple is the only temple for Lord Murugan located near the seaside. His traditional place of dwelling has always been a mountain or a forest. The Murugan temple was left completely untouched when the devastating tsunami struck the coast of Tamil Nadu in 2004. With the sea barely 50 meters away and coastal villages nearby destroyed, this miraculoushitectural wonder with its stunning gopuram, an underground sanctum sanctorum, and exquisite Dravidian architecture. Built by three saints and not commissioned by a king, this temple’s story is truly unique. It does not have an eastern gate, which is a rule followed to the tee in other Hindu temples.
Take a leisurely walk around the temple to fully appreciate the stories depicted on its walls. Families usually make a picnic of it whenever they visit, since the temple is located right next to the sea. The temple beach is perfect for an early morning or evening stroll. As the afternoon sun bears down, groups of people retreat to the temple corridor to enjoy their packed lunches.
Valli Cave Temple
Also known as Dattatreya’s cave, this spot is one of the most popular sites in Thiruchendur. The cave overlooks the sea and contains images of Lord Murugan’s consorts: Valli and Dattatreya. The cave temple also houses carvings and paintings with stories of Lord Murugan and Valli.
Inter-planetary hopping around the Sacred Nine
Some of the most famous temples in Tiruchendur are a set of nine sites called the Nava Tirupathi Temples. These revered temples are located along the banks of the Thamirabarani river and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. They hold the distinction of being ‘Divya Desams’, the 108 Vishnu temples deemed sacred by the Alwars or poet-saints.
Lord Vishnu is said to embody the forces of nine planets within these nine temples. If your life seems to be influenced adversely by the stars, a visit to one of the Navathirupathi is believed to appease the planets!
1. Srivaikuntanathan Perumal Temple (Sun)
The Srivaikuntam temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and located 22 km from Tirunelveli. The temple is one of the first Navagraha temples in Vaishnavism, dedicated to Surya, the Sun god. With a colorful gopuram towering to 110 ft and walls of granite surrounding it, the temple is a sight to behold. The presiding deity is a standing Sri Vaikunta Natha Perumal. A distinguishing feature since he is usually found in a sleeping posture.
The temple, while busy on most days, comes alive during the festival of Brahmotsavam in April and May each year. The rays of the sun fall directly on Lord Vaikunthan exactly twice a year, making this temple even more intriguing.
The temple is also thronged by couples who have been facing trouble bearing children. It is believed that the consumption of ghee offered at the temple, will bless these couples with a child.
2. Thiru Varagunamangai Perumal Temple (Moon)
Located in Natham, Thiruchendur, this temple is dedicated to the God Chandran (moon). The temple is resplendent in its five-tiered Rajagopuram, set against the backdrop of lush vegetation all around. It is said that the Lord appeared in this location to answer the prayers of the sage Romesar, who performed severe penance for thousands of years.
Try and plan your visit to coincide with the Garuda Sevai Utsavam in May and June each year. The temple witnesses an event called 9 Garuda Sevai, a spectacular event where idols from the Nava Tirupathi shrines in the area are carried on a sacred vehicle called Garuda Vahana.
An idol of Nammalvar, one of the twelve Alwar saints is also taken in a palanquin to each of the nine temples. In what is a ceremonial procession, the idol is carried through vast paddy fields in the area. This is one of the most famous festivals and draws thousands of visitors every year.
3. Tirukoilur Perumal Temple (Mars)
Dedicated to the planet Mars, the Tirukoilur Perumal Temple is known to be the birthplace of Madhurakavi Alvar, one of the twelve saints of Alwar. According to legend Kubera, the Lord of Wealth was cursed by Shiva for glancing at Parvathi. To win back their favor, Kubera was asked to perform penance at Thirukkolur, after which he was blessed and all his wealth restored.
The presiding deity can be found in a reclining pose, with a Marakkal or wooden measurement tool to measure the wealth. He simultaneously gazes at the palm of his left hand to watch over his wealth. For those looking to increase their bank balances substantially, a visit here may be worthwhile!
4. Thiruppalaikudi Perumal Temple (Mercury)
The Thiruppalaikudi Perumal Temple temple is dedicated to the planet Mercury and contains an imposing image of Lord Vishnu, with a lotus stalk in the navel emanating the image of Brahma.
5. Alwarthirunagari Perumal Temple (Jupiter)
Among the nine Nava Tirupathi temples, this temple is the most significant. The temple is one of the Navagraha temples in Vaishnavism, associated with Jupiter, the Guru. It is considered the birthplace of Nammazhwar, who was the most prominent among the twelve Azhwar Saints. The gopuram or temple gateway tower is 95 ft tall.
6. The Thenthiruperai Temple (Venus)
Located 5 km from Alwar Thirunagari is the Thenthiruperai Temple. It is often referred to as Sukra Sthalam, a location for the planet deity, Sukra or Venus.
7. Thirukuzhandhai Perumal Temple (Saturn)
The Thirukuzhandhai Perumal Temple is dedicated to Saturn, with an image of Lord Vishnu facing towards the east. The temple chronicles Lord Vishnu’s supernatural powers and miracles performed for his devotees.
The Irattai Thiruppathy is a set of two temples, one located in the north and the other in the south. The two temples are locally called Ketu Sthalam or a location dedicated to the snake deity, Ketu.
During your trip to Thiruchendur to visit the temples, you can also visit popular tourist spots nearby:
Manimuthar Falls is a waterfall above the Manimuthar dam, located 90 km from Thiruchendur. This scenic spot is popular with the locals for long drives.
Visit the coastal village of Manapad, 18 km south of Thiruchendur. Its prime attraction is an ancient Roman Catholic Church, where a relic of the Cross was said to be brought back from Jerusalem. St. Francis Xavier visited Manapad when he began missionary activities along the Indian coast. With numerous churches dotted across the village, it has also come to be known as ‘Chinna Jerusalem’ or Little Jerusalem.
3. Courtallam Falls
Courtallam, fondly called the ‘Spa of the south’, is located 110 km from Tiruchendur. The cascading waters of eight different waterfalls are the highlight of a trip to Courtallam. These waterfalls are best enjoyed from May to September.
Kanyakumari needs no introduction. Located 85 km from Thiruchendur, this beautiful city calls out to both landscape lovers and shutterbugs. With its beaches, valleys, hills, forests, and plantations – Kanyakumari has a little something for every tourist.
5. Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace is a stunning monument depicting art and craftsmanship during the Travancore Kingdom. It was built in the 16th century by Ravipillai Ravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal.
Padmanabhapuram Palace was the seat of power for the Travancore kingdom from the 16th to the 18th Century. Each room in this gorgeous palace is prettier than the next, with intricate wood carvings, beautiful murals, earthen urns, Belgian mirrors, oil lamps, and much more!
Vattakottai Fort is a coastal fort built in the 18th century during the reign of the Travancore kingdom. The shape of this fort is rectangular, although the name Vattakotai (circular) suggests otherwise. The fort is spread across 3.5 acres of land, with walls that are 25 to 26 feet high. One can also find watchtowers and weapon rooms within its impressive defenses. The fish motif on the fort’s walls speaks to a legacy left behind the Pandyas, who used this motif extensively.
People also believe that a secret path underground once connected Vattakottai Fort to Padmanabhapuram Palace.
Where to eat in Thiruchendur
Some of the best restaurants in Thiruchendur are Hotel Mani Iyer, Hotel Ramesh Iyer, and Hotel Saravana Bhawan.
Best time to visit Thiruchendur
The best time to visit the coastal town of Thiruchendur is in the winter, between October to March.
Best way to get to Thiruchendur
By Air: Tuticorin Airport
By Train: Thiruchendur is well-connected to major cities via the Thiruchendur Railway Station (TCN)
By Bus: Thiruchendur is well-connected by bus to major cities