Fascinating story of the Thiruchendur Murugan temple

While researching about lesser-known heritage sites of India, I was hesitant to include historical temples simply because there are so many of them in India, many of which are still in active worship and visited by large number of devotees. However, while reading about heritage sites in Southern India, I came across mention of a temple with a fascinating story and I just had to include it in this series.

The Thiruchendur Murugan temple is located in the town of Thiruchendur, in the district of Thoothukudi (or Tuticorin) in Southern Tamil Nadu. The temple is about 75 kilometres to the North-East of Kanyakumari and about 30 kilometres south of Tuticorin town.

Photos show a temple located right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal and is similar in architecture to many Tamil Nadu temples, dominated by a tall gopuram.

The interesting story about this temple relates to the time when it was occupied by the Dutch for a few years in the 17th Century. While vacating the temple, they removed the idol from the main temple and carried it away with them on their boat. While at sea, they encountered a storm. They got scared and threw the idol into the sea. Later on, a devotee of Lord Muruga had a dream and saw a vision of the place in the sea where the idol has been thrown overboard. He went to the spot in a fishing boat and successfully recovered the idol!

As one of the most important temples dedicated to Lord Murugan and with its location right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, this is a temple worth visiting. I hope to do so one day…

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