Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Our Tirunelveli Temple Run – Part 6: Tiruchendur

Subramanya, Karthikeya, Muruga. He has many names, and in southern India, especially Tamilnadu, he is the consummate hero. He is the divine child, born to subdue the demon, Surapadman, who has enslaved even the Gods. He is born of the sparks from Shiva’s third eye, and he is carried by Agni, cradled by Ganga, suckled by celestial nymphs, and finally raised to be a warrior by Parvati. He is but a young man when he leads his army to victory against the demon. However, he doesn’t just kill the demon, he vanquishes him, and, accepts his surrender. The peacock, his vahana, and the rooster, his emblem are the forms last taken by the demon as he is vanquished. There are stories galore of Muruga – of his fight with Ganesha, and leaving home, to take up residence at Palani, of his marriage to Indra’s daughter, Devayanai, and his wooing of the tribal maiden, Valli. Tamilnadu has so many temples dedicated to Muruga, that it is impossible to enumerate them! Six of them, however, are special. These are where his army camped, and where some memorable events in his life occurred. Together, they are called ‘Arupadai Veedu’ in Tamil.

One of the most interesting, and beautiful, among these six shrines, is the one at Tiruchendur, where the temple stands, facing the sea. It was from here that Subramanya set out to fight the demon, and it was here that he returned, victorious, and offered prayers to his father.

It is believed that the original shrine here was a rock cut temple, which was later built over with granite. Supporting this belief is the main shrine itself, where Muruga is seen in a standing posture, and on the wall is carved a Shiva Lingam. Further, just behind the shrine is a small, cave like structure, which houses 5 lingams, called the Panchalingam. It is believed that these were originally the Lingams worshipped by Muruga, and that the Gods still arrive here to offer their prayers every day.

There are many stories related to the temple, which speak of its greatness. It is believed that the Dutch tried to demolish it, but were unsuccessful. They finally eloped with the main idol, but their ship sank, and the idol was lost. Eventually, the lord appeared in a dream to a devotee, and the idol was recovered and reinstalled in the temple. In more recent times, the 2004 Tsunami, while wreaking havoc in the surrounding areas, didn’t as much as touch the temple. It was reported that the temple and the town itself turned into a safe haven during this terrible period!

Coming back to our visit, we arrived at Tiruchendur at lunch time, since the temple is open from 5 AM to 9 PM. Hungry as we were, we decided we could wait till we had seen him, and headed straight to the temple. Little had we imagined the crowd! It took us a while to realize that we were looking at hours of waiting, which we didn’t have, and decided to see if we had any options. At the main entrance, waving aside the touts, who promised us quick darshan, we headed towards the counter, where the official seemed happy to see us. He advised us to take the Rs.250 tickets, since the temple was unduly crowded, being a holiday. Taking his advice, we bought the tickets and headed towards the shrine. Thankfully, our tickets did ensure a quick darshan, and within a matter of minutes, we were in the sanctum, feasting our eyes on the Lord. Despite the crowd, we were able to stand in front of him, admiring him, for quite some time, before we were asked to move on. Thanking our stars for buying the tickets, we headed to the Panchalingam shrine before coming out to circumambulate the shrine.

Our tickets had ensured us a quick darshan, however, as always, there was a catch! Due to the long queues, the inner prakaram (circumambulatory path) was closed, and we missed quite a few of the smaller shrines. And on our shorter way out, we missed some of the shrines in the outer prakaram too.

Our satisfying darshan more than made up for my disappointment at not being able to see the temple at leisure, having heard and read so much about it. Next, we headed towards the beach, but the burning sands made us change our minds, and we headed off for lunch, and then, back towards Tirunelveli, to continue our Temple Run! 

  • Location: Tiruchendur Temple is located in Tuticorin or Thootukudi District of Tamilnadu, 40 Km from Tuticorin city, 60 Km from Tirunelveli, and 80 Km from Madurai.
  • How to reach: The nearest airport is at Madurai, and the nearest railway station is at Tiruchendur, however, there are many more rail options to Tirunelveli and Madurai. There are also plenty of buses available.
  • Temple Timings: The temple is open all day, from 5 AM to 9 PM.
  • Suggestions:
    • Combine a visit to Tiruchendur with the Nava Tirupatis, since all the 9 temples in the circuit are located between Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur.

This post is part of my series on my #summertrip 2015, and I hope to take you along with me as I recount stories from my month long trip, which took me across the country. To get an idea of all the places I visited, and what you can hope to read about, click here

Related Posts:


      Post a Comment

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

      Popular posts from this blog

      The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

      The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

      Ladakh - Planning The Trip

      Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

      Bhedaghat - Home of the 81 Yoginis

      The Narmada flows down the mountains , carving out a path for herself as she makes her way down to the plains of Central India. She cascades from the rocks, her fine spray making it appear as if billows of smoke (dhuan) arise from the flowing streams of water (dhaar), giving it the name Dhuandhar. Dhuandhar Falls The force of her flow creates a gorge , smoothening and carving out the rocks into fantastic shapes, the pure white of the rocks standing starkly against the shades of the water. It is a joy to cruise down the river in a boat, seeing the natural contours created by the river, now famous as the Marble Rocks. We are at Bhedaghat, located on the banks of the Narmada near Jabalpur, where thousands of visitors turn up to see these natural landscapes, creations of the sacred Narmada, and pay obeisance to her. However, to me, the most interesting thing about Bhedaghat, isn’t the falls or the rocks, or even the river. What makes Bhedaghat special is t