The town of Thiruchendur is famous for the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple and its ancient sanctum sanctorum. Located near the shores of the Bay of Bengal, the presiding deity of the main temple is Lord Subramanya. Legend has it that Lord Murugan worshipped Lord Shiva at this place after winning the battle against Surapadma, an asura (demon). A cave dedicated to one of the consorts of Lord Murugan, Goddess Vali, is located near the main shrine. Lord Dattatreya is another deity revered here. The temple was occupied by the Dutch East India Company between 1646 and 1648 when they were at war with the Portuguese. Though the locals tried freeing the temple from their clutches, they achieved no success.

It was on the orders of the Naik ruler that the Dutch vacated the temple later. But the Dutch removed the idol of the main deity before leaving. Legend has it that during their sea journey, a strong storm hit them and made them realise their mistake in stealing the deity’s idol. They immediately dropped the idol in the middle of the sea and the storm relented. Much later, an ardent devotee of Lord Murugan, Vadamliyappa Pillai, had a dream wherein he was told about the exact location of the idol. Along with a sponsor of the services of the temple, Athitha Nair, Pillai went to the spot in a boat and retrieved the idol in 1653. A painting showcasing the incident has been displayed in the temple premises. The temple sees a huge footfall during the months of October-November, when the popular Skanda festival is celebrated. The Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is located a mere 200 m from the sea and miraculously is never flooded. It is renowned as the temple that houses the various forms of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu together.

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