Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram, Tamil Nadu

Thanumalayan Temple, which is also known as Sthanumalayan Temple, is an important holy abode for Hindus located in Suchindram in the district of Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu. The temple is considered to be an important pilgrim place for Shaivaite; believers of Lord Shiva and Vishnavite; believers of Lord Vishnu faction of Hindus. The name of the temple itself indicates harmony of the three Gods; the Trimurtis, Stanu means Shiva, Mala means Vishnu, Aya means Brahma.

It is believed that, the present temple seen today in Suchindram, was built in the 17th century. The temple is very much famous for the carvings and ancient sculptor works in it. The temple was controlled and taken care by a famous Namboodiri family, known as Thekkumon. The main deity in the temple is the Trimurty; Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma in a single form. The temple is a fine example of 17th century architectural beauty. The Gopuram of the temple is seven storied, covering 40m space of the temple and is covered with sculptors different Hindu Gods.

The name of the place; Suchindram, was derived from Sthala Purana; a Hindu purana about the orgins of Tamil Shiva Tempels. The legend associated with this temple states that the God of rain, Lord Indra was relieved or purified from one of the curses in this temple, at the position where the main Lingha is kept. In the word Suchindaram, ‘suchi’ means purify in Sanskrit. It is also believed that, the Lord Indra visits the temple every day to perform ‘Ardhajama Pooja’ to the main deity; means workshipp of God at midnight.

The stone works in the temple has been greatly praised for its architectural perfection and craftsmanship. The main attraction of the temple is four musical pillars which had been carved out of a single piece of stone. The musical pillar stands at a height of 18 feet, and is the main architectural highlight of the temple. The music pillar is situated within the Alankara Mandapam, and the main speciality of these pillars are that, they emit various notes of music, when they are being stroked. In addition to the music pillars, there are 1035 carved pillars, situated in the area called dancing hall.

Another one of the highlights of the Thanumalayan temple is the statue of Lord Hanuman, carved from a single block of granite, at a height of 22 feet. It is considered as one of the tallest Lord Hanuman statue in India. It is believed that, this statue was buried under the temple in the year 1740, to save it from the invasion of Tipu Sultan and was later forgotten by all. In the year 1930, the Devasom Board commissioner of that time, Rajya Seva Praveena Sri M.K Neelakantha Iyer, rediscovered and restored the statue in the temple. One of the biggest Nandi statues in India can be found in this temple, standing 13 feet tall and 21 feet long. One of the main religious significance of the temple is its principle deity, the Trimurti, which makes the temple one of its kind. Another one of the main significance of the temple is that, the temple covers the presence of all the Hindu Gods included in the Hindu pantheon, from Lord Krishna, to Goddess Amman. All these different Gods and Goddess of different sects are represented in the form of idols in different parts of the temple.

The main celebrated festival in the temple, is the ten day Car Festival, which is celebrated during the months of December and January, every year attracting thousands of people into the temple. Between the months of May and April, the temple celebrates Teepam festival.

There are regular buses from Trivandrum, Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli to the temple, and if you are planning to travel by train then it is best hail at Nagercoil Railway station, which is just 7km away from the temple, and you can easily hire a taxi or catch bus from there to reach the Thanumalayan Temple.