Hindu temple at Tiruchendur by the sea shore
Artist: Trapaud, Elisha (1750-1828)
Water-colour by Elisha Trapaud of the Subrahmanya Temple at Tiruchendur, dated c.1805. Inscribed on front in pencil: 'Tiruchendore Pagoda. Gulph of Ma' (illegible).
The celebrated temple of Tiruchendur on the shore of the Gulf of Mannar is the dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya. It is situated in the Tirunelveli District, about 443 miles from Madras. Tiruchendur, meaning sacred and prosperous town of victory, is an important pilgrimage centre. Originally the temple was very modest structure on the sandstone reefs of the beach but the stone began to deteriorate because of the corrosion by the sea. The temple was enlarged during a period of about a thousand years under the patronage of different Pandya and Chera rulers and wealthy local people. The principal entrance to the temple faces south and leads into the first enclosure, a series of four corridors running around the second enclosure. The Mela Gopuram, the west entrance tower, is a gigantic multi storeyed pyramidal tower, 137 feet high decorated with plaster and stucco sculpture that was built in the 18th century. The principal sanctuary of the temple is that of Subrahmanya or Muruga, as he is known in Tamil Nadu and Karttikeya in Northern India.