The first temple of this six part series on Lord Muruga's abodes is Tiruchendur. Here, the Lord is known as "Senthil andavar". It is one of the most visited shrines in Tamil Nadu, and, unlike the other abodes which are atop hills, this one is located on the seashore in the southern part of the state.
According to the legend, Lord Muruga vanquished the demon Soorapadman and his army, in his fortress Veeramahendram situated in the middle of the ocean near here.
Originally, the shrine was a rock cut structure cut out of a hill and later, it was renovated with granite. The gopuram is an imposing 137 feet in height and is visible for miles.
The Shanmukha Vilaasa Mandapam,with carved pillars, stands in front of the temple. The temple has two prakarams - the sanctum to Subramanyar (moolavar) is located inside the innermost mandapam. The cave-like panchalingam shrine is situated right next to the shrine. It is believed that it was here that Subramanya worshipped Lord Shiva.
Next to the Subramanyar's sannadhi is the sannadi of Senthil aandavar - this houses the uthsava moorthi of Lord Subramanya along with his Consorts, Valli and Deivanai. The inner most prakaram facing south is that of Aarumugaswamy. This prakaram also contains the images of 63 nayanmars, and shrines to Natarajar, Karaikkal Ammaiyaar and others
Twice a year, once in Maasi and once in Aavani, the temple brahmmothsavams are held and they go on for 12 days. On the seventh and eighth days of the festivals, Lord Shanmukha is housed in the Shanmukha Vilaasa mandapam before and after the processions. The ratha festival is conducted on the 10th day and the theppam (float) festival on the following day.
In the month of Vaikasi, the Vishaakam festival is celebrated for 12 days.
In the month of Aippasi, Kandha Sashti festival is celebrated with great pomp and the Soora Samharam, when Muruga married Deivanai, is enacted on the seashore. Devasena is enacted.