Kunnakudi Shanmughanathar temple (also called Kunnakudi Temple or Kunnakudi Murugan Temple) in Kundrakudi, a village in the outskirts of Karaikudi in Sivaganga, Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan. The temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture; the temple is located in the Tiruppattur – Karaikudi Road, around 14 km from Karaikudi.
About The Temple
The hill 40 m tall (130 ft.) and occupies an area of 6.5 acres (26,000 m2). The temple has a five tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower rising to a height of 16.5 m (54 ft.), which pierces the granite wall surrounding the temple. The sanctum faces East and the image of the presiding deity Murugan is sported with the images of his consort Valli and Deivayanai, each of whom are seen sitting on a peacock.
There are shrines of other deities around the sanctum in the precinct. There are three caves in the western side of the lower hill, with rock-cut images dedicated to Shiva in each of them. The first two caves have intricate rock-cut sculptures and Dvarapalas on either side of the sanctum, while the third one is plain. There are various sculpted images of Vishnu, Durga, Lingodbhava, and Harihara. The image of Dvarapalas in the caves, on either sides of the sanctum, with each leaning in the direction facing the sanctum, are found to be the earliest representation of the images. These are not found in Pallava architecture, which precedes the Pandyas.
The caves are considered one of the major specimens of rock-cut architecture of the Pandyas, counted along with Vettuvan Koil, Thirumalai Puram and Thiruparankundram. As you climb the steps (which are not very tiring) you come across the Sannidhi of Idumban. At the top of the steps you can see the Sannidhi of Vallabha Ganapathy. As you enter the main sanctum you are mesmerized by the beauty of Lord Shanmuga with his six faces and twelve arms sitting in a beautifully carved peacock The peacock and the Lord are of monolithic (carved out of a single stone). His consorts Valli and Deivanai have their own peacocks as their Vahanas. In a crowded day it may not be possible to leisurely look at these beautiful sculptures). As you come out of the sanctum, you can see the beautifully carved pillars. The hill is in the shape of a peacock. As Muruga’s peacock vehicle was relieved of its curse here, the hill is called Mayil Malai-peacock hill.
For many, the hill appears in a peacock form. Lord Muruga is also known as Chetty Murugan, Kundrayur Udayan, Mayuragirinathan, Mayil Kalai Kandan, Kundrai Murugan, Thenattrunathar etc. The temple is praised in the Thirupugazh hymns of Saint Arunagirinathar. The Theerthams of the temple are Saravana Poigai, Thenaru and Mayil theertham. The special feature of the temple is that Valli, Deivanai and Lord Muruga grace darshan individually sitting on a peacock.
There are evidences that enlightened souls lived here. There are also some Brahmi epigraphic evidences in the Jain Ashrams-Pazhis. Idumba from Kalinga carried a Kavadi to this temple and got his stomach pain cured. There are also shrines to Vinayakar, Kuzhandai Vadivelar, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Dakshinamurthy, Natarajar, Chandeswarar & Navagrahams. Images of Veerabahu and Idumban are also in this temple
The temple is under the control of Kundrakudi Aadhinam and maintained by them efficiently. At the bottom of the hill, there is a small temple for Lord Ganesh who is the brother of Lord Muruga and another temple is also at the bottom of the hill itself for Lord Muruga in the name Lord Palani Murugan. In this Palani Murugan temple the main statue is not fixed on floor and set up in a bar because this statue is brought from Palani by the Kundrakudi Pada yatra group people every year at the time of Thaipoosam festival.
Then on the way to the main temple three more mini temples are there, two temples for again Lord Ganesha and one for Lord Kadamba who is one of the devotees of Lord Muruga. Generally the Nine Planets Lord are set up facing various directions but here all planets are set up facing the Main statue of Lord Muruga.
Legend and Stories
Peacock swallowing Garuda and Swan
As per another legend, Sooran, the demon king infuriated peacock, the sacred vehicle of Murugan. He told the bird that Garuda, the sacred vehicle of Vishnu and Swan, the sacred vehicle of Saraswati could travel faster than it. The peacock swallowed Garuda and the swan in anger. Vishnu prayed to Muruga to retrieve his vehicle back from the peacock, who readily acceded to the request. The peacock, realizing its mistake, prayed Muruga by doing penance at this place.
Different Names of this Place
The place was originally called Kundrakudi as it was located in a hill (Kundram means hill in Tamil), which with the period of time became Kunnakudi. It is also called by other names like Mayuragiri, Mayilmalai, Arasavaram and Krishanagaram as the hill resembles the shape of a peacock.
Agasthiya worshipping Lord Muruga
As per Hindu legend, sage Agasthya is believed to have worshipped Murugan at this place.
People who worshipped Lord Murugan here
Lord Kannapiran, Creator Brahmma, Indira, Sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra, Narada, Garuda, Sun God, and Manmatha (Cupid) had worshipped in this historical temple.
10 day Panguni Uthiram in March-April and 10 day Thaipoosam in January-February, are the two great festivals in the temple. Paal (milk) Perukku vizha in Chithirai (April-May), Vaikasi Visakam in May-June, Aani Mahabishekam in June-July, Aadi Tirupadi Puja in July-August, Aavani Moolam Pittu Thiruvizha in August-September, Skanda Sashti and Arrow festival in October-November are the festivals celebrated in the temple very grandly.
This is the most important shrine in Tamilnadu for submitting our prayers to the Lord. A sincere worship in the temple ensures the devotee a healthy life free from illness, freedom from various problems, child boon, longevity, education, prosperity, high yields in farms. Kundrakudi Kavadi is very famous. While mentioning anything impossible, a proverb goes, “It will not be possible though one carries Kundrakudi Kavadi”. It means indirectly that carrying Kundrakudi Kavadi would never let down the believer.
Carrying Kavadi, milk pots, observing Sashti fasting, men rolling around the prakara (anga pradakshinam) Adi pradakshina (step by step walking around the prakara) by women are the prayer commitments followed by devotees. They offer pepper and salt in Saravana Poigai and in Idumban shrine for remedy from skin diseases. Farmers contribute grains as their commitment. They also spill rice in the steps. People also donate cocks and cattle. Devotees perform Shanmugha Archana, Shanmugha Homa, observe Kruthika fasting, donate for renovation and do poor feeding.
How To Reach Sri Shanmughanathar Temple, Kundrakudi
The nearest airport is Trichy & Madurai.
Rail head Karaikkudi is a major station with trains from Chennai, Trichy, Madurai.
Kundrakudi is 10 km from Karaikudi and 12 km from Tirupathur. Plenty of buses are available from Karaikudi, Thirupattur, Sivagangai, Madurai and Trichy.
Sri Shanmughanathar Temple,
Kundrakudi, Sivaganga district,
Tamil Nadu, Pincode – 630206.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- For good health
- Solution to troubles
- For the gift of childbirth
- For longevity
- For education
- For prosperity
Shadaananam Chandana Liptha Gathram Mahorasam Divya Mayoora Vaahanam Rudrasya Soonum Suraloka Naatham Brahmanya Devam Charanam Prapadye
Meaning -I always take refuge in the 6 faced Lord Guha, who has sandal paste smeared over his body, who is broad-chested, whose vehicle is the peacock, who is Lord Shiva's son and who leads the army of the Devas.
Heyswami Natha Karunakara Dheenabandho Shree Parvatheesha Mukha Pankaja Padmabandho Shree Saadhi Devagana Poojitha Padha Padma Vallesa Nadha Mama Dehi Karaavalambham
Meaning -O! Merciful Lord Swaminatha, who cares for the poor, who is the sun to Lord Shiva's lotus face, whose lotus feet are acknowledged by Lord Vishnu and the others, Valli's Lord, please uplift me by lending me your hand.
Ariru Thadanthozh Vazhga Arumugam Vazhga Veppai Kooru Sei Thanivel Vazhga Kukkudum Vazhga Sevvel Yeriya Magnai Vazhga Aanai Thun Anangu Vazhga Maarila Valli Vazhga Vazhga Seer Adiyar Yellam
Meaning -Oh Muruga, we hail your 12 strong shoulders for they protect us from our enemies, we hail your 6 faces, we hail the Vel, your weapon that broke apart the Krounja mountain to reveal the asura in it. We hail the bird, the cock, that is part of your symbol in the flag. We hail your peacock, that takes you all over the world, we hail your consort Devyani, who was brought up by Indra's white elephant, Airavadam, we hail your other consort, the flawless Valli. And we hail your Bhaktas who worship you as a prayer.
Uruvai Aruvai Uladhai Iladhai Maruvai Malarai Maniyai Oliyai Karuvai Uyirai Gadhiyai Vidhiyai Guruvai Varuvai Arulvai Guhaney
Meaning -O Lord Muruga, you have form and you are formless, you have everything and have nothing, you who exist in the smallest, in flowers, in a bell's ring, in the light. You are the embryo, the life, destiny and fate. Bestow your blessings on us as our guru.
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.