There is a unique temple in Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to Lord Kartikeya (also known as Murugan or Subhramanya), the Tiruchendur Murugan Temple in the Tuticorin district is just 75 kilometers northeast of Kanyakumari. There is no specific date of construction of the temple, but the original structure was built around 1000 years ago.
Over the course of centuries, various rulers, including the glorious Chera, Pandya and Chola dynasties, contributed to its construction.
Today, the magnificent temple stands majestically at the sea shore.
But did you know that the temple is the only major architecture in the area not to be damaged by the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami? The waves destroyed everything around the temple but did not touch the temple itself. It is a fact many witnesses acknowledged.
Why? Why did the waves not touch the temple and went around it to destroy everything else? There is an interesting story behind it.
1. In the 17th century, the Dutch, who had just started their colonies in India, were ruling most of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and southern coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.
2. Like every colonial ruler, they looted the wealth of Hindu temples and shipped them back home.
3. Tuticorin was in Dutch control so they took the wealth and the idol of Murugan from the Tiruchendur Murugan Temple.
4. While shipping it back home, they met with a massive cyclone.
5. Someone on the ship told them that it was the wrath of Murugan and that they must throw the idol into the sea to save themselves.
The idol was thrown overboard and the cyclone subsided.
6. Legend says that Vadamalaiyappa Pillai, a devotee of Lord Murugan, had a dream in which he was told of the idol’s position in the sea.
7. With other devotees, Pillai discovered the idol submerged at a spot where a lemon was floating on the surface.
8. The panchadhatu idol was reinstated in the temple.
9. An old inscription on a stone tablet proclaims that Lord Varuna promised Lord Kartikeya that no harm will come to the temple due to the rage of the sea.
10. And when the tsunami hit the southern coast of India, the waters destroyed everything but actually receded at the site of the temple.
People believe that it is divine intervention, and that Lord Varuna kept his promise. Skeptics believe that there is a scientific reason to explain why the temple remained unharmed.
A forum called Oceanographers.net contains a post in which a scientist claims to have solved the mystery. After research conducted at the site, the scientist discovered that the site’s geographic location had a major role to play in the safety of the temple from the waves. He noted that the location is such where even the tidal waves, which hit other parts of the city, do not touch, and that a natural elevation in the rocks broke the chain of the waves. But in the end the scientist did give credit to those who built the temple at the place for choosing the site properly and after a careful study.
Indeed, it must have been as much a divine intervention as is the scientific genius of the ancient Hindu engineers of the time.