Thiruchendur Murugan Temple – Shanmuga Vilasa
Shanmukha Vilasa is the frontal adjunct to the main temple. It is a magnificent mandapa worked minutely of intricate stone plinths and columns 120 feet long, 86 feet broad and supported by 124 columns.
It runs north to south facing the sea. A colossal porch at the centre is 48 feet square. It houses an ornate mandapa of four pillars, on a fifteen feet square base and which is elevated by three feet.
Lord Shanmukha is received here on the 7th and 8th days of the Masi and Avani festivals, as he is taken out of his sanctum on those two annual occasions and when he returns thereto. The mantapa is throughout the year used for receiving the offerings of bhaktas in cash or in kind.
This central mantapa touches the ceiling through its elaborately carved and majestic pillars and supports the entire Shanmukha Vilasa.
A passage from here leads to the main portals of the main shrine 68 feet by 16 feet on either side, which has also a corridor of 53 feet, covered on either side and supported by a line of pillars. Shanmukha Vilasa is verily the Skanda-Loka of Thiruchendur.
Here the worshippers flock from early morning to very late in the nights, spending a happiest time. The scenic, natural splendours and the sanctified presence of Shanmukha facing them give their ecstatic realizations.
The writing of devotional hymns on the lintel pieces of the Shanmukha Vilasa mantapa and on the temple walls from Arunagirinathar and other saints has evoked universal interest in those sacred texts. Devotees refresh their memories of them, and it is a pleasurable sight to see many a hymn learnt by heart by them for use at their devotions.