Shanmughanathar Temple, Kunnakudi, Karaikudi – Culture
The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasandhi at 6:00 a.m., Uchikala Poojai at 11:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., and Arthajama Pooja at 7:45 p.m. Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for the presiding deities.
There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The temple is open from 6:30 am - 12:00 pm and 5 - 8:30 pm on all days except during festive occasions when it has extended timings. The major festivals of the temple include the Panguni Uthiram festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (March - April) and Thaipoosam during Thai (January - February). The other festivals include Kantha Sashti, Vaikasi Visagam, Aavani Moolam and Paal Perukku Vizha.
Like other Murugan temples during the festivals, hundreds of devotees carry pots of milk and Kavadi around the streets of the temple. Devotees offer pepper and salt to Saravana Poigai, the temple tank, as a mark of worship. The temple is revered in the verses of Thirupugazh the 15th century anthology on Murugan by Arunagirinathar.
In modern times, the Sivaganga district administration has identified the temple as one of the prominent tourist attractions in the district. The temple is administered by Kunnakudi Thiruvannamalai Mutt Adikal, which was established during the 16th century. In modern times, the caves are maintained and administered by Archaeological Survey of India as a protected monument.