Śucīndram

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sucindram, ZucIndram, shucindram


Śucīndram literally means ‘the place where Indra was purified’.

Śucīndram is mainly famous for its beautiful temple built in the 17th century. It is 13 kms. or 8 miles from the famous pilgrimage center, Kanyākumārī, the southern-most tip of the Indian peninsula. The main shrine is contained in the hollow of a laurel tree, believed to be 2000 years old. It is one liṅga representing all the three deities, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. The bottom of the liṅga represents Brahmā, the middle part Viṣṇu and the top Śiva. The sage couple, Atri and Anasuyā, got a boon that the three deities should be born as their children. Consequently they took birth as Candra, Dattātreya and Durvāsas. This liṅga is the combined form of these three.

Evolution of Śucīndram Name

According to the local legend, Indra who had committed the sin of adultery with Ahalyā, did tapas[1] here. While worshiping the Trimurtis,[2] he was purified. The name Śucīndram[3] indicates this.

Temple of Śucīndram

The entrance gopuram[4] is a seven-storeyed structure 40 metres[5] high. There is a huge carved Nandi[6] said to be 800 years old. There are two large door-keepers at the entrance to the main temple.

Campus of Śucīndram Temple

The temple campus contains 30 minor shrines dedicated to Viṣṇu,[7] Sītārāma, Gaṇeśa and Navagrahas.[8] There is also an image of Hanumān 5.4 metres[9] high. Sculptures from the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata and also the four musical pillars of stone carved out of a single block of granite are added attractions. Each pillar gives the sound of a different instrument, that of mṛdaṅga, sitār, tampura and jalataraṅga.

Rituals of Śucīndram Temple

On Fridays there is a special sun-set ceremony. However, daily rituals close before dusk since Indra is believed to come then and perform the worship, the whole night. Non-Hindus are also allowed to enter this temple.


References

  1. Tapas means severe austerity.
  2. Trimurtis means the three deities mentioned above.
  3. Śuci means purification of Indra.
  4. Gopuram means main gate.
  5. It is approximately 134 ft.
  6. Nandi is Śiva’s bull.
  7. It is a metallic image of eight metals.
  8. It means the nine planets.
  9. It is approximately 18 ft.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore