Tiruchendur An epic poem composed in the 17th century, known as Kapadapuram, relates that Muruga killed the demon, Surapadman, after a six-day battle. The name, ‘Tiruchendur’, originated from ‘Thiru’, meaning sacred, because it was a battleground for Lord Muruga, and ‘Senthur’, meaning ‘red place’, because of the bloodiness of the battle. Many towns in Tamil Nadu have the same honorary prefix, including Tiruchirappalli, Tiruppur and Tirunelveli. Tiruchendur Murugan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Muruga at the site of the battle. It is one of the six major abodes, or sacred temples, of the Kaumaram religion. Soorasamharam, a reenactment of the victory over Sarapadman, and Kanda Shasti, a devotional song in praise of Lord Muruga are performed at the temple. The temple, which is built near the seashore, measures 91 m (299 ft) north to south, 65 m (213 ft) east to west, and has a seven-tier gopuram, or tower gate, that is 42 m (138 ft) high. The principal entrance faces south, and opens into the first of two prakarams, the first of which is lined with rows of Yalis. The inner sanctum of the temple is in a cave and the main deity, or moolavar, is Murugan as a saintly child, portrayed in a granite carving. Naazhi Kinaru, a sacred well fed by a freshwater spring, is located 100 m (330 ft) south of the temple. Devotees undergo a ritual cleansing by bathing in water from the well after bathing in the ocean. The Murugan temple at Thiruchendur was occupied by the Dutch East India Company from 1646 to 1648, during the course of their war with the Portuguese. The local people tried to free their temple, with no success. The Dutch finally vacated the temple on orders from the Naik ruler. However, while leaving, they removed the idol of the main deity of the temple, and took it with them. Senthilaandavan appeared in a dream to Vadamaliyappa Pillai, an ardent devotee of Lord Muruga, and revealed the place in the sea where the idol had been abandoned. Vadamlaiyappa Pillai and Athitha Nadar, a sponsor of services in the Thiruchendur temple, went to the spot in a fishing boat and retrieved the idol in 1653. The story is shown in paintings inside the temple.