Suchindram, a pilgrimage of the Hindus, is situated 8 miles northwest of Kanya Kumari or Cape Comorin in Trivandrum district of Travencore. It is on the banks of the river Palayar. Legend says that the area from Gokarnam in the north to Cape Comorin in the south emerged out of the ocean at the command of the Sage Parasurama, the warrior hero and son of Sage Jamadani. He has an association with Kerala. Goa or Gokarnam was once submerged in the Sea. Parasurama with the consent of the Sea-God threw his axe into the waters. It was agreed that the area covered by the throwing of the axe should be regarded as reclaimed. The axe fell at Cape Comorin and the Sea receded from all that area, from Goa to Cape.
In Suchindram is situated the Majestic Temple of Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It is called Sthanumalayapperumal Temple, where Sthanu represents the deity of Shiva, Mal as Vishnu and Aya as Brahma. This temple has great architectural beauty and is visited by numerous pilgrims throughout the world. Legend says that Goddess Kumari abides here as a virgin who could not get married to Lord Shiva.
Dr. K.K.Pillai states that the earliest lithic records of Suchindram belong to the 9th Century A.D., proving that the shrine was in existence in the time of Maran Cadayan, the early Pandyan sovereign (880-900A.D.). Another famous temple is the Suchindram Temple located in a compound. It has more than 30 shrines. The elegant and graceful Gopuram in the east is 134 feet high. The main temple is that of Sthanumalayapperumal. It stands on the western side of the compound. It is said that water, oil, flowers, milk, etc offered to the deity here go through an underground passage to Kanya Kumari at a place called Sthanu Tirth. The garba griha of this Vedakkedam shrine contains the Shivalinga, which is two and a half feet in height. It is usually decked with a golden or silver mask.
The Natakasala to the east has a big pavilion now used for religious lectures and other functions. The Kailasattu Mahadeva shrine, in the southwest in the next ancient shrine here. The deity is Mahadeva of southern Kailasa. The famous shrine of Konrayadinatha is a Swayambhu Linga representing the Trimurti. According to the wishes of Atri and his wife, Anasuya, Lord Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu appeared in the form of this Linga respectively, representing its top, middle and bottom portions. Next are the Vadakkedam and the Tekkedam, which are the shrines of Lord Shiva and Vishnu respectively. They were in existence before the 10th Century A.D.
The Pandayas endowed the Suchindram village. There are 3 main Utsavas celebrated in this temple. They are:
Margali Utsav in December-January
The Chitrai Utsav in April-May, and
Avani Utsav in September-October
The architecture of the Suchindram Temple shows that these structures owe their origin to different periods. Beginning from the Cholas and the Pandayas to the Vijay Nagar Kings, the Nayaks and Travencore rulers all have added their share in decorating the temple. The sculpture is very graceful and artistic. Gods, Goddess’s, animals, birds, natural scenes, flowers, etc, all find their place. Mural paintings are more confined to the inner walls of the gopuram. The temple has numerous inscriptions. They represent a wide range of royal dynasties and are is useful in determining the chronology of events.