Legend of Suchindram Temple

It is said that Indra was advised to perform penance here to be relieved of the curse of Gautama Muni. He was cursed for misbehaving with Gautama Munis wife, Ahalya. He worshiped the Trimurti here and is said to have been passed through burning ghee to purify himself. Because it is believed that Indra comes to worship the Trimurti from midnight to dawn, the daily rituals are over by dusk, so the night is free for him to perform worship. Suci means "purified" and indram means "Indra.

There are many legends associated with this temple. Anasuya, the wife of Aarti Maharishi was famous for her chastity and her devotion to her husband - an embodiment of a Hindu wife. She could perform miracles by sprinkling the 'Paatha Theertham' (water with which she washed her husband's feet) to bring rain to a parched earth or to transform objects to her desire.

When the 3 Devis, - Goddesses Laxmi (also spelt as Lakshmi), Saraswati and Parvati heard through Sage Narada the powers of this earthly woman they wanted to test her chastity. They approached their husbands Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to test Anasuya's devotion to her husband.

The three Moortis (sculptures) transformed into three old mendicants and went to the hermitage where Anasuya was living and sought alms from her. When Anasuya was about to serve them food they told her that they had taken a vow whereby they could not accept alms from a person wearing clothes. As it was a sin to refuse alms to mendicants she prayed to her Lord and sprinkled a little 'Paatha Theertham' on the three old beggars. They were all immediately transformed into babies and throwing off her clothes she offered them food.

The Goddesses learning what had happened pleaded with Anasuya to grant them 'Maangalya Biksha' (gift of married life) and to give them back their husbands. Anasuya showed them the three babies. The Devis ran to the cradle and picked one baby each. Anasuya then prayed to her Lord to restore them back to their original form. Brahma was in Laxmi's embrace, Shiva in Saraswati's lap and Parvati cuddling Vishnu. They accepted that Anasuya's fame as the chasest woman on earth was justified. Thus the Trimoorti or Trimurti came to be represented by the Lingam (also spelt as Linga) at Suchindram; the bottom represents Lord Brahma, the middle represents Lord Vishnu and the top Lord Shiva.

Another Tradition There is another lore associated with this temple. Once Indra was infatuated with Ahalya, the wife of Rishi Gautama. One night he came to the hermitage where Gautama was living and crowed like a cock indicating the approach of dawn. Rishi Gautama thinking that dawn was imminent awoke from his sleep and went to the river for his ablutions prior to commencing his prayers. Realising that it was too dark for dawn and too early for morning to break he returned to his hut.

In the meantime Lord Indra took the physical appearance of Rishi Gautama, approached Ahalya and satisfied his desire. Rishi Gautama returning from the river was enraged when he saw his wife in another man's embrace and cursed the man's entire body be covered with 'Yoni' (the female organ) and his wife Ahalya to become a statue of stone.

Lord Indra in order to get rid of this curse went to Gnanaranya and prayed to the Three Moortis to rid him of this curse. When he was rid of his curse and transformed into his original form he built a temple and installed the Lingam (also spelt as Linga) to represent the three Moorti - "Thanu-Maal-Ayan", and the name of the place came to be known as "Suchi-Indran" (the place where Indra was purified