Sri Sthanumalayan Temple, also known as Arulmigu Thanumaliya Perumal Temple, is an ancient temple where the Trinity is worshipped in the same sanctum sanctorum. The sanctum of this temple has a linga which represents the Trinity.
It is the only shrine in India where the Trinity is worshipped in one idol. The name of the deity itself stands for the Trinity - Sthanu for Lord Shiva, Mal for Lord Vishnu and Ayan for Lord Brahma.
The temple is located in Suchindram, which is a popular pilgrimage destination in South India. Suchindram is situated at a distance of about 11 km from Kanyakumari and 7 km from Nagercoil, on the banks of River Pazhayar. The temple town of Suchindram is the abode of many temples and the most famous among them is Sri Sthanumalayan Temple or Thanumalayan Temple.
The historic aspect of the temple is evident from the ancient Dravidian style of temple architecture. There are different structures within the temple that point to the fact that the temple was renovated many times by many rulers over the centuries.
As per legend, Suchindram was once known by the name ‘Gnana Aranya’. It was here that Devi Ahalya was given a test of chastity by the Trinity. According to legends, Indra worshipped Lord Shiva at Gnana Aranya to get relief from the curse of Sage Gowthama. When Indra was purified of his sins by Lord Shiva, the place came to be known as ‘Suchindram’.
Sri Sthanumalayan Temple of Suchindram is a pilgrimage destination that attracts both Shaivaites and Vaishnavites. There are a lot of shrines and mandapams inside the temple complex which are dedicated to different deities.
Sri Sthanumalayan Temple is also known for its architectural splendour. The 'Alankara mandapam' of the temple is known for its 18 feet high musical pillars which were carved out of single rock.
This temple is also home to some rare sculptures like Vigneshwari (the female form of Vinayaka), Makkalai (Nandi), Anjaneya, etc. There is also an image of a scene from Maha-Bhagavatha where Geethopathesa is imparted to Parthasarathi by Lord Krishna who is in the magnificent form of Trinity.