I was named after the ruling deity in Tiruchendur, a famous sea side temple town at the southern edge of Tamilnadu. Our family visits this temple atleast once a year.
As I grew up, I slowly drifted away, becoming close to being an atheist, but not a full fledged one. Still I never shirked away from visiting the temple. Tiruchendur temple is one of the worst in terms of pestering priests. They literally snatched a hundred rupee note from my hands once. Any regular devotee will have his horror stories to tell about the priests here. The cleanliness (or lack of it) of the beach is something to be seen in person and appreciated. Most of the devotees use the beach as public convenience. Still, the temple is thronged by devotees of Lord Murugan.
All my doubts vanished when I visited the temple yesterday. The temple has a lot of paintings hanging in the outer sanctorum (?), mostly donated by groups of devotees. Most of these painting depict various myths about Murugan. The latest addtion I saw was the one that converted me back into a believer.
It was titled "சுனாமியை வென்ற சுப்ரமணிய சுவாமி" (Subramania who conquered the Tsunami). During the Decemeber 2004 Tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean nations, the sea came into the land everywhere. But in Tiruchendur, the sea receded for about a kilometer or so. This was possible due to the grace of Lord Murugan. The painting had a picture of Murugan showing his palms to the sea, and the sea receding back. For some reason it reminded me of Vijaykanth's movies. Leave that aside, now I am firm believer in the miracles of Murugan. If only the Indonesians had built a temple for him there ...