The temple is dedicated to Murugan, the warrior deity and the First son of Shiva and Parvati. When Murugan came here for the conquest along with his army, he found it to be very small and ordered the celestial architect Viswakarma to expand it. The town came to know with several names like Tiruchendil, Jayanthipuram, Thiruchilavay, and Srisandhinagaram. It is believed to be the place where Muruga conquered the demon Surapadma. It is believed that the demigods of Muruga wanted to worship him in a place where there were a mountainous tract, sea, and river and hence Tiruchendur was chosen.
The temple, which is built near the seashore, measures 299ft north to south, 213 ft east to west, and has a nine-tier gopuram, or tower gate, that is 157 feet high.