The Thanumalayan temple is an architectural marvel known for its quality of workmanship in stone. The musical pillars carved out of single stone and which stands at 18 feet is an architectural delight. There are seven musical pillars in the Alangara Mandapam, each cut out of single rock, which emit the sounds of various musical instruments when struck. There are 1035 pillars with carvings in the dancing hall.
The religious significance of the temple stems from the fact that the main statue of linga represents Siva (Sthanu), Vishnu (maal) and Brahma (Ayan). The representation of the three central gods of Hinduism in one Linga makes it one of the unique temples in India. Anthropologically it could be stemmed from the fact that Travancore with the main temple at Padmanabhapuram was Vaishnavite and the Nanjil Pillais and other community in Nagarcoil were primarily Shaivaites, because of the influences from Chola, Chera and Pandya kingdoms before the advent of Travancore kingdom. One of the unique aspects of the temple is the presence of the gods across the length and breadth of the Hindu pantheon, from Rama and Krishna to Amman and kandan. The different Hindu sects from Vaishnavism, shaivism, to more localised Tamil sects like amman, kandan are represented in the different idols of the temple.
The car festival celebrated in this temple during December/January every year attracts crowds of thousands of people. Another festival known as Teppam is celebrated during April/May every year.