Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Tamilnadu State
Agniswarar Temple, Kanjanur, Tamilnadu
The Agniswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in the village of Kanjanur, 18 kilometres north-east of Kumbakonam. The presiding deity is Sukra (Venus). However, the main idol in the temple is that of "Agniswarar" or Shiva. In concordance with the Saivite belief that Shiva is all-pervading, Sukra is believed to be located within the stomach of the idol of Shiva.
The TempleThe temple was built by the Medieval Cholas and renovated by the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple has a 5-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakarams(closed precincts of a temple). The temple is revered by the verses of Appar and hence referred as Padal petra stalam.
LegendLegend is that Siva blessed Parasara muni(sage) here with cosmic dance.
NavagrahaKanjanur is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Venus, called Sukra. Unlike other Navagraha temples, the main deity, Agniswarar in the form of lingam depicts Lord Sukra.
ShukraShukra (शुक्र, ശുക്രൻ, ಶುಕ್ರ, சுக்ரன், IAST Śukra), the Sanskrit for "clear, pure" or "brightness, clearness", is the name of the son of Bhrigu, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas (with honorific, शुक्राचार्य Shukracharya). He presides over Shukravar (Devanagari: शुक्रवार) or Friday.
He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously as mounted on a camel, horse or crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.
Ushanas is the name of a Vedic rishi with the patronymic Kāvya (descendant of Kavi, AVŚ 4.29.6), who was later identified as Ushanas Shukra.
NameShukra is etymologically identical with Shukla "white". As a noun, it is also the name of a Marutvat, of a son of Vasishtha, of the third Manu, of one of the saptarshi under Manu Bhautya, of a son of Bhava, of a son of Havirdhana.
Ushanas is also the name of the author of a Dharmashastra.
Guru ShukracharyaHe was a Bhargava rishi of the Atharvan branch and a descendant of sage Kavi. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana refers to his mother as Kavyamata. The feminic natured Shukra is a Brahminical planet. He was born on Friday in the year Parthiva on Sraavana Suddha Ashtami when Svati Nakshatra is on the ascent. Hence, Friday is known as Shukravaar in Indian languages like Sanskrit, Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, and Kannada. He went on to study the Vedas under the rishi Angirasa but he was disturbed by Angirasa's favouritism for his son Brihaspati. He then went to study under rishi Gautama. He later performed penance to Lord Shiva and obtained the Sanjivani mantra (a formula that revived the dead). He married Priyavrata's daughter Urjaswathi and they had four sons — Chanda, Amarka, Tvastr, Dharaatra and a daughter from his marriage to Indra's daughter Jayanti by the name Devayani.
During this period Brihaspati became the Guru (Preceptor) of the Devas. Due to the hatred Sukracarya bore towards Vishnu for what he perceived as the murder of his mother as she had given shelter to some asura whom Vishnu was hunting, Shukracharya decided to become the Guru of Asuras. He helped them achieve victory over the Devas and used his knowledge to revive the dead and wounded among them.
In one story, Lord Vishnu is born as the Brahmin dwarf-sage Vamana. Vamana comes to take the three worlds as alms from the asura king Bali. Lord Vishnu wanted to deceive the king Bali who was the grandson of the great king Prahlada, in order to help the Devas. The sage Shukracharya identifies him immediately and warns the King. The King is however a man of his word and offers the gift to Vamana. Shukracharya, annoyed with the pride of the king, shrinks himself with his powers and sits in the spout of the Kamandalu, from which water has to be poured to seal the promise to the deity in disguise. Lord Vishnu, in disguise of the dwarf, understands immediately, and picks a straw from the ground and directs it up the spout, poking out the left eye of Shukracharaya. Since this day on, the guru of the asuras has been known to be half blind.
Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, who was rejected by the son of Brihaspati, Kacha. She later marries the legendary Somavanshi king Yayati.
In the time of the Mahabharata, Shukracharya is mentioned as one of the mentors of Bhishma, having taught him political science in his youth.
People governed by the Venus portray contradictory behavioral patterns on gross and subtle levels. For example, on external plane they may reveal artistic and poetic personality traits, but deep down they may be calculative and business like people. Sometimes people with Venusian qualities may appear pleasure seeking, romantic, demanding and greedy, but on subtle level they may be all accepting and spiritual people. Venus creates the veils of illusion and baffling layers of contradiction.
Strong Houses: 2, 3, 7, 12
Weak Houses: 6, 8
Medium House: 1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11
Shukra and its significanceVenus is an indicator of spouse, love, marriage, comfort, luxury, beauty, prosperity, happiness, all conveyances, art, dance music, acting, passion and sex. Shukra blesses the people with power to control their sense organs (Indriyas) and enables to obtain name and fame. Afflictions to Venus can cause eye diseases, venereal complaints, indigestion, pimples, impotency, loss of appetite and rashes on the skin.
In Vedic astrology, there is a dasha or planetary period known as Shukra Dasha which remains active in a person's horoscope for 20 years, this is the longest dasha among all planets. This dasha is believed to give more wealth, fortune and luxury to a person's life if they have Shukra positioned well in their horoscope. In addition Shukra is an important benefic planet in the horoscope. Shukra is associated with a month in the Hindu calendar called JyeshTha ( May–June, personified as the guardian of Kubera's treasure).
Shukra also has the following associations. His color is white, metal is silver and gemstone is diamond. His direction is south-east, season is spring and element is water.
Above the moon by a distance of 200,000 yojanas are some stars, and above these stars is Śukra-graha (Venus), whose influence is always auspicious for the inhabitants of the entire universe. Some 1,600,000 miles above group of stars is the planet Venus, which moves at almost exactly the same pace as the sun according to swift, slow and moderate movements. Sometimes Venus moves behind the sun, sometimes in front of the sun and sometimes along with it. Venus nullifies the influence of planets that are obstacles to rainfall. Consequently its presence causes rainfall, and it is therefore considered very favorable for all living beings within this universe. This has been accepted by learned scholars. On the upper chin of the śiśumāra is Agasti; on its lower chin, Yamarāja; on its mouth, Mars; on its genitals, Saturn; on the back of its neck, Jupiter; on its chest, the sun; and within the core of its heart, Nārāyaṇa. Within its mind is the moon; on its navel, Venus; and on its breasts, the Aśvinī-kumāras. Within its life air, which is known as prāṇāpāna, is Mercury, on its neck is Rāhu, all over its body are comets, and in its pores are the numerous stars.
Transport and utility services to Kumbakonam
Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi, Tamilnadu
Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi or Guru Sthalam or Tiru Irum Poolai is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the village of Alangudi in the Valangaiman taluk ] of Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Navagraha(nine planets) temples situated in the Cauvery delta. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where Campantar, one of the four most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints) have sung the glories of this temple.
The TempleThe temple has a 5-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakarams(closed precincts of a temple).
LegendLegend is that Siva consumed deadly poison, giving rise to the name Alangudi and deity being termed Apatsahayesvarar, indicating saviour during hard times.
NavagrahaThe temple is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas(Temples of Nine planets) located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Jupiter, called Dakshinamoorthy, the Guru.
Dakshinamurthy or Jnana Dakshinamurti (Tamil: தட்சிணாமூர்த்தி, Telugu: దక్షిణామూర్తి, Sanskrit: दक्षिणामूर्ति ((Dakṣiṇāmūrti)) is an aspect of Shiva as a guru (teacher) of all types of knowledge and bestower of jnana. This aspect of Shiva is his personification as the supreme or the ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge. This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom, and giving exposition on the shastras. He is worshipped as the god of wisdom, complete and rewarding meditation. This form of Shiva is popular in the Southern states of India especially Tamil Nadu.
MeaningDakshinamurti literally means 'one who is facing south (dakṣiṇa)' in Sanskrit. South is the direction of Death, hence change. In every Siva temple the stone image of Dakshinamurthy is installed, facing south, on the southern circumambulatory path around the sanctum sanctorum. Perhaps, of all Hindu Gods, he is the only one sitting facing south. The great seer Ramana Maharshi, has said in letter 89: one meaning of Dakshina is efficient; another meaning is ‘in the heart on the right side of the body’; Amurthy ’means Formlessness' . "Dakshinamurthy Stotra" in Sanskrit, means the "Shapelessness situated on the right side".
DepictionThis iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly south Indian in character.
In his aspect as Jnana Dakshinamurti, Shiva is generally shown with four arms. He is depicted seated under a banyan tree, facing the south. Shiva is seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction. He is shown as seated with his right foot on mythical apasmara (a demon which, according to Hindu mythology, is the personification of ignorance) and his left foot lies folded on his lap. Sometimes even the wild animals, are depicted to surround Shiva. In his upper arms, he holds a snake or rosary or both in one hand and a flame in the other; while in his lower right hand is shown in vyakhyanamudra, his lower left hand holds a bundle of kusha grass or the scriptures. The index finger of His right hand is bent and touching the tip of his thumb. The other three fingers are stretched apart. This symbolic hand gesture or Mudra is the Gnana Mudra (or Jnana Mudra or Jana Mudra), a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes, this hand is in the Abhaya Mudra, a posture of assurance and blessing. In Melakadambur the Dakshinamurthy looks seated on a bull under a banyan tree,a hole in this statue's ear that extends to the next ear was an wonderful sculpturing.
Dakshinamurthy is portrayed as being in the yogic state of abstract meditation - and as a powerful form brimming with ever flowing bliss and supreme joy. Variations of this iconic representation include Veenadhara Dakshinamurthy (holding a Veena), Rishabharooda Dakshinamurthy (mounted on a Rishabha - the bull) etc. Maharshi Kardamshankara Jnanadeva, a mystic seer says that Dakshinamurthy means the abstract or hidden power of the absolute which expressed in all enlightened masters.
Impact on Indian LifeThe fifth day of the week, Thursday is associated with the planet Jupiter and is referred to as Guru (Guruvar or Guruvaaram). Thursdays are considered auspicious to start any educational endeavours. It is on Thursdays that special worship services are offered to Dakshinamurthy in many Saivite temples. Some temple traditions hold full moon nights, particularly the night of the Guru Purnima as the appropriate time for worship services to Dakshinamurthy.
TemplesEven though the idol of Dakshinamurthy is installed in every Shiva temple, there are only a few temples where Dakshinamurthy is the chief deity.
- Only one of the twelve Jyotirlingas is Dakshinmurthy, the Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain. Being the only Dakshinmurthy Jyotirlinga, It holds special importance for Shaivites as a site of learning.
- Ettumanoor Mahadevar Temple in Kerala, where the deity enshrined in the form of a Shivalingam is considered as Dakshinamurthy
- Alangudi , Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
- In the Sivanandeswarar temple in Thirupanthurai, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, He is depicted in the Ardhanari form.
- In Thirupulivanam, we can find Dakshinamurthy in the form of Ardhanariswara. This temple is on the Uthiramerur-Kanchipuram road, 5 km from Uthiramerur, near Chennai.
- In March 2007, a big temple of Lord Dakshinamurty (the first in Maharashtra) was created in the Shrutisagar Ashram, about 30 km from Pune
- Pragya Dakshinamoorthy at Chibavananda Ashram in Theni, western Tamil Nadu
- Dakshinamurthy at Sukapuram, Edapal Taluk in Malappuram District , Kerala
- In Suchindram Thanumalaya temple (5km from Nagercoil, Kanyakumari Dist.), contrary to tradition, Dakshinamurthy is worshipped instead of Ganesh/Vinayaka. Ganesha statue comes last in the worship line.
- In Thiruvotriyur,Chennai a dedicated temple to Dhakshinamoorthy exists. Its unique as the Lord faces North and is aptly called VadaGurusthalam (the guru's place of north).
- Dakshinamurthy Ashtakam by Adi Shankara charya is a laudatory hymn for this form of Siva.
Kailasanthar Temple,Thingalur, Tamilnadu
The Kailasanathar Temple is a Hindu temple in the village of Thingalur, 18 kilometres from Kumbakonam. The presiding deity is Soma(moon). However, the main idol in the temple is that of "Kailasanathar" or Shiva.
DescriptionThe temple has a 5-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakaram(closed precincts of a temple). The place is revered by the verses of Appar, but since there is no mention about the deity, it is not classified as Padal petra stalam.
LegendLegend has it that there lived a merchant Appoodi Adikal, a nayanar in the village of Thingalur who was a devotee of lord Shiva. Appoodi Adikal held Appar in high regards and wanted to host him. The day arrived, but his son got killed by a venomous snake bite while the saint was being hosted. Appar, moved by Appoodi Adikal's devotion is said to have miraculously restored the lad to life.
NavagrahaKailasanthar Swamy temple is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Moon, called Thingal in Tamil language. There is a separate shrine for Lord Moon.
In Hinduism, Chandra (Sanskrit चन्द्र lit. "shining") is a lunar deity and a Graha. Chandra is also identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma (lit. "juice"). The Soma name refers particularly to the juice of sap in the plants and thus makes the Moon the lord of plants and vegetation.
Chandra is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Rajanipati (lord of the night) and Kshuparaka (one who illuminates the night), Indu (lit. the bright drop). As Soma, he presides over Somvar or Monday.
Chandra is the father of Budha, (planet Mercury) the mother being Tara. He is married to 27 Nakshatras (constellations), who are known to be daughters of Daksha.
In AstrologyIn Vedic astrology Chandra represents brain and mind, emotions, sensitivity, softness, imagination, queen and mother. Chandra rules over the sign Karka (Cancer), while he is exalted in Vrishabha (Taurus) and in his fall in Vrishchika (Scorpio). The waxing moon is considered to be benefic, and the waning moon is considered to be malefic. The bright moon is considered a benefic of the highest order, while the dark moon is considered a malefic. Chandra is lord of three nakshatras or lunar mansions: Rohini, Hasta and Shravana. Chandra has the following associations: the color white, the metal silver and the gemstones pearl and moonstone. His element is water, direction is north-west and season is winter. The food grain associated with him (one of Nava Dhanyas) is rice.
According to Hindu mythology Chandra has not been very fortunate in life. Chandra was born in the Ocean of Milk (the gods were churning it for millennia in order to create immortal life), and nearly blinded the gods with his bright, glowing body (hence the name that means "illustrious"). The gods unanimously decided to give Chandra the status of a planet and sent him into the cosmos.
Chandra is known for having a series of disastrous love affairs. His first lover, Tara, was the wife of Brihaspati, the planet Jupiter. From their union, Tara became pregnant gives birth to Budha (a.k.a. the planet Mercury, not to be confused with the other Buddha). Because of how he was conceived, Budha hated his father and as Chandra also knew that Budha is his illegitimate son, he began to hate his son, and their rivalry continues to this day. For the sin of abducting another god's consort, Brahma banished Chandra to the outer atmosphere. This story illustrates allegorically the prohibition of intoxicants for Brahmins. After that, Chandra, set out to marry the twenty-seven daughters of Daksha. Daksha allowed this on the condition that the moon not favor any daughter over the others. Chandra failed to do this, and Daksha placed a curse on him that took away his luster, which accounts for the moon's waxing and waning.
Well placed and benefic Moon in the nativity bestows clarity of mind, lucidity and dexterity. People with strong and auspicious Moon are frank and friendly. They mingle with the elite class and powerful people. They have control over the senses and base desires. However, afflicted Moon in a birth chart can make a person prone to immoral desires and scandalous affairs. People with a benefic Moon in their birth charts visit the places of pilgrimage and carry out virtuous deeds. Even though the Moon bestows the qualities of unfathomable imagination and fascinating faculties, it is never Mercurial in nature. People with strong Moon are not of wavering mind. They are happy and joyous people. They are poised and transparent in worldly dealings.
Dark spot on the moonOne popular story to account for the dark spot on the moon is that Ganesha, once filled with food, fell from his mouse and broke his stomach. Chandra laughed at this, at which Ganesha injured him by breaking off and throwing one of his tusks; and cursed him so that it would be forbidden to behold Chandra on Ganesh Chaturthi.
Other usesChandra is also the word in Sanskrit, Hindi and other Indian languages for moon. It is the middle name of the Hindu god Rama. Chandra Shekara literally refers to the 'Person who wears the moon' which links to Lord Shiva in Hindu Mythology. It is directed as both evil and good, as it could mean 'Queen of the Moon' or 'Demon of the moon'. It is also a common Indian name, both male and female and exists as a name in many South East Asian languages that originate from Sanskrit.
The god, the drink and the plant probably referred to the same entity, or at least the differentiation was ambiguous. In this aspect, Soma is similar to the Greek ambrosia (cognate to amrita); it is what the gods drink, and what made them deities. Soma is still coined as name for an entheogenic brew (avestic: Haoma) still in ceremonial use.
Indu, one of the other names for Chandra, is also the name of the first chakra (group) of Melakarta ragas in Carnatic music. The names of chakras are based on the numbers associated with each name. In this case, there is one moon and hence the first chakra is Indu.
In India Chandra is a common surname for example 'Anurag Chandra ' and ' Ashima Chandra' . But in America the name has been used as a girl's name. It appeared on the popularity charts in the 1950s, peaking in the 1970s, before disappearing in the 1990s. The name has several variations including Chandrah, Chaundra, etc.
There is another story about moon (Chandra), when Indra was trying to rape Ahilya wife of rishi Gautama, moon (Chandra) was in form of cock & was waiting for rishi Gautama to give signal to Indra for the same. When Gautama came & saw all the mischievous act of Indra & Chandra, he gave curs to Indra for impotency & hit chandra (In form of cock) with his wet cloth (Dhoti). Those marks are shown as dark spot on moon as a result of curs of rishi Gautama.
Chandra Vansh of KshatriyasMany Kshatriya clans in India associate them with Chandra and call it Chandra Vansh. This Chandra Vansh (lineage) has nothing to do with this deity or celestial Moon. The story as given in puranas says, Lord Brahma had manasaputra (sons born out of mind or adopted son) Kashyap, he had son Atri and Atri (Rishi) had a son, Soma. The lunar lineage begins from this son of Rishi Atri. It should be noted that Somvansh has nothing to do with the celestial Moon.
In popular cultureChandra (and the gem supposedly on the forehead of a statue of his at Somanath) plays an important role in one of the first novel-length mystery stories in English, The Moonstone. Chandra has also been noted as one of the gems of king Janak in hindu mythology.
Nagannathaswamy Temple, Keezhaperumpallam
The Naganatha Swamy Temple or Kethu Sthalam is a Hindu temple in the village of Keezhaperumpallam, 2 kilometres from Poompuhar ( Nagapattinam Dt, Tamilandu) Puhar (Tamil: பூம்புகார்) (also known as Poompuhar) is a town in the Nagapattinam district . The presiding deity is Ketu, a shadow planet. However, the main idol in the temple is that of "Naganatha Swamy" or Shiva.
The TempleThe temple has a 2-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakaram(closed precincts of a temple).
NavagrahaKeezhaperumpallam is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to shadow planet Ketu.
Transport to Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam municipality accommodates 104.539 km (64.958 mi) of roads; 27.328 km (16.981 mi) of cement roads, 72.993 km (45.356 mi) of bituminous roads, 1.2 km (0.75 mi) of WBM roads and 3.018 km (1.875 mi) of earthern roads. Nagapattinam is connected by two national highways, NH 45A to Villupuram and NH 67 to Coimbatore and Gundlupete in Karnataka state. Nagapattinam is connected with Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Karaikal and other major towns of Tamil Nadu through the state highways SH 22 from Grand Anaicut to Kaveripoompattinam, SH 23 from Mayiladuthurai to Thiruthuraipoondi, SH 64 from Kumbakonam to Sirkazhi, SH 67 from Nagore to Nachiyar Koil, SH 147 from Kumbakonam to Karaikkal, SH 148 from Nagore to Vettar. SH 149 from Sembanarkoil to Nalladai, SH 150 from Vaitheeswarankoil to Lower Anaicut and SH 151 from Kilvelur to Kachanam. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates close to 175 daily services connecting various cities to Nagapattinam. Most of the buses via Nagapattinam operated by the corporation ply between Trichy and Velankanni. The corporation operates a computerised reservation centre in the municipal bus stand of Nagapattinam It also operates 25 town buses satisfying the local transport needs of Nagapattinam and the neighbouring villages. The State Express Transport Corporation operates long distance buses connecting Nagapattinam to Bangalore, Thiruvanathapuram and Marthandam.
The port of Nagapattinam is located in Bay of Bengal in the mouth of river Kuduvayyar. Nagapattinam was the most important port of the Chola empire. All the eastern naval expeditions of Rajendra Chola I (1012–44 CE) were through the port. The port was also widely used by the Dutch, Portuguese and British as one of the major ports in Coramandel Coast for trading purposes Most of the principal exports to Sri Lanka from the port during the British period were rice, piece goods, live stock, cigars, tobacco and skin. The trade of Nagapattinam was mostly with Sri Lanka, Straits Settlements, Burma and to a small extent to the United Kingdom and Spain. The port also served passenger traffic to Singapore, but was susepended due to a fire accident. The modern day port has a commercial port complex and a dockyard that are protected by a river mouth sand bar facing the port. ] The port handles only limited amount of edible oil imports. The Nagapttinam lighthouse is the first conventional 20 m (66 ft) high lighthouse tower built inside the port premises by the British in 1869. The port and the lighthouse are maintained by the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board under the Government of India
The nearest Airport is Tiruchirapalli Airport, located 145 km (90 mi) away from the town
Rahu Stalam Temple, Tamilnadu
Tirunageswaram, one of the famous Navagraha shrines, is located in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu, India. This temple is mentioned in the hymns of Thevaram and is thus classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam. Rahu is the Navagraha associated with this temple.
LegendMany serpents, including Adishesha, Takshaka and Karkotaka, worshipped Shiva at this place, leading to the name "Tirunageswaram". As per Hindu legend, the king of snakes, Adisesha did penace at this place, called Senbaranya Kshetram on account of the presence of large number of Senbaga trees. Shiva was pleased by the penance and appeared to him. Since Shiva gave a boon to the king of Serpents, he is called Naganathar. A Goddess Girigujambal is believed to be worshipping Shiva here with goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha, Muruga, and Shasta. Maha Bhairava is still believed to be guarding and assisting the divine mother during her prayers. The Goddess is said to be Swayambu as she is present in the form of Meru. Hence, no abhishekam (ablution) is performed for the image. As per a Hindu legend, Indra was cursed by sage Gautama as he misbehaved with the latter's wife Ahalya. To obtain deliverance from the sage's curse, it is said that Indra worshipped Giri-Gujambigai with a scented material termed Punugu for 45 days.
Sages like Gautama and Parashara and Kings like Bhagiratha and Nala are said to have worshipped Naganathar here. The ablution of the image of Rahu during Rahukaalam with milk turning to blue colour in this temple is considered to be a miracle and attracts devotees from distant places.
The Stately TempleThe temple is located on the southern bank of the river Kaveri 7 km from Kumbakonam. The temple campus encompasses exclusive shrines for Lord Naganatha Swamy (Shiva), Goddesses Pirayani Amman (Parvathi), Giri-Gujambigai (Parvathi) and Rahu with his divine spouses. Goddess Girigujambal has a separate shrine inside the temple campus as it is believed that the goddess is in thava kolam (mode of deep penance). Four worship services are held each day and the annual celebration is held in the Hindu month of Pankuni(March–April). There is a local belief that the worship during morning, afternoon and evening needs to be performed at the three Nageswaran temples namely Nageswaran Temple, Tirunageswaram and Thirupampuram respectively.
ArchitectureThe temple is another masterpiece which exhibits the Chola style of architecture. It is believed to have been built by Aditya Chola I in 10th century A.D. Later rulers have modified the temple with their own additions.
Reference in ancient Tamil literatureThis place has been referred to in Thevaram, a Saivite Tamil literature written by Saint Poets (7th century AD) Thirugnana Sambanthar, Sundarar and Tirunavukkarasar.
TransportThe nearest railway station is in Tirunageswaram, about 7 kilometres from Kumbakonam town. The nearest airport is in Trichy.
Suryanar Kovil, Tamilnadu
The Suryanar Temple is a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, South India. It is located in the village of Suryanarkoil in the Thanjavur district. It is dedicated to the worship of the Hindu Sun-God and the other Navagrahas, and is considered one of the Navagraha temples.
Suryanaar Koyil is located in the hamlet of Tirumangalakkudi near Kumbhakonam and Mayiladuturai near Thanjavur in Tamilnadu. This is a one of a kind temple dedicated to the Sun God and it also houses shrines to each of the other eight celestial bodies - the Nava Grahams. Very closeby, are the Shivastalams Tirumangalakkudi and Kanjanur (Sukrastalam).
Shrines for Surya are seen in many temples in Tamilnadu such as Tirukkodikka, Alagadriputtur, Ennayiram, (Rajendra Chola), Tirumanikkuzhi (Kulottunga), Tirupparaitturai, Tiruppattur, Kovilur etc. ; however a standalone temple for Surya is more of an exception than a rule.
Suryanaar Koyil was built by the Chola kings. Inscriptions from the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120) refer to this temple as the Kulottunga Chola Martanda Alayam. Kulottunga Chola is said to have had a good relationship with the Gahadwal dynasty of Kanauj (1090 - 1194), whose rulers were Sun worshippers, and hence Suryanar Koyil, is considered to be an expression of their influence in South India.
Inscriptions from the period of Krishna Deva Raya, speaking of endowments made to this temple are also seen here.
The Suryanar temple faces west. The presiding deity here is Suryanarayana in a chariot like vimaanam, representing the sun's chariot. There are also shrines to Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi and Brihaspati (Guru) in the sanctum. Shrines to the other celestial bodies are located outside of the sanctum.
The sanctum and the ardhamandapam are built of stone, while the rest of the shrines are brick structures. The Kol Theertha Vinayakar shrine is considered to be of importance here. An elaborate worship protocol involving circumambulating the entire temple nine times, is prescribed for devotees visiting the temple. Protocol requires that one visits the Tirumangalakkudi Shivastalam before visiting Suryanaar Koyil.
Ratha Saptami in the Tamil month of Thai, and the first Sundays in the months of Aavani (Leo) and Kartikai (Scorpio) and Vijaya Dasami are celebrated in this temple.
Swetharanyeswarar Temple, Tamilnadu
Swetharanyeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple located in the town of Thiruvenkadu near Sirkazhi. The main deity is Shiva - Swetharanyeswarar ("lord of white forest") and the goddess is Brahma Vidya ambal. There is a separate Sannidhi for Bhudhan (mercury). The temple is quite large and all four important Saivite saints have sung in praise of this lord.
This temple especially known for its unique incarnate of Lord Shiva called "Agora Murthi". He is one of the main god which is being prayed in this village.
Thiruvengadu village is also famous for its unique structure of pools in temples. This temple has 3 pools, 3 Gods. It is a belief that who takes bath in all these pools, the one will be free from their problems like diseases, marriage etc.,.
Sirkazhi, is a municipal town in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, India. It is located 13 km (8.1 mi) from the coast of the Bay of Bengal, and 250 km (160 mi) from the state capital Chennai. Sirkazhi was a part of Thanjavur district until 1991 and has later been part of Nagapattinam district.
Agora MurthiAgora Murthi is the main God in this temple. It is said that Agora Murthi was one of the furious incarnation of Lord Shiva. There was an Evil named "Padmasuran" in Thiruvengadu. He had a deep meditation on Lord Bhrama for power. Being satisfied with his meditation, Lord Bhrama offered him many powers. But he used those powers in a wrong ways. He started to torture the saints and innocent peoples. Having nothing to do, all the saints and peoples requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this evil. As they asked, Lord Shiva took his incarnation 'Agora murthi' and killed the 'Padmasuran under a tree.( which is now in Thiruvengadu temple, back to the entrance of Agora murthi) All the peoples thanked Lord Shiva for saving them.
There are many festivals which are being celebrated in this village. It includes the chariot festival which is celebrated every year in the month of February. This Chariot festival is celebrated for 10 days. On 5th day a special occasion is celebrated for Lord Agora Murthi. Peoples from many surrounding villages would come here and pray here for their better life.
Shiva and Buthan TempleThis Shiva temple is one of the 6 most sacred places on the banks of river manikanigai and Cauvery which is considered as equivalent to the temple at Varanasi. The other 5 shivasthalams are Thiruvaiyaru, Chaayaavanam, Mayiladuturai, Tiruvidaimarudur and Tiruvanchiyam.
Indiran, Airavatam, Budhan, Sun God Sooriyan and Moon God Chandiran are said to have worshipped God Shiva here. From the stone inscriptions found inside this temple, it is seen that the earlier chola kings Aditya Chola and Rajaraja Chold have made a lot of contributions to this temple.
There are several shrines of significance in this well visited temple, including those to Durga and Kali. The image of Natarajar here is of great beauty. Worship to Aghoramurthy - (Veerabhadrar) is said to be of significance on Sunday nights in this temple. As found in Chidambaram, there is also a shrine for Lord Vishnu near the shrine for Natarajar. This is adi(first) chidambaram because before dancing shiva in chidambaram he done the first dance here as per the HOLYINDIA . ORG website.
Vaitheeswaran Koil, (near Mayiladuthurai) Tamilnadu
Vaitheeswaran Temple or Pullirukkuvelur (Tamil:வைதீஸ்வரன் கோவில் is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva located in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran or the "God of healing" and it is believed that prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. It is one of the nine Navagraha (nine planets) temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). The village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Naadi astrology in Tamil. It is located 7 kilometer from Sirkali , 235 kilometer from Chennai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 110 km from Thanjavur and 16 km from Mayiladuthurai.
The holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex contains nectar and a holy dip is believed to cure all diseases.
The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars - Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the nayanars).
LegendDuring the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place. t is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed by Ravana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita) at this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam (pot of Jatayu having holy ash of Vibhuti). One of the nine planets, Angaraka (Mars), suffered from leprosy and was cured by Vaidhyanathaswamy and from then on it is treated as one of the Navagraha Temples for planet Angaraka. Parvati, the consort of Shiva, asked her son, Subramanya to appear with one face from his regular appearance of six faces. When he did so, she was pleased and presented him with vel (a weapon) to slay the demons. Subramanya overcame the asura Surapadman (a demon) and in the war, his army was severely injured. Shiva came out as the healer Vaitheeswaran and cured the wounds. Like Panneer ilai Vibhuthi of Tiruchendur Temple,The "Tiruchaandu Urundai" (called in tamil) which is covered with Vibhuti of deity heals various incurable diseases.It can be procured at the temple.
The TempleThe temple has a 5-tier gopuram (temple tower) and large precincts. The central shrine is that of Vaitheeswaran present as lingam in the inner most sanctum. The first precinct around the sanctum has the metal image of Subramanya, worhsipped here as Muthukumara Swamy. The other metal images in the sanctum are of Nataraja, Somaskanda, Angaraka and stone sculptures of Durga, Dakshinamoorthy, Surya (Sun god), Jatayu, Vedas, Sampati The shrine of Thaiyalnayaki who stands with the medicinal oil to cure the diseases of the devotees is present in the second precinct facing south. The large precinct also has a small shrine to Dhanvantari and shrine of Angaraka in stone sculpture. The southern gateway from this precint leads to the temple tank and directly faces the Thaiyalnayaki shrine. The Sthala Vriksha (temple tree) is margosa (Azadirachta indica) which possesses medicinal properties. It is located in the eastern gateway of the temple. The eastern gateway also has the shrine of Adi (original) temple that has a smaller replica of the main shrines. There is a fine metal image of Gangavisarjanar inside the temple
InscriptionsThe temple has five inscriptions mainly belonging to the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1120 CE). The inscription on the steps of Subramanya shrine records the shutter of the sluice at Sattainathapuram measures 35 inches in length and 8 inches in breadth The one on the right of the temple tank indicates the tank, Nachiyar shrine, and its hall were completely renovated when Kanderayar was governing the Sigali Simai, and during the management of the temple by Muthukumaraswami Tambiran, a disciple of Sivagnanadesikar-Sambandar of the Dharmapuram Adheenam. ] On the wall of the second precinct, the inscriptions state that the courtyard of Thayalnayagi shrine, the sacred steps and Tattisuri hall were built during Tamil year 4868 correspoding to 1689 CE. On the floor near accountant's seat registers a deed granted by Sankarabaragiri Rengopanditar by Ambalavanatambiran, an agent of the temple. ] The Easter gateway inscription indicates the gift of taxes from Manipallam in Tiruvalipparu
Worship and festivals
WorshipDevotees take a holy dip in the temple tank before worshipping Vaitheeswaran in the temple. It is also a local belief that dissolving jaggery (Tamil:vellam) in the waters cures skin diseases Tonsure ceremony of getting children shaved for the first time to promote proper growth is a very common practise. Mavilaku ma (litting lamp in rice cakes) is a form of worship practised. The practise of jamming salt and pepper in front of the temple mast and the pot near the temple tank is also followed. Unlike other temples in South India, where each shrine has a priest, each priest in the temple associates themselves with the devotees and perform worship on their behalf The holy soil rounded with ash (called Thiruchandu Urundai) is treated as medicine and believed to cure all the diseases. Another medicine given is chandan (sandalwood powder) with saffron. Devotees also donate carved silver plated body organs in the Hundi (vessel for offering) to cure the diseases.
Nadi AstrologyNadi astrology ('நாடி ஜோதிடம்' in Tamil), (nāḍi jyotiṣa) is a form of Hindu astrology practiced around the temple. It is based on the belief that the past, present and the future lives of all humans were foreseen by Hindu sages in ancient time. The texts are mainly written in Vatteluttu, which is an ancient Tamil script. There are different schools of thought as to the author of these leaves. They are believed to be written by a Tamil sage called Agathiyar who is said to have had divine revelations. These Nadi leaves were initially stored in the premises of Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library of Tamil Nadu. The British rulers later showed interest in the Nadi leaves concerned with herbs and medicine and future prediction, but ironically left most of the leaves to their loyal people. Some leaves got destroyed and the remaining were auctioned during the British rule. These leaves were obtained and possessed by the families of astrologers in Vaitheeswaran temple and was passed down the years from one generation to the other.
"வெள்ளெ ருக்கர வம்விர வுஞ்சடைப்
புள்ளி ருக்குவே ளூரரன் பொற்கழல்
உள்ளிருக்கு முணர்ச்சியில் லாதவர்
நள்ளி ருப்பர் நரகக் குழியிலே."translating to
Those who have no perception of the golden feet of deity in Puḷḷirukku Vēḷūr on whose matted hairs cobra and white yarcum flowers are mingled, staying in their minds. will be in the centre of the hollow of the hell.
Temple administrationThe temple is maintained by Dharmapuram Adheenam, a Saivite mutt or monastic institution located in the town of Mayiladuthurai, India. As of 1987, there were a total of 27 Shiva temples under the control of the adheenam.
Travel informationThe temple is located between Sirkali to Mayiladuthurai State Highway. Frequent bus services are operated by Tamil Nadu government. There is a Railway station which is located between chennai to mayiladuthurai railway road. Karaikal is the nearest proposal airport located around 40 kilometer from temple.
Tirunallar Saniswaran Temple, Tamilnadu
Tirunallar Saniswaran Temple or Dharbaranyeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Sani(saturn) located in Tirunallar in Karaikal district of Pondicherry, India. The presiding deity is Lord Siva, Dharbaranyeswar and the place Tirunallar was historically called Dharbaranyam. The temple is revered by the hymns of 7th century Tamil saivite poets, Appar, Cuntarar and Campantar and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.
The TempleThe presiding deity is Dharbaranyeswarar(Lord Siva) ] and is believed to have been made of dharba grass. The worship is also centered around the icon of planet saturn, called Saniswarar, originally treated as the door keeper of the shrine. According to Hindu mythology, saturn resides in each rasi(zodiac) for two and half years. The belief is the malevolent planet is worshipped before entering the inner sanctum of Lord Siva.
LegendSambandar, the 7th century nayanar and Tamil saivite poet has revered the deity with four hymns, in one of which he refers to a contest with Jains, and his victory. Appar and Sundarar, the other Nayanars have glorified the temple with their hymns. Arunagirinathar, a 15th century poet and staunch devoteet of Lord Muruga has composed hymns on the deity and this temple is attributed to Murugan worship as well.
Processional DanceThe Thyagarajar Temple at Tiruvarur is famous for the ajapa thanam(dance without chanting), that is executed by the deity itself. According to legend, a Chola king named Mucukunta obtained a boon from Indra(a celestial deity) and wished to receive an image of Thyagaraja Swamy(presiding deity, Shiva in the temple) reposing on the chest of reclining Lord Vishnu. Indra tried to misguide the king and had six other images made, but the king chose the right image at Tiruvarur. The other six images were installed in Thirukkuvalai, Nagapattinam, Tirukarayil, Tirukolili, Thirukkuvalai and Tirumaraikadu. All the seven places are villages situated in the river Cauvery delta. All seven Thyagaraja images are said to dance when taken in procession(it is the bearers of the processional deity who actually dance). The temples with dance styles are regarded as Saptha Vidangam(seven dance moves) and the related temples are as under:
Dance without chanting, resembling the dance of Sri Thyagaraja resting on Lord Vishnu's chest
Dance of an intoxicated person
Dancing like waves of sea
Dancing like a cock
Dancing like a bee that hovers over a flower
Dance like lotus that moves in a breeze
Dancing with the gait of a swan
We can reach by road via Trichy - Thanjavur - Thiruvarur - Karaikal - Thirunallar or Thanjavur - Kumbakonam - Thirunallar
LocationKaraikal is a small coastal enclave of territory which was formerly part of French India. Together with the other former French enclaves of Pondicherry, Yanam, and Mahé, Karaikal forms the Union Territory of Puducherry. Karaikal is bounded on the North and South by Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu state, on the west by Tiruvarur district (also belonging to Tamil Nadu), and on the East by the Bay of Bengal. The enclave is located 132 km south of the city of Pondicherry, 158 km east of Trichy and is known for its rich cultural heritage.
DivisionsKaraikal town about 20 km. north of Nagappattinam and 12 km.south of Tarangambadi is the regional headquarters.
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )