Navagraha Temples Tamil Nadu

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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We present pics in the sequence in which travelled since covered many temples around Kumbakonam at one go. I am told the sequence should be Sooriyan-Suriyanarkoil, Chandran-Thingalur, Sewai-Vaitheeswaran Koil, Budhan-Thiruvednkadu, Guru-Alangudi, Sukiran-Kanchanur, Saneeswaran-Thirdunallar, Raghu-Thirunageswaram, Kedhu-Keezhaperumpallam. The sequence is same in this prayer ''Suraya Somaya Mangalaya Budhayacha Guru Sukra Sanaishvara Raghave Kethave Namah''. U see gopuram and tree of navagraha 3 ie Sewai.

This place is Angaraka Kshtram (Mars). It is a very popular place of pilgrimage in South India. As a navagraha temple it is probably the biggest. The respected and famous NADI astrologers are found in this town in large numbers. Vaithianathaswamy is the curer of all diseases. Goddess Thayyalanayaki is said to accompany Him with the Holy-oiled vessel.

Tank is called Siddhamirtha Theertham. It is huge. "The water is said to have curative properties for various skin ailments."

East side entrance hall. End is sanctum. The main entrance from this side, a gopuram at entrance. Missed going there." If you are a non-Tamilian doing the navagrah temples try to get a local guide, most helpful - shall also explain important places in temple.

Pillars have Yalis - end is sanctum. In Tamil is name of deity Sri Thayal Nayagi.

Entrance to sanctum. Dwarapalas (doorkeepers) on either side of entrance.

Since cannot take pics inside got a vendor to let me take a pic like this so you can have darshan. "The belief is that if prayers are offered to Ankarakan, he will bestow valour, victory and strength to the person."

Image on pillar close to sanctum. Centre looks like Murugan because of peacock, his vehicle. "Missed seeing see the place where Jadayu was cremated – ‘Jadayu Kundam’. Jadayu is the eagle who made a gallant attempt to stop Ravana from proceeding to Lanka with Sita, got relieved of his wings by Ravana, fell down here and eventually got Moksha."

Ganesha on his vehicle the mouse. To see a video of temple Click here

Centre is female deity - please help identify. "Vaidheeswaran koil is a crowd puller for many reasons along with the Angarakan. Vaidyanadha Swamy (Shiva ) is believed to cure illness of the ardent devotees. Lot of people come everyday, offer prayers for regaining their health with the grace of the deity. Ambal is called Valambika alias Thaiyal Nayaki."

Ceilings painted as you see. "Mantra for Mars - Aum namo hanumate hung Aum." For more info on temple Click here

Pic entrance of Budha Kshetram (Mercury) at Thiruvengadu. Flag post after which is Nandi. "Thiruvenkadu, is a reference to the temple in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Therefore it is said that the oldest part of the temple is more than 3000 years old."

As we entered left side of temple. "This Devata bestows wisdom and wealth on his devotees. He is ruled by Lord Maha Vishnu. This temple is referred in ‘Saiva Thirumurais’ and Sastras. This place is similar to Kasi with all the Snana Ghats." We missed seeing the bathing ghats.

Mandapam with Nandi in front. Top pic Shivji in his abode Kailash. "Those who visit Thiruvengadu will find relief from puthira dosham, poor studies, mental instability, nervous disorders. Knowledge, music, astrology, maths, sculpting, medicine, language skills are the beneficial aspects of Budan.." Missed seeing temple tank. The presiding deities are Swedharanyeshwarar and his consort Ambal.

Right side of sanctum. "Mantra for Mercury Aum Mahalakshmaye vidmahe Vishnu Priyaye dhi mahi Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat."

108 Shank Abishekam. Sacred Waters kept in 108 Shanks for performing Abishekam. For more info on temple Click here

Kethu Kshetram at Keezhperumpallam. Pic inside shrine. "Ketu brings prosperity to the devotee’s family. He grants good health, wealth, cattle and all round prosperity. He is ruled by Lord Ganesha and Indra. . Those who are affected by Kethu dosha come here for rectification."

Pic of deity Naganathar. (Naga = Snake ; Nathar = Bhagwan or Lord. Bhagwan Shiva is worshipped as Naganathar here). "The presiding deities are Naaganaadaswamy and his consort Ambal. Motcham, sight, property, land, gold, vehicle, fame, wife, children, happiness, unexpected property gains are the beneficial aspects of Kethu Bhagavan."

Devotees lighting the lamp or deepam. "This is an ancient Saivite shrine where tradition has it that Kethu, one of the 9 celestial bodies central to astrological beliefs worshipped Shiva."

At temple entrance, Shiv Parvati with Ganesha & Murugan. Mantra for Kethu "Aum nring nring nring narsinghaye (Nrisimhaye) namah aum". For more info on Kethu Kshetram Click here

Entrance to Sani Kshetram (Saturn) at Thirunallar. "It is the ancient temple of Darbharanyeswara. This temple was visited by the Saint Tirugnana Sambandar in the 7th century A.D. who sang padigams (decadal verses) in praise of the Lord." The great Saivite saints Thirugnanasambhandar, Sundaramurthy Swamigal, Thirunavukkarasar and Arunagirinadhar have worshipped at this shrine and sung about the glory of the Lord.

Gopuram at entrance. "The name "TIRUNALLARU" is said to represent the association of Nala of the Nishadha country who got his deliverance from the evil effects of Shani (Saturn) by invoking the Lord''s mercy here. (Nala+Aru-Nallaru)."

On crossing gopuram enter this open area - temple wall. U see flag post. Holy tree is Darba. "Shri Darparanyeswarar Temple. A majority of devotees throng the temple for relief from the effects Saturn in their life. They take an oil bath in the Nalatheertham, offer prayers to Kalitheertha Vinayaka, break coconuts and worship Baghwan Sani the planet Saturn. "

Long corridor on either side of the temple. Devotees also come to this temple for "repentance from sins, curing of diseases, getting oratory skills."

Pillars inside corridor. Appears ceiling had paintings earlier. Click on link to download PDF file of all temples/navagrahas near Kumbakonam Click here

Sanctum from outside, very particular cannot click pics inside. "As one enters and perambulates round the circumambulatory path this shrine of Kalathinathar and Karpakavinayakar are seen which are readily worshipped. The image of Lord Shaniswara is seen in a graceful standing pose housed in niche on the left side of the Lord''s Sannithi."

View of gopurams from inside temple, we went about 5.30 ish.

Musicians playing. "Mantra for Saturn – Aum aing hring shring shung shanaishcharaye namah aum."

Two Pandits. Face of one on right is glowing. For more info about temple Click here

In front family had come to celebrate sixty years of father ie called Sathabhishek. The garland might have been given by Pandit after performing Shanthi Pooja. Missed seeing temple tank. To visit temple site Click here

Guru Kshetram (Jupiter). Entrance to Arulmigu Abathsagayeswarar Temple - Alangudi where the main deity is Lord Siva. It is 17 kms from Kumbakonam. Thursday is an auspicious day to visit the temple.

Has tank on three sides. Only temple where the water was not clean. "People whose birth star sign is Punarvasu Nakshatra must visit temple twice a year or atleast once. They should stay in the temple or premises for two and half hours. It is believed that students, in order to excel in education, can offer kondakadalai garland (chick pea is soaked in water and made as a garland) to Lord Guru."

Image of Ganesha as walked towards the sanctum. "The presiding deity''s are, Lord Ganesha/Vinayagar known here as "Sri Kalangamar Katha Vinayagar". "

Gopuram with flag post on right. There are images of 8 Goddesses, see left of flag post. Wonder what they represent.

View of gopuram with Kirti Mukha at top centre, to ward away evil spirits. This temple is one among the 274 "Padal Petra Sthalams" in Chola Dynasty.

Deity in sanctum. "Lord Shiva (Shiva is in the form of a lingam and known as "Sri Abathsagayeshwarar"). The lingam is the ''Suyambu'' Lingam. Lord DakshinaMurthy also known as "Sri Guru Bhagavan" or "Brahaspati"."

Think pic of Sri Abathsagayeswarar but not fully sure. Holding it is Rahul Ghosh from Durgapur who accompanied me during yatra. We did yatra in January 2016.

Side entrance of temple. For more information about temple Click here

Entrance to Soorya Kshetram at Suriyanarkoil. "Of the nine grahas, the primary position is given to Lord Surya which is why the first day of the week is said to be Sunday. According to the Atharvana Veda, one who worships Surya Bhagawan will be relieved from diseases pertaining to the eyes and heart."

Sadhus sitting outside the temple. "Inscriptions from the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120) refer to this temple as the Kulottunga Chola Martanda Alayam. K Chola is said to have 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."

Top you see Surya Devata riding on seven horses. "To the north of the rajagopuram lies the sacred bathing ghat, called Surya Pushkarni. It is important to bathe in this ghat before offering worship at the temple." We missed visiting the ghat. Friends whenever you visit any older temple in Tamil Nadu always ask where is the temple tank - learning for me.

"To its east lies a mandap where one can see an idol of a horse. The Lord’s vehicle is the horse (vaahanam) which goes by the name ‘Saptha, meaning seven in Sanskrit. The one-wheeled chariot is drawn by seven horses."

Inside the temple. "Mantra for Sun - Aum hrim hrim suriyaye namah Aum". For more information about the temple Click here

Sukra Kshetram (Venus) entrance. "This temple is 16kms from Kumbakonam and belongs to madurai Sri Thirugnanasambantha Swamigal Aatheenam. Men visit to pray for the well being of their wives. Sukra or Venus is the bestower of long life, wealth, happiness, children, property and good education. He is ruled by Goddess Mahalakshmi."

Pillars with Yalis.

We saw this. Board is for celebration of festival Masimaga Brahmorchava Thiruvizha. It is celebrated by Madurai Adheenam - Loka Guru 292nd Guru Maha Sannidhanam.

Name of deity Karpagambal. Goddess Karpagambal is the consort of Bhagwan Agneeswarar here.

Side view-entrance to sanctum. Centre is Nataraja. "The presiding deity Agneeswarar is the embodiment of Sukran. Sukrachariar was the Guru of asuras. Sukra endows those who pray to him with wealth, pleasure, wife, prosperity, vehicles. He is the next most beneficial planet after Guru. "

Devotees lighting deepam. Mantra for Venus – Aum jung, hang sa bhur bhuvan swa kartike namah. For more info on temple Click here

Raghu Kshetram (Rahu). Entrance gopuram. "Thirunageshwaram is one of the 127 temples on the southern banks of river Cauvery. It is one of the Panchakrosa Sthalas. The presiding Deity is Arulmigu Giri Gujambika Sametha Naganathaswamy."

Overview of temple prahar (wall). "The Raaghu Sannathi (Nagaraja Shrine) is on the South-West direction of the second prakara. ThiruJnana Sambandar, Thiru navukarasu Nayanar, ThiruSundramoorthi Nayanar, and Arunagiri Swamigal have praised the glory of the Lord. The Chola KingKandaraathithya (950AD-957AD) changed it into a granite edifice."

Left is Ganesha temple, centre gopuram, right flag post, Nandi and Bali Peetham (sacrificial platform). "The Jyothisha Sastra (Astrology) states that if Raaghu is in good position in one’s horoscope He will bestow all prosperity (including Raja Yoga) to him and that person becomes a Kubera."

Entrance to this shrine. Lakshmi, Parvati, Saraswati also in shrine. We did about 70 temples in 18 days. In most places was rushed since temples close by 11.30ish and open by 4pm so photography time limited. Hope to visit some of the temples again in a more leisurely way. Om Namoh Shivah.

Mandapam pillars with Yalis. "Offering worship at (Nageswarar temple) in the morning, at noon and at in the evening on a given day is considered to be of special significance."

Entry to sanctum, note dwarpalas (door-keepers) on both sides. "The thousand pillared mantapa is designed like a chariot having artistic stone wheels."

View of hall from entrance side - Nandi in front. "Tirunageswaram,Raaghu is the king of snakes and since he worshiped lord shiva the place was named as Thirunageshwaram. This temple is 6kms away from Kumbakonam."

I just loved this tank. Had to climb on the wall to take this pic, worth it. Mantra for Rahu "Aum rang rahuve namah aum." To see a video covering all Navagraha Temples Click here

We saw this huge gopuram on our way out of temple, think north facing. For more info about temple Click here

Chandra Kshetram (Moon) at Thingalur. Sadhus at entrance. This is a very small temple. "Chandran is also hailed as Thingal and his abode is Thingalur. It is here that Chandran prayed to Lord Siva and got his blessings. Dosham to mother, mental retardation, skin and nerve problems, jaundice, fluid accumulation are the diseases caused because of Chandra dosham. Mantra for moon – Aum som somaye namah Aum." To see images of deity of each Navagraha temple Click here

Entrance to temple. Friends with my limited knowledge tried best to present pics and captions. Two Tamilian friends helped with captions. Any errors are unintended. Visit to Navagrahs and writing captions was an amazing exprience. Om Namoh Shivay. For more info about temple Click here