Saturday, December 27, 2014

Navagraha temples, Tamil Nadu

Navagraha temples are temples devoted to Navagraha - the nine (nava) major celestial bodies (Grahas) of Hindu astronomy. These celestial bodies are named Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Ketu (South Lunar Node). Many temples in South India contain a shrine dedicated to the Navagrahas. However, the term Navagraha temples refers to a cluster of nine separate temples, each an abode of one of the Navagrahas.

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There is a cluster of Navagraha Temples dating from the Chola dynasty near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Each temple is located in a different village, and is considered an abode of one of the Navagrahas. However, the majority of these temples are dedicated to Shiva. The Surya temple is the only one dedicated to the Graham. In fact, it is dedicated entirely to the worship of the Sun-God and the other navagrahas, the former being the object of worship as the principal deity and the latter as attendant deities. It was built around the 11th or 12th century C.E. The other temples were built earlier, ranging back to 7th-9th century.

Temple open Morning 6am to 12:30pm and Evening 3:30pm to 8:30pm

Surya Navagrahastalam -- Sooriyanar Kovil

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.

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Location and Place

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Sooriyanar Temple is in East of Kumbakonam, Kumbakonam - Mayiladuthurai road. It is exactly 2 km to the north of Aduthurai and the temple is well connected from lower Anicut and Thiruppanandal. All the passengers have to alight at Thirumangalagudi Kaliamman Koil bus stop and walk for two furlongs north east to reach the temple. This temple is in the banks of Cauvery in Thiruvidaimarudur Talulk, which falls under Tanjore district known as headquarters of King Chola.

History

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It is stated in one of the inscriptions found in the temple that it was built in the reign of Kulottunga Choladeva (AD 1060-1118) and was called Kulottungachola-Marttandalaya.Lord Siva, pleased with their devotion absolved them of their sins and decried that there will be nine sannadhis for the navagrahas in the Suryanar temple (this is the only temple where all the navagrahas are present with separate sannadhis) and those who pray here will get relief from their problems.


Chandra Navagrahastalam – Kailasanthar Temple,Thingalur

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.The 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.

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Legend
Legend 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 was 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.Kailasanthar 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.

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Angaarakan Navagrahastalam -- Vaitheeswaran Kovil

Vaitheeswaran Temple or Pullirukkuvelur  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 kilometers from Sirkazhi, 235 kilometers 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).

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Legends

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During the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place.[3] It 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.


Budha Navagrahastalam – Thiruvenkadu

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Swetharanyeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple located in the town of Thiruvengadu 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 is especially known for its unique incarnate of Lord Shiva called "Agora Murthi". He is one of the main god who 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, delay in marriage, etc.,.

 

Legends

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Thiruvenkadu temple is surrounded by five prakarams known as pancha prakarams. Here the Lord is consecrated in His forms as Aghoramurthi (manifestation of His wild and angry form) and Nataraja (a manifestation of Shiva, assumed as the Lord of Dance).

Agora Murthi is the main God in this temple. It is said that Agora Murthi was one of the furious incarnations of Lord Shiva. There was an Evil named "Padmasuran" in Thiruvenkadu. He had a deep meditation on Lord Brahma for power. Being satisfied on his meditation, Lord Brahma offered him many powers. But he used those powers in a wrong ways. He started to torture the saints and innocent peoples. All the saints and peoples requested Lord Shiva to put an end to his evil. Lord Shiva took incarnated as 'Agora Murthi' and killed Padmasuran under a tree (now located in Thiruvenkadu temple, back to the entrance of Agora Murthi).

The Nataraja image holds seven instruments and weapons, namely, Vetalam, Khadgam, Udukku, Mani, Kedayam, Kapalam and Trisulam. Lord Shiva performs seven forms of dance or Tandavas, viz Ananda tandavam, Sandhya tandavam, Samhara tandavam, Tripuranta tandavam, Urdhva tandavam, Bhujanga tandavam and Lalita tandavam here. Lord Shiva is present here with five faces viz Easanam, Tatpurusham, Aghoram, Vamadevam and Sadyojatam, representing five directions and aspects of Lord Shiva. Easanam is facing the sky and represents purity, Vamdevam faces north and represents sustenance, Tatpurisha faces east and represents spirituality that has destroyed the ego, Aghoram faces south and represents the destructive and regenerative aspect of Shiva, Sadyojatam faces west and represents creation.

Devi in Her divine form of Bhadrakali has a separate shrine. Besides, there are separate shrines for Ashta Lakhsmis and the Navagrahas. Swetharanyeswarar temple has three theerthams (holy tanks) called as Agni Theertham, Surya Theertham and Chandra Theertham which are said to have been created out of the three drops which fell from Lord Shiva's eyes when he was dancing. The sthala vrikshams are also three in number - Vilvam, Vadaval and Konrai. The stone inscriptions on the walls of the temples depict important historical information on the Chola Dynasty and about several kings of Vijayanagar.

The posture of Nandi at the entrance is another unique feature here. It bears nine scars on its body and is seated at the entrance of Devi's shrine. Marutwasura, an asura, was troubling the Rishis and the people of Thiruvenkadu. The people prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva sent Nandi to fight the demon. Marutwasura was defeated by Nandi and thrown into the sea. Marutwasura through his penance obtained sula from Lord Shiva. The demon then returned with greater intensity to attack the innocent people. Once again, at the request of the devotees, Shiva sent Nandi. However, on this occasion, Nandi could not fight the demon as the demon had the Sula of Shiva. The demon caused wounds on Nandi's back with the Sula.

 


Guru Navagrahastalam – Alangudi

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.

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History of the Temple:
Legend has it that Alangudi is the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison as emitted during the churning of the 'paarkadal' (Sea of milk). Hence the place is known as Alangudi, which literally mean ‘the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison’. The Devas, when churning the paarkadal for nectar, were hindered by the poisonous fumes from the snake Vasuki and prayed to Lord Siva for deliverance. Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (Ala Visham) , thus giving rise to the name Alangudi to this sthalam and the Lord was known as "Aabathsagayeshwarar" (One who defends from the danger). Devas also had a horrid time by Gajamuha suran and Lord Ganesha subdued Gajamuhasuran, and hence Lord Ganesha is worshipped in this sthalam as 'Kalangaamal kaatha Vinayagar'.

Abathsahayeswarar Temple, Alangudi, Guru Stalam
Goddess Parvati undertook severe penance to marry Lord Siva and then married Lord Siva and hence this place is also hailed as Thirumana Mangalam. Lord Siva as a ferryman (boatman) helped Sundaramurthy Swamigal to cross the river Vettaru, a branch of river cauvery, 3 km away from Alangudi, which was in spate, to reach this place.
The boat capsized hitting a rock, on the way. Lord Siva seated on his Rishaba Vahana helped him reach the sthala safely. Sundarar received his Gnana upadesam after his darshanam of Dakshinamurthy at this sthalam. This sthalam is the Parivara sthalam for Madhyarjuna Mahalinga Peruman. This is the fourth amongst the Panchavarunya Sthalas. Vishwamithrar, Thirumal, Brahma, Lakshmi, Garuda, Ashta Thikku Balagas, Ayyanar, Veera Badrar, Mukunda Chakravarthy, Suvasanan, Sundarar have worshipped at this sthala.
Thiru Gnanasambandar has sung in praise of the Lord here and is the 98th temple among the 127 temples located on the southern bank of Cauvery. It is one among the 274 "Padal Petra Sthalams" in Chola Dynasty.

 


Sukra Navagrahastalam – Kanjanur

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.

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Temple History:   
Sage Mruganda Maharshi organized a great Yagna for the Lord of Nalladai.  He also announced that the materials required for the Yagna may be contributed by the public.  They wove three silk clothes with gold and offered one to the Lord, one to the Rishi and the third to their king.  At the end of the yagna, the rishi put two clothes given to him and the Lord in the Yaga Gunda-the fire pit.  The public raised the question “would the clothes placed in the Yaga Gunda reach the Lord.”  The sage asked them to go and see it for themselves in the sanctum sanctorum.  It was a pleasant surprise for the devotees to see their product covering the Lord in all freshness.
The sage explained that of the various types of Agni, Bharanai Rudragni was one and that power took things they gave to the Lord.  Hence, the Nalladai temple is attributed to Bharani star.
Vilwa, the sacred tree of the temple has a story.  One day, the Chola King of the day and Sivanesa Nayanar came here to worship the Lord.  A tiger chased Nayanar who climbed on the tree nearby.  After a while, when he came to the Kundangulam tank, the animal still followed but was killed by the Nayanar.  Lord appeared before Nayanar and blessed him.


Shani Navagrahastalam – Thirunallar

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.

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The 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.

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Legend
Sambandar, 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.

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Raahu Navagrahastalam – Thirunageswaram

Rahu Stalam is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva, located in Tirunageswaram, a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam, a town in Tamil Nadu, India. It is significant to the Hindu sect of Saivism as one of the temples associated with the nine planet elements, the Navagraha Stalas, and specifically Rahu. Shiva is worshiped as Naganathar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Piraisoodi Amman. The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. It houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Naganathar, Rahu and Piraisoodi Amman being the most prominent. The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the ornamental entrance hall built during the Nayak period.

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Legend

Many 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 at this place.

Thirunageswaram Rahu Picture

The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands.The drops of nectar are believed to have fallen onto five shrines around Kumbakonam, namely Mahlingeswarar temple at Tiruvidaimarudur, Tirudharasuram, Naganathar Temple at Tirunageswaram, Tiruvorgam and Tirupadalavanam.

History
The temple is another masterpiece which exhibits the Chola style of architecture. It is believed to have been built by Aditya Chola I in the 10th century A.D. Later rulers have modified the temple with their own additions. The temple has a separate shrine for Rahu.The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar.

 


Ketu Navagrahastalam – Keezhperumpallam

The Naganatha Swamy Temple or Kethu Sthalam is a Hindu temple in the village of Keezhaperumpallam, 2 kilometres from Poompuhar. The presiding deity is Ketu, a shadow planet. However, the main idol in the temple is that of "Naganatha Swamy" or Shiva.

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The temple has a 2-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakaram(closed precincts of a temple).Keezhaperumpallam is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to shadow planet Ketu.

Temple occupies an area of 630 feet South-North and 800ft East-West with adjacent sub lanes and four major streets around. There are four gateways with Gopuram in the big and high compound walls of the temple. Near to the compound walls there is the broad pathway (Praharam) with a flower garden on Northern side. On entering the Eastern gate way, one can find the Vinayaga temple, Balibeedam, Nandeeswarar Mandabam and Thwaja Sthambam (Flag post ). On the southern side there is the water head with four Mandaps on around with a 100 pillar Mandap in a temple -car style. There are artistic features on its eastern wall. On remaining Area there is a big Car Parking available for the devotees. The temple structure begins at the Central Gopuram with a long Praharam (pathway) immediately thereafter. There is continuous Mandap structure and in its South-West Corner there is Sri Raaghu Bagavan Sannathi.

Next to this long prakaram , we see front Mandabam where decoration of the Lord and other functions are held. This mandab was constructed by Govinda Dikshidar who was the Chief Minister to King Achuthappa naikar of Thanjavur in 16thCentury. In the front mandab on the eastern side, beautiful artistic pillar with "older and nine horses" design and similar pillars are found on the southern side (at the place of the raised plat form). There is a beautiful Mandab on the northern side with 'Yalli face' pillars where decoration of the idols taken on procession is made. In its western walls, during the renovation works done in 1929, artistic features have been engraved in a magnificent fashion, with the description of the five Moorthi's adorning the place. In the path way to Sannathi, the art work depicting Veda nayakas ,King Sambumali and penance pose of Ambal attract One's attention. The Dwarapalaga Sudhai work (made of Chunam clay) on each side at the entrance to the Swami Sannathi is charmingly big and so well styled that one loses himself at first sight

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