Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sanbakaranyeswarar Temple, Tirunageswaram

Location of the templeTirunageswaram
Lord Shiva known asSanbakaranyeswarar, Naganathar
Female deity known asGirikusambikai
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sambandar, Sundarar
How to reach This temple is located 5 Kms from Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam - Nannilam road. Town bus services from Kumbakonam are available to go to Tirunageswaram. A Divya Desam shrine of Lord Vishnu is located at Tiruvinnagar (Uppiliyappan Kovil) which is about 2 Kms from Tirunageswaram.

The shrine dedicated to Rahu is at Thirunageswaram, 7 Kms from Kumbakonam, and just about 2 Kms from Uppiliappan Kovil.It is believed that Rahu prayed to Shiva at this shrine. Since Rahu is a serpent (Naga), the main deity is Naganathaswamy and this place is named Thirunageswaram. In this shrine, Rahu is accompanied by his two wives Naga Valli and Naga Kanni. When Abhishekam is performed to Rahu during the Rahu Kaalam, the milk turns blue when it falls on the body, and again turns to white when it leaves the idol. Visit the temple any day during the Rahu Kaalam and you can see this wonderful sight for yourself. Some years back, a snake skin was found on the deity, draped like a garland, when the temple was opened in the morning. This has been kept in the temple, and can be seen.

There are two shrines to the main deity in this temple. The first one is the shrine to Naganathaswamy. The second is the shrine of Ardhanareeshwarar.

There are also two shrines of the goddess - Piraiyanivanudalumai and Girigujambigai. While the former is housed in a separate shrine in the same temple as Naganathaswamy, Girigujambigai has a seperate temple to herself. There is no sculpted idol of the goddess in this shrine. She is in the form of an stucco image, decorated with a golden kavacham. It is believed that when Indra was cursed by Gautama rishi, he prayed to Parvati here, anointing her with Punugu (the fragrant excretions of the civet cat). Till date, there is no Abhishekam to the goddess, but she is regularly anointed with Punugu. Every year, for 45 days in the period from Jan to March, a special festival to the goddess takes place, starting with the Devi being anointed with Punugu on the 15th of January, the first day of the Tamil month of Thai. During these 45 days, it is believed that Indra himself arrives to worship the goddess. Hence, a curtain is placed till the neck of the deity during this period, and only her face is visible for devotees. In this shrine, the goddess is flanked by Saraswati on the left and Lakshmi on the right. This temple also has an interesting idol of Bala Sastha, who is said to be the guardian of the goddess.


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