Thirunageswaram Temple or Naganathaswamy temple was situated in a small town of Thirunageswaram, which is 10 km drive from Kumbakonam via Manthai- Karuppur main road, in the state of Tamil Nadu. The principal deity here is Lord Shiva.
He is worshipped in the name of “ Naganathar ” locally. This temple is considered to be one among the Navagraha temples in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Raahu, who is said to inflict pain on person.
The surprising fact here is unlike in all other temples in India, Raahu here will be in human form. Whereas in all other shrines in India he can be seen only in the form a snake.
Thirunageswaram Temple at Kumbakonam
Legends of Thirunageswaram Temple
There are incredible stories with regard to the history of this temple. The most popular among them was that of Saint Sushil and serpent king story. On one fine day, Nagaraja the king of snakes after completing his prayers to Lord Shivaon Maha Shivaratri.
He is enjoying in the company of his wives. He bited a 5 year old boy named Sambuthathan, the son of great saint Sushil. On realizing the truth behind his son’s death with the aid of his divine powers. He cursed Nagaraja that ‘ from now onwards all of your powers will be drained out and you will lead a isolated life for rest of your future’.
On hearing this Nagaraja was terrified. He felt sorry and requested saint to rollback that curse. Benevolent saint moved by his words , finally granted him a cure to get relieved from that curse. Nagaraja was directed to meet his father Kashayapa after 1000 years.
Nagaraja with due respect and fearful about the curse, followed the orders strictly. He met Kashayapa, and then he was told by Kashyapa munni to worship lord Shiva at four places namely- Kumbakonam keelkottam, Senbakanyam, Thirupamburam, Nagaikaronam.
Serpent king visited this place at last and offered his final prayers to lord Shiva. Therefore this village was popular as Thirunageshwaram and lord Shiva with the name Naganathar.
The other legend of this temple involves the great event of churning Milky Ocean by Asuras and Devathas. Devathas were very cautious of evil nature of Asuras.
They don’t want Amrutham (which grants eternal glory) to get into the hands of devils, which they thought of would bring ultimate chaos to the world. So, Vishnu went in the form of a female as Mohini to Asuras camp and planned to steal Amrutham by deceiving them.
However one of the Asura came to know about this and drank Amrutham. This whole act was watched by Surya (Sun) and Chandra (Moon), they reported about this incident to Lord Narayana.
Fierce Narayana separated the torso of that Asura from his head. Since that Asura already consumed Amrutham, his body and head continued to live on.
After this incident a Snake came and got attached itself with the living head of Asura. Asura prayed to Vishnu for letting him to be the part of grahams. Later on it is believed that Raahu takes his revenge on Sun and Moon in the form of eclipses.
Thirunageswaram Temple – Raahu
Navagraha Raahu was associated with this temple. Raahu and Ketu are considered to be the most important figures, whose position will determine a person’s life. Wrong position of Raahu is said to inflict pain and sufferings on human beings.
People who visit this shrine believe that by praying to Raahu three times a day, one’s sins will be vanished. Raahu along with his consorts can be seen here in Idol forms.
This temple bears testimony to the workmanship of Cholas. This temple was initially built by Aditya Chola 1 in 10th century A.D. In later times Chola King Kanadarithya reconstructed this temple with Granite. There are four gateways or Gopurams in four directions of the temple.
Raahu was enshrined in the second precinct of North Eastern sector. The holy Shenbaga tree was situated within temple boundary. There are totally 12 Theerthams or sacred tanks in this temple.
Thirunageswaram Temple – Importance
The greatest wonder which is found in this temple was unique and cannot be seen in part of the world. The miracle is that when milk is poured on Shiva Linga, the color of milk will turn blue, after a few minutes it will return to its original state.
Sunday was considered to be the most important for offering poojas to Raahu. This temple truly brings bliss and happiness to those people who believes in god.
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