Tirunageswaram Temple

Not far from Sri Oppilliyappan temple is Sri Naganathaswamy temple.  Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this famous shrine is in Tirunageswaram, a stop before Uppiliyappan Koil, on the bus from Kumbakonam.

Sri Naganathaswamy temple is located in a coconut grove, exactly as Saint tirugnana Sambandar had described it around the Seventh century CE.  At the entrance is a colorful five-tiered Rajagopuram.  Beyond it is a large open ground, and farther from it is four-tiered gopuram.  Right in the middle stands a small shrine for Ganesha, behind it a tiny mandapam and next to it the dwajastambham.

In the sanctum is Sri Naganathaswamy,  worshipped in the form of the Lingam.  Adjoining it is the shrine of the divine consort, Sri PiraianiAmman.  In the southwest corner of the temple is the hugely-popular shrine for Raahu, one of the two malefic Navagahas.  Crowds flockto witness the abhishekam (ritual bath of the deity) here.  The idol turns blue when milk is poured over it.  Raahu is seated here.  The idol turns blue when milk is poured over it.  Raahu is seated here, sheltered by a five-hooded snake, with his consorts, Navakanni and Nagavalli.

Rahu and Ketu are unique to Indian astrology.  They are the ascending and descending nodes of Indian astronomy.  Both Raahu and Ketu are regarded as full-fledged planets, but are viewed with dread, as they are rakshasas, demons.  Raahu is said to be the cause of eclipses, and is considered the king of meteors, while Ketu is said to be a shadow planet, capable of causing both sorrow and loss.  However, they are said to bestow prosperity, if placed in a favorable position in a person's chart.  Conversely, the effects can be devastating,  if they are in an unfavorable position.  However, the bad effects of Raahu can be mitigated, if he is propitiated with abhishekam, archana and alankara, say the scriptures.  This obviously, accounts for the popularity of the Raahu shrine in Tirunageswaram.

According to the sthala purana, Raahu came to worship Shiva here, after he was cursed by sage Sushila.  Since Raahu resembles a snake, naga, Shiva is worshipped here as Sri Naganathaswamy and the place is known as Tirunageswaram.  Raahu can be the source of endless troubles, but is also capable of showering benefits on his devotees.

According to Saint Tirunavukkarasar, Sri Naganathaswamy helps his devotees to get rid of their troubles through Raahu.
I'n the extreme northeast of the temple complex is the same campus, it is almost a separate temple.  There is a fairly long corridor leading to the shrine, where paintings depict the legend of Goddess Girigujambika or Sri Girijambika.  Though within the same campus, it is almost a separate temple.  There is a fairly long corridor leading to the shrine, where paintings depict the legend of Goddess Gifigujambika. Flanking Sri Girijambika, in this popular shirne, are Sri Lakshmi and Sri Saraswati, facing each other.

Many great sages are said to have worshipped at the Shiva shrine in Tirungeswaram, among them sages Gowtami, Parasara and Vasishta.  So did king Nala, and the Pandavas.  According to inscriptions, Gandaraditya Chola built the sanctum for Sri Naganathaswamy in 786CE.  Saint Sekkilar, who is worshipped here, built the inner mandapam, while the outer one was built by Govinda Dikshitar during the rule of Achyutappa Nayak.  The great Chola emperosrs.  Raja Raja and Rajendra, bestowed land grants to this temple.  There are several sub-shrines dotting this vast temple.

How to get there:

Tirunageswaram is half a km from Oppiliyappan kovil. Accommodation:  Tirunageswaram or Kumbakonam.

Quickly Find What You Are Looking For