Sri Naganathaswamy Temple Thirunageshwaram
By CR. Kaushik
Sri Naganathaswamy is Shiva as Rahu. Thirugnana Sambandar, Thiru navukarasu Nayanar, Thiru Sundramoorthi Nayanar, and Arunagiri Swamigal have praised the glory of the Lord in this Temple.
Thirunageshwaram Sri Naganathaswamy Temple is situated 6 kms away from Kumbakonam on the southern banks of Cauvery in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The presiding Deity is Giri Gujambika Sametha Naganathaswamy. The Raaghu Sannathi (Nagaraja Shrine) is on the South-West direction of the second prakara.
The Chola King Kandaraathithya (950AD-957AD) renovated this temple into a granite edifice. The inner Mantapa was built by Seikkizhar. Govinda Dikshitar (17th century A.D.) a minister to Acchuthappa nayak, constructed the outer mandapa. Sambumali, a King built the beautiful Surya Pushkarani. The roof and other renovation work were done by Arimalazham Annamalai Chettiar.
Nageswarar or Naganatha is the swayambu main deity in this Temple, Arthanareeswara Shrine, Piraiyanivanudalumai, Girigujambika, are the other deities in the Temple. There is a separate shrine to Goddess Girigujambika Lakshimi and Saraswathi are standing on either side of Her.
There are some ancient sculptures in the Mantapas. The horse and lion figures on the pillars, Adhikaranandi, Seikkilar,Balaravoyar, his brother and their mother, Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar, Manikkavasagar, Bairava, Nataraja, and others are very beautiful. The thousand pillared mantapa is designed like a chariot having artistic stone wheels.
This place had many Senbaka Trees and beneth on of them there was a Shivalinga, hence the Lord here came to be known as Shenbagarare Eswara. Sthala Vruksha is Senbaka tree.
Legend has it that the serpents Aadi Seshan, Dakshan and Kaarkotakan worshiped Shiva here. Legend also has it that Nala worshiped Shiva here as in Gowtama muni, Paraasarar and Bhageerata are also associated with legends related to this temple. Tirunageswaram, Raaghu is the king of snakes and since he worshiped lord Shiva the place was named as Thirunageshwaram. Once Sugarma son of Susheela muni was bitten by a snake, the sage cursed the snake for hurting his son. Raghu Bhagavan got rid of his curse inflicted by Sushila Muni by worshiping Lord Shiva here. Hence Lord Shiva is also worshiped as 'Naganatha Swamy' here owing to the deliverance of Raaghu Bhagavan from his curse by His grace. Offering worship at this Nageswarar temple in the morning, at noon and at in the evening on a given day is considered to be of special significance. Suryan, Vinayaga, Gautamar, Nalan, Parasarar, Pandavas, Vasishtar, Indran, Brahma, Bageerathan, Chandrasenan, Adiseshan, Kakkan Karkodagan, Sounagar, Nargunan have prayed and benefited at this sthala. King Sambumali who had incurred the wrath of sage Kaalangiri, attained moksha after bathing in the temple tank and praying to the Lord and Ambal of this temple. Bringi Muni prayed only to Shiva. Girigujambikai is believed to have appeared before Bringi Muni along with Lakshmi and Saraswati in this sthala. Parvathy did penance for Ardhanareeshwara form. Shiva was pleased and shared half of his body with hers and appeared as Ardhanareeshawara here in this sthala.
Some special features
The milk poured (Abhiseka) to Raaghu changes into light blue color.
Lord Surya is said to have immersed himself in the water tank constructed by Adisesha and acquired the state of bliss. The tank then came to be known as the Surya Theertham. There are 12 Theerthams in this Temple.
The Jothisha Sastra (Astrololgy) 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 . In order to nullify Kalasthra dhosha, Naga dhosa and Putra dhosha one should worship Raaghu. People afflicted with Nagadhosa should perform oblations. Five kala poojas (5 times worship) are being done everyday. Special Abhisekas are performed between 4.30 to 6 p.m. (Raaghu Kala) in all Sundays.
Mahashivarathri, Marghazhi Thiruvadhirai, panguni Uthram, Karthigai, The annual Bhramotsavam is observed in the month of Kartikai while the Sekkizhaar festival is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi. Raghu Peyarchi are special days in this Temple.
Sri Nageswarar Temple Thirunageswaram, Tanjavur District, TN 612204 Tel: 91- 435- 246 3354