|Naganatha Swamy temple, Tirunageswaram.Tamil Nadu. Flicker|
|Naganatha Swamy temple, tirunageswaram, Tamil Nadu. Exploring My Life|
The reason why this place assumes religious importance in Navagraha worship is there is a shrine of Rahu Bhagawan (one of the nine celestial bodies). Unlike other places of worship, here he is seen with his consorts.The mythological serpents Aadi Seshan, Dakshan and Kaarkotakan worshiped Shiva here.
Every day when abishekam (bathing of the idol with milk) is preformed during the Raghu Kaalam on the stone idol of Raghu (Serpent), a mysterious thing occurs which one can't see in other shrines. The striking feature is milk that is poured on the stone idol of Raghu turns blue when it passes over the idol and once again becomes white upon reaching the floor. Gautama Maharishi, Parashara and Bhageerata and king Nala worshiped Shiva here. It is the 29th in the series of Tevaram (7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work ) and is a Padal Pettra Stalams (one of the 276 temples) located south of the river Cauvery.
|Raghu deity , Tirunageswaram, Tamil Nadu. www.templeadvisor.com|
That many serpents kings like Adishesha, Takshaka and Karkotaka, worshiped Shiva at this place is the reason why this place is called "Tirunageswaram". As per Hindu legend, the king of snakes, Adisesha who did penace at this place, called Senbaranya Kshetram because of the presence of large number of Senbaga trees, received a boon from Lord Shiva. Goddesses Girigujamba, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha, Muruga, and Shasta worshiped lord Shiva here. The main Goddess being Swayambu in the form of Meru, no abiskekam (anointing) is done on the idol. The temple, it is believed, is being guarded by "Maha Bhairava and is assisting the divine mother during her prayers.
Hindu legend has it the Demi God Indra earned the curse of sage Gautama as he misbehaved with the saint's wife Ahalya while he was away. In order to get relieved from the sage's curse, it is said, that Indra worshiped Giri-Gujambigai with a scented material termed Punugu for 45 days.
The temple tank located in the southern side has a hundred pillared hall. The second precinct / prakaram has the Rahu shrine in the north eastern corner. There is a hall / mantap decorated with Nayak style pillars with yalis along with nine horses on the east and south sides. It was built by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34) of Thanjavur. The hall in the northern side with pillars decorated with yalis is used for displaying idols (Utchavar) during festive occasions. The Dwarapalaga (Entry guards) images on each side at the entrance of Naganathar shrine are made of chunam clay (lime and clay mix) and not of stone.
Weekly rituals like somavaram and sukravaram, fortnightly rituals like pradosham and monthly festivals like amavasai (new moon day), kiruthigai, pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi are well attended by the people.
The major festival are: The Brahmotsvam is held for ten days in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November–December). As per local legend, Rahu got relieved of his pains praying to Naganathar during a Shivaratri day and the day is celebrated in the temple. Navarathri festival is celebrated for nine days for Girigujambigai and the images of Naganathar and Girigujambigai is taken in horse chariot on Vijayadasami, the concluding day of the festival. Sekkizhar Vaikasi Pooja is celebrated from 1969 on the birth date of Sekkizhar, the author of Periya Puranam. Rahu Peyarchi is yet another major festival celebrated once every 1.5 years on the star when Rahu switches its planetary position from one raasi (galaxy) to the other. The temple has six Kala Puja at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar.