Sri Naganathaswamy Temple or Rahu Sthalam is one of the 9 Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu and is associated to Lord Rahu (Raaghu Bhagvan). Sri Naganathaswamy Temple is located at Tirunageswaram, which is 7 km east of Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam - Nannilam Road, in Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu.
About The Temple
The temple is located on the southern bank of the river Kaveri 7 km from Kumbakonam. The temple campus encompasses exclusive shrines for Naganatha Swamy (Shiva), Pirayani Amman (Parvathi), Giri-Gujambigai (Parvathi) and Rahu with his divine spouses. Goddess Girigujambal has a separate shrine inside the temple campus as it is believed that the goddess is in thava kolam (mode of deep penance).
The temple covers an area of 630 ft (190 m) South-North and 800 ft (240 m) East-West with concentric sub lanes and four major streets around the four sides. There are four gateways along the four sides with entry towers (gopuram) and a surrounding compound wall. In the broad pathway on the third precinct, there is a flower garden on the northern side. The Vinayaka shrine, Bali Peetam, Nandikeshwara hall and flag post are located in the eastern entrance. This Ganapathy shrine is said to have been installed by the great saint Sadasiva Brahmendra along with a Ganapathy yantra. An inscription in the temple bears testimony to this fact. The temple tank is located in the southern side and has a hundred pillared hall. The second precinct has a granite floor and enshrines the Rahu shrine in the north eastern corner. The path leading to the main shrine in the second precinct has a hall decorated with Nayak style pillars with yalis. The hall was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). In the front hall on the eastern side, artistic pillar with "older and nine horses" design is found, while similar pillars are found on the southern side as well. There is a hall in the northern side with pillars decorated with yalis used for staging idols during the festive occasions. The renovation work in the western walls was done during 1929 with artistic inscriptions. In the path way to main shrine, there are art works depicting Veda nayakas, king Sambumali and penance pose of Ambal. The Dwarapalaga images on each side at the entrance of Naganathar shrine are made of chunam clay.
About the Deity
The main presiding deity of Thirunageswaram Rahu Temple is Lord Naganathaswamy (Lord Shiva) and his consort Giri Gujambika (Goddess Parvathi) who is enshrined with Goddess Lakshmi andGoddess Saraswati by Her side. Rahu Bhagavan is seen with his two consorts Nagavalli and Nagakanni. Sri Naganathaswamy Temple is one where Lord Shiva was worshipped by Rahu (Raghu) and got relived of a curse. A unique feature of Naganatha Swamy temple is that Lord Rahu is seen with human face. While in other places, Lord Raaghu is worshipped with a serpent face.
Legend and Stories
Many serpents, including Adishesha, Takshaka and Karkotaka, worshipped Shiva at this place, leading to the name "Tirunageswaram". As per Hindu legend, the king of snakes, Adisesha did penace at this place, called Senbaranya Kshetram on account of the presence of large number of Senbaga trees. Shiva was pleased by the penance and appeared to him. Since Shiva gave a boon to the king of Serpents, he is called Naganathar. A Goddess Girigujambal is believed to be worshipping Shiva here with goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Ganesha, Muruga, and Shasta. Maha Bhairava is still believed to be guarding and assisting the divine mother during her prayers. The Goddess is said to be Swayambu as she is present in the form of Meru. Hence, no abhishekam (ablution) is performed for the image. As per a Hindu legend, Indra was cursed by sage Gautama as he misbehaved with the latter's wife Ahalya. To obtain deliverance from the sage's curse, it is said that Indra worshipped Giri-Gujambigai with a scented material termed Punugu for 45 days. Sages like Gautama and Parashara and kings like Bhagiratha and Nala are said to have worshipped Naganathar at this place.
The name "Kumbakonam", roughly translated in English as the "Jug's Corner", is believed to be an allusion to the mythical pot (kumbha) of the Hindu god Brahma that contained the seed of all living beings on earth. The kumbha is believed to have been displaced by a pralaya (dissolution of the universe) and ultimately came to rest at the spot where the town of Kumbakonam now stands. The drops of nectar are believed to have fallen onto five shrines around Kumbakonam, namely Mahlingeswarar temple at Tiruvidaimarudur, Tirudharasuram, Naganathar Temple at Tirunageswaram, Tiruvorgam and Tirupadalavanam.
The major festivals celebrated here are Brahmotsavam (November or December), Thiruvathirai (December – January), Kanda Shashti(October or November), Sivaratri (February – March), Navaratri and Sekkizhar Vaikasi Pooja (June).
The temple conducts six pujas daily Ushakkala Pooja (6 am), Kalasandhi Pooja (9 am), Uchikkala Pooja (1 pm), Sayaratchai Pooja (5 pm), Irandam Kala Pooja (7 pm) and Arthajama Pooja (9 pm).
Lord Raaghu Abishekam Timings
The temple has abhishekams for Lord Raaghu on Sundays from 9.30Am to 11.30 Am, and from 4.30 - 6.00 Pm. Other timings are:
Monday 7.30 am -9.00 am & 5.30 PM
Tuesday 9.30 am-3.00 - 4.30 PM & 5.30 PM
Wednesday 9.30 am-5.30 PM
Thursday 9.30 am-1.30 -3.00 PM & 5.30 PM
Friday 10.30 am - 12.00 am-5.30 PM
Saturday 9.00 - 10.30 & 11.30 AM-5.30 PM
Abishekam timings change on festival days
Rahu Bhagwan is said to be the cause for one's good position, status, business, faithfulness, winning over opposition, to travel overseas, and for mantra power. It is believed that by doing Milk abishekam here for Rahu during Rahu kalam (period of 1 and 1/2 hours occurring every day) the delay in getting married, childlessness, troublesome married life, ill-effects of Kalasarpa Dhosha (affliction), Kalasthra Dhosha and, Sarpa Dhosha are all cured.
Nearby Places to Visit
Uppiliappan Kovil, a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is about 2 km from Tirunageswaram. Sri Thirupureeswarar Temple is another ancient shrine situated at Pateeswaram, 5 km south east of Kumbakonam.
Tiruchirapalli Airport is the nearest domestic airport. The nearest Railway station is 2 k.m far from Theprumanallur (Thirunageswaram). The convenient railway station is located at Kumbakonam (6 k.m) - both Express, Passenger trains arrive on meter-gauge and broad-gauge railway tracks. Thirunageswaram Rahu Temple is on the Kumbakonam - Karaikal bus route and is just 7 km from Kumbakonam.
Sri Naganatha Swamy Temple, (Sri Raaghusthalam),
Thirunageswaram -612 204,
Kumbakonam(T.K.) Thanjavur (D.T).
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To get rid of Sarpa Dosha
Palasha Pushpa Sankaasham Taarakaa Graha Mastakam Rowdram Rowdraat Makam Ghoram Tam Ketum Prana Maa Myaham
Meaning -I pray to Ketu, who looks similar to the Palaasha flower, who is the head of the stars and planets, who is scary and violent.
6 a.m. to 9 a.m.4 p.m. to 9 p.m.