Thirunallaru is a very interesting temple in this area. It is famous for a shrine that has been built for Shaneeshwaran. It is probably the most feared of the navagrahas. Tirunallaru is also one among the Saptha Vidanga Sthalams. Thirunallaru is about 40 Kms from Mayiladudurai towards Nagapattinam. It is situated in Karaikal, which is part of the Puducherry state. A special permit is required for vehicles to visit this area, and a permit can only be used once to enter and exit Karaikal. Once we leave Karaikal, it is impossible to reenter. Hence it is advisable to cover all the places north of Thirunallaru, such as Poompuhar, Chayaavanam, Tiruvengadu, Tiruvalampuram, Tirukkadavur etc. and enter Karaikkaal region through Poraiyaar and visit Tiruvettakkudi, Tiruthelicheri, Tirudharampuram and finally Thirunallaru, so that you can move to Nagapattinam from here. Nagapattinam is barely 20 Kms from here. Pathigam was sung by Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Sambandar.
About The Temple
This temple was first situated in a forest of the sacred Darbha grass. However, there are two other forms of Shiva unique to temples in this area Thyagarajar and Somaskandar, who are equally important. The goddess here is Pranambigai. The deity drawing the maximum crowd is of course, Shaneeswarar, the most feared of the nine planets, who has a shrine to himself just outside the Shiva and Amman sannidhis. This sivasthalam temple for Darbaranyeswarar at Tirunallaru is more famous for the separate shrine for Saneeswaran inside the temple and who is believed to be a granter of boons. Tirunallaru is well known as one of the Navagraha Sthalams. The shrine for Saneeswaran is seen in between the shrines for the presiding male deity Dharbaranyeswarar and the presiding female deity Boghamaarthapoonmulaiyaal. Devotees gather in a large number on Saturdays to pray and worship Saneeswaran. "Nala Theertham", we people call it as "Nalangulam", the sacred tank (holy pond), is where pilgrims cleanse their curses and sins. It is located at a walkable distance from the main temple. The "Golden Crow" and "Maragadha Lingam (made of emerald)" are also famous here. According to the legend, it was at Tirunallaru that the legendary king Nala, who was afflicted with numerous problems due to the adverse effects of Saneeswaran, took a holy dip at the temple tank Nala Theertham and got relieved of the evil effects. The temple is extremely crowded on Saturdays, and apparently the waiting time for darshan can run into hours, so unless you are going there specifically for pujas, it is advisable to avoid Saturdays here. On other days too, there is quite a crowd, but if you pay for the Abhishekam, you get a front row seat and have a wonderful darshan.
About The deity
Lord Shiva known as Dharbaranyeswarar, Female deity known as Boghamaartha poonmulaiyaal, Atthiranayani, Praanaambikai.
Legend and Stories
The importance of Shani at this temple is related to the legend of King Nala. The righteous and handsome king, under the influence of Saturn, lost not only his kingdom, but was separated from his wife and children, lost his health and good looks, and had to wander around like a beggar. Finally, when the 7 ½ years of Shani's influence was almost over, he came to Thirunallar, where he bathed in the tank and prayed to Shaneeshwara and was finally relieved of the troubles that had dogged him. He eventually was reunited with his wife and children, and won his kingdom back. Even today, it is considered auspicious to cover oneself with sesame oil and have a bath in the Nala Teertham before going to have darshan of Shaneeswarar. Incidentally, of all the navagrahas, it is only Shani who is given the privilege of using the suffix Eswarar meaning Lord. This is apparently due to a blessing of Shiva, for not even the lord of all is exempt from the effect of Saturn. It is believed that once, Shiva went into a remote cave to meditate and escape the effect of Shani for 7 ½ years. He finally returned, thinking that he had succeeded, only to be informed by Shani, that the period was over, and that it was under the influence of Saturn that the lord had to hide in the first place! Shiva was astounded, but pleased at this dedication of Shani, and declared to him to be Shaneeshwara.
The eighteen day Brammotsavam beginning on the Uthiratadhi star day inside the Tamil month Vaikasi (May-June) could be a important competition. On the last day, there will be a programme referred to as the Lord gracing a darshan to a shepherded. The Poornima competition inside the Purattasi (September-October), each friday, Pradosha days are really devotionally observed. The Tamil and English new year days, Karthikai Dheepam, Deepavali, Pongal are the days when special pujas are performed inside the temple.
Guidelines for Devotees
Those visiting Thirunallar should first have an oil bath in the Nala theertham. After the bath, worship the Vinayakar in the small temple nearby, break a coconut there and then proceed towards the Dharbaranyeswarar temple which is about 5 minutes’ walk from there.
Devotees offer Blue cloth and light Gingely oil lamp.
The nearest airport is at Trichy (Thiruchirapalli) which is around 140 km away from Thirunallar.
Some of the nearest railway stations to Thirunallar are Karaikal Railway Station, Nagore, Nagapattinam, Mayiladudhurai, Thiruvarur.
There are regular buses from other major cities of the country to Thirunallar.
Sri Darbaranyeswara Swami Devasthanam,
Kumbakonam-Karaikal Road, Thirunallar,
Karaikal, Puducherry 609607.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To pray for boons and blessings
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.