Nava Kailasam Tour
Nava Kailasam refers to a grouping of 9 Siva temples, each one associated with one of the Nava Grahams (nine planets or cosmic bodies). All the Nava Kailasam temples are located in either Tirunelveli district or Thoothukudi district.
Legend Has It, Romaharshana Maharishi was the disciple of Sage Agastya, and wanted to attain liberation. Lord Siva made this possible through Agastya, who from the Pothigai hills, floated nine flowers on to the river Thamirabarani, with in instruction to Romaharshana that the latter should follow the flowers, and install / consecrate a Siva lingam at each of the places that one of the flowers reached the banks of the river. At the end, Romaharshana would have to take a bath at the confluence of the river and the sea. Romaharshana followed these instructions and attained liberation. The temples he consecrated are the Nava Kailasam temples where the moolavar / principal deity is always Kailasanathar.
While there need not be a particular order to visit these temples. One Can follow the flow of the Tamiraparani river from Agasthiyar Malai near Papanasam, to Serndha Poomangalam, near the place where the river joins the sea, To Cover All The Nine Temples.
In addition to the religious and spiritual significance, the Nava Kailasam temples are also something of a tourist attraction. However, as with most Siva temples, the typical temple timings for these temples is also 6 am to 12 noon, and 4 pm to 8 pm. However, in the Tamil month of Margazhi (mid-December to mid-January), several of the Nava Kailasam temples open much earlier in the morning (5 to 5.30 am), but close by 11 am.
These nine Siva temples are located uniquely on the river bed of Thamirabarani river.
1. Papanasam Arulmigu Papanasa Nathar Temple (Suriyan | Sun)
Papanasanathar Temple in Papanasam is dedicated to god Shiva. It is located 60 km from Tirunelveli. Constructed in the Tamilian style of architecture, the temple has three precincts. Shiva is worshipped as Papanasanathar and his consort Parvati as Ulagammai. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a seven-tiered gateway tower. The temple was originally built by Chandrakula Pandya, with further additions by the Vijayanagar and Nayak kings during the 16th century. The temple has artistic sculptures representative of Nayak art.
The temple is open from 05:30 am to 12:00 pm and 04:30 pm to 07:30 pm on all days except during festival days. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Brahmotsavam festival during the Tamil months of Chithirai (April to May) and Thaipoosam during Thai (January to February) being the most prominent.
As per Hindu legend, during the divine wedding of Shiva and Parvathi, there was a heavy crowd at Kailash. Sage Agastya could not get a vision of the event and was praying to Shiva at this place and pleased by his devotion, Shiva appeared to him and his wife Lopamudra in Kalyana posture. The falls nearby the temple is thus called Agasthiyar Falls.
The lingam, the iconic form of Shiva in the temple is believed to be an aspect of Surya, one of the planetary deities. The temple forms a series of Navagraha temples in the banks of Tamiraparani river where each of the nine planetary deities are considered to reside in one temple. The temples are classified as Nava Kailasam and the presiding deity of all the nine temples is Kailasanathar. The temple is associated with the planet Surya (Sun) and considered first in the series of the nine temples. The lingam is believed to have appeared from a kala tree and is called Mukkala Nathar. There are images of Somaskanda, Rishaba Rodan and Agastya close to the image with unique sculptural representation.
As per another legend, the king of celestial deities, Indra slayed a demon Dwastha, the son of Shukracharya (the Guru of Asuras) as he was performing a penance to seek superior powers against the Devas. Indra incurred Brahmatti Dosha, a sin attained for slaying the Brahmin. He roamed around a lot of places doing penance and finally on the advice of Brihaspati, he landed at Papanasam. Since his sin (Papam locally) was expiated in this place, it came to be known as Papanasam. This Legend is to Elucidate the real Importance of Good Brahmin Communities and also the Power of Temple.
A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines, pierced by a seven-tiered gateway tower. The image of Papanasanathar in the form of Lingam is housed in the sanctum. The shrine of Alagammai is housed in a west facing shrine.The shrine also houses the images of Vinayaka, Subramanyar, Dakshinamurthy, Durga, and Navagrahas on the walls. The west facing shrine adjacent to the flagstaff has a hall with yali pillars, where Nataraja is housed. Nataraja is routed in Ananda Tandava posture and also called as Punugu Sabapathy. The temple tank in the temple is called Papanasam Theertham, while two other tanks namely Agasthya Theertham and Kalyani Theertham are also associated with the temple. There is a pounding stone in front of Alagammai shrine where ladies grind turmeric. The turmeric is used during sacred ablution and also used by the devotees after the worship.
2. Cheranmahadevi Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Chandran | Moon)
Kailasanathar Temple in Srivaikuntam is dedicated to god Shiva. It is located 30 km from Tirunelveli. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple has three precincts. Shiva is worshipped as Kailasanathar and his consort Parvati as Sivakami. The temple is the sixth temple in the series of Navakailasam where the presiding deity of all the nine temples is Kailasanathar and associated with a planetary deity. The temple is associated with the planet Saturn.
A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a flat gateway tower, unlike other South Indian temples that have a pyramidal entrance tower. The temple was originally built by Chandrakula Pandya Vijayanagar and Nayak kings commissioned pillared halls and major shrines of the temple during the 16th century. The temple has artistic sculptures representative of Nayak art.
Here rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasanthi at 08:30 am, Uchikalam at 11:30 pm, Sayarakshai at 6:00 pm, and Aravanai Pooja between 08:00 am to 8:00 pm. Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), nivedhanam (food offering) and deepa aradhanai (waving of lamps) for both Kailasanathar and Sivakami. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The temple is open from 06:00 am to 12:00 pm and 04:00 pm to 08:30 pm generally except during new moon days when it is open all day. The Brahmotsavam festival celebrated during the Tamil months of Chithirai (April to May) and Aippasi (October to November) are the most prominent festivals of the temple. Other festivals like Sivarathri, Arattu festival, Thirukalyanam (sacred marriage) and Kantha Sasti are the other festivals celebrated. The Thirukalyanam festival is attended by thousands of devotees in the region.
Thingalur is a place that is closely associated with the life and times of a Shiva devotee of rarest of the rare nature named Apputhi Adigal. Adigal is a suffix used in the names of renowned religious leaders and ascetics. Apputhi Adigal belongs to this category of leaders as a role model teaching the greatness of Guru. He did not perform penance. He did not worship even Lord Shiva. He had in his mind only the great Shiva devotee Sage Thirunavukkarasar. For him everything was Thirunavukkarasar alone. He named his eldest son Senior Thirunavukkarasu, younger son Junior Thirunavukkarasu and every charity institution he established was named after the sage. In his decisive opinion, serving a devotee means serving God, a truth approved by God Himself. Apputhi Adigal and members of his family have special respect in the temple with their statues installed. Once when Adigalar son was bitten by a snake, Thirunavukkarasar brought the boy back to life with his “Ondru Kolam” Thevaram. Celebrated poet Sekkizhar tells the story of Apputhi Adigal in 46 verses in Periya Puranam.
The image of Kailasanathar (Shiva) in the form of Lingam is housed in the sanctum. The shrine of his consort Sivakami (Parvati) is housed in a west facing shrine. The temple also houses the images of Vinayaka, Subramanya, Veerabhadra, Rishabh Andika, and Nataraja on the walls. Two sculptures – Veerabhadra and a warrior in the flagstaff hall – are noteworthy. The west facing shrine adjacent to the flagstaff has a hall with yali pillars, where Nataraja is housed.
3. Kodaganallur Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Chevvai | Mars)
The third Kailasam Kodaganallur is also known as “Kaarkodaga Kshethram” and “Kodannur”. Since the place was lush with Arjuna Trees and fertile green paddy fields, it was a preferred summer destination for royalty and the common man alike. Hence this place came to be known as “Kodaganallur” which literally translates to “Ideal place to spend summer”. This place has added significance as it was the native town of Sri Sundara Swamigal, the guru of the revered Manonmaniam Sundaranar. It is believed that the temple was built in the 12th century. However, it was renovated multiple times. It is a very small and simple temple.There are only two shrines and a prakaram. Like other temples there are no prakara deities or other deities except Moolavar and Ambal. The Moolavar is so very big that 8 dhotis measuring 8 muzham (yards) each is used to cover the deity. The main shrine Sri Kailasanathar is facing the east direction.The Goddess Sivagami is found in a separate north-facing shrine.The idols of Ganesha
and Kartikeya are found in the entrance of the main shrine instead of the usual presence of Dwarabalahars. Legend Has It, Long ago, a sage, who lived in the forest was doing penance to the Gods. His son performed all the duties for him. One day, the boy went deep into the forest to pick the firewood required for the penance. The son of the king Parijat, who happened to be hunting in the vicinity noticed the sage’s abode. The prince called the sage but as he was deeply engrossed in his penance, he didn’t notice him. The angered prince wanted to humiliate him, so he draped a dead snake around the neck of the sage and laughed at him sarcastically before going on his way. This scene appeared in the eyes of sage’s son as a divine vision and he quickly hurried back. Angered to see his father disgraced, he cursed the prince saying, “As you have humiliated my father, a snake will bite your father, the great king Parijat and you will face untold misery”.
The prince released his folly and wanted to save his father. So he took his father to a secure stage on a ship, after crossing the seven seas and seven mountains. As no living being can escape fate, the king incurred the wrath of sage’s curse by the snake king Karagdagan. It entered a fruit as a worm and was waiting for the right instance to strike the King. When the fruit ripened, Parijat Maharaja began to eat it. The snake bit the king and he lost his life. The snake Karagdagan now came to bear the curse as a result of its sins.
The snake wanted to lose the sins acquired as a result of biting Parijat Maharaja and Nala Maharaja. So it sought the help of Dhavaseelargal . They advised the snake to worship Lord Vishnu and do a penance on the banks of the River Thamirabarani. According to their guidance, Kaargodagan performed a penance and worshipped Lord Vishnu. As the Lord was pleased with its devotion, he appeared before the snake and freed it from its sins. Also he ordered it not to bite any person who visits this holy place. Even today, different snake breeds inhabit this town. Yet, none of them ever cause harm to human beings. The place where Karagdagan worshipped the Lord came to be known as “Kaarkodaga Nallur”
Unique Features of third Kailasam temple, Place to Reduce the Burden of Sevvai Dosham. According to Indian tradition, the Mars God rules over five houses in a person’s horoscope and so his influence dominates in one’s life for a period of seven years. It is feared that the life of the spouse is endangered if a horoscope with Sevvai Dosham is matched with another horoscope without this Dosham.
It is believed that if one worships the Goddess Sri Aananda Gowri Ammal at this temple, by lighting a lamp every day, one can be relieved from the sufferings due to Sevvai Dosham. Several devotees are blessed and are freed from their doshams when they offer their prayers at the sanctum of this Goddess.
This is a modest temple in terms of size. When one enters the temple through the Southern entrance, the small elegant temple tower comes into the vicinity . Both the inner courtyard and the sanctums of Lord Chandikeswarar and other deities usually present here are not found in this temple. The Naga Theertham is to the east. The magnificent Nandi statue faces west and the madapalli is next to it. The inner sanctum houses the exquisitely decorated idol of Kailasanathar, who is believed to resolve all defects in marriage. The priests adorn the Lord’s idol with jewels, ornaments and magnificent wedding finery. This is truly a feast for the eyes and is a divine sight to behold. His consort Sivagami Ammai, greets us with a broad smile, when we enter through the Southern entrance. The idols of Lord Ganesh, Lord Muruga with his cohorts Valli and Deivanai are present on either side of the entrance. A small idol of Nandi Devar is also found here. To the right of the Aananda Gowri Ambal is Lord Nataraja idol as Urchava Moorthy.
4. Kunnathur Arulmigu Kotha Parameswarar Temple (Rahu | Moon Ascending Node)
According to Hindu horoscopes, Rahu rules in a man’s life for a period of eighteen years. During this period, a person’s fortunes are determined depending on the influence of the ruling planets. The fourth Kailasam, Sangaani along the banks of Thamirabarani is considered as the place to worship, to be rid of all misfortunes due to Rahu.
Uromasa Maharishi, the first disciple of Sage Agathiyar and the grandson of Lord Brahma, in order to attain salvation, built the temples of Nava Kailasam. The fourth Kailasam is Sangaani or Thiruvengada Nathapuram This temple is attributed to Rahu. The name by which the place is known now is derived from the ancient word “Sengaani”, which literally translates to place of the red sand. Likewise, this town is rich with red soil. Since it is situated on a small hillock, it is also known as “Kundrathur”. The temple which was on the banks of Thamirabarani is now located at a distance of 1km from the river, due to changes, by the forces of nature. Several years
back, devotees used to worship the original Shiva Linga built by Uromasa Maharishi. But later on, the village of Sangaani was totally demolished due to natural calamities.
Long ago, a provincial king ruled over Kunnathoor and in his kingdom there was a rare tree on a cliff owned by him. This tree sprouted a single fruit every year, which when consumed, bestowed a long and healthy life to the beholder. Hence this fruit was the apple of the King’s eye and he guarded it securely.
Once when a pregnant woman of the town went with a pot to fetch water, unknowing to her, the fruit landed into her pot. The woman went back home with the pot full of water and the fruit inside it. The next day, the king was bewildered to find the fruit missing and he sent his guards to retrieve it. The guards searched at each and every house and finally they found it in the pot of the woman. They mistook her as the thief and brought her before the king. The woman pleaded her innocence, but the king ordered his guards to send her for impalement.
When the woman was taken to the impalement spot, she cried aloud saying that she was falsely alleged for a crime that she had not committed and wasn’t excused even though she was pregnant. So, she cursed saying that other than cows and women, no person of the village would be spared. Just like the woman cursed, the village was eventually destroyed and only cows were left behind and the womenfolk moved to other places. The Shiva Linga built by Uromasa Maharishi was also abandoned. Lord Shiva, the guardian of all life on Earth, began his Thiruvilaiyadal to remind people of his presence. Cows that grazed near the abandoned idol of Lord Shiva, began to anoint it with milk daily. A guard witnessed this ritual and informed it to the Pandyan King who ruled over that county. The king hurried to the place and was surprised to see this miracle. He was pleased and built a magnificent temple for the Lord there. Once again, the fame of the temple spread far and wide.
Lord Shiva was known as “Srikothai Parameswaran” alias “Kailasanathar” and Ambal as “Sri Sivagama Sundari”. Slowly, daily poojas and other rituals began to be performed at the temple.
As time passed, the temple began to lose its prominence. A few years ago, there were around 100 houses near the temple premises. Due to the unanimous efforts of Shiva devotees of this area, the Lord’s house was slowly resurrected. In those times, it was impossible for priests to even enter the sanctum sanctorum to perform poojas, as there were huge serpents lying on the idol of the Lord. However, now poojas are performed regularly at this temple.
Special poojas are performed on Shivaratri, Thiruvathirai and Pradosham days.
It is a belief that if one performs the pooja for Gothai Parameswaran as atonement for Raagu, one can be rid of all hurdles to marriage and childless couples are blessed with a child.
Kaala sarpa dosham, Naga dosham are removed when one offers prayers here.
Special Rahu Kaal poojas are performed here. Devotees visit this temple to seek the Lord’s blessings for building a successful career and to gain promotions. Business men perform special poojas to gain profits and to further expand their business. One is rid of stomach diseases, Psychological problems, piles by offering prayers at this temple. Lord Shiva takes on the features of Raagu. Hence this temple is considered special for people of the sun sign Scorpio and Aries. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva at this site is equal to worshipping at Thirunageswaram near Kumbakonam.
Though this temple is not huge, the structure is significant. It faces east and is divided into front hall, artha mandapam and the central hall. As we enter the temple through the south entrance, we are first greeted by the Amman statue that faces south. The vimanam (ornamental ceiling) is present above the sanctum sanctorum. To the left is the shrine of Lord Vinayagar and to the right is a small shrine of Shiva, in front of which the statue of Nandi is located.
The idol of Kailasanathar in the sanctum sanctorum is unique to this temple. It has been carved with a snake etched on the heart of the Lord, which can be seen only during the Abhishegam. The spiritual significance of this is that Shiva is the Lord of Rahu and he holds the image of Rahu on his divine body.
Stone inscriptions found at the premises specify a land measuring unit of historical times, which helped people to solve issues of the land. This stands as a testimony to the scientific prowess of ancient times. Also other inscriptions mention that the temple was built during the 13th century. It also mentions an amount of 4200 rupees donated by King Veerapandi for performing poojas and rituals at the temple. In ancient times, this Kunnathoor was known as “Sangani Keezh Vemba Naatu Sengaani Yaana Navamani Narayana Chaturvethi Mangalam”.
5. Murappanadu Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Guru | Jupiter)
It is believed that a person can receive the immense blessings of Guru by visiting the Guru Sthalam (Guru Sthalam) at Murappanadu. Worshipping Kailasanathar at this temple gives bountiful benefits. This is the Fifth Kailasam.
Murappanadu has a unique speciality among all the Nava Kailasam temples. The reason for this is the River Thamirabarani that flows before this temple. There are only two rivers in India that flow from North to South. One is the River Ganges at Kasi and the other is Thamirabarani at Murappanadu. This river is praised as “Thatchana Gangai” and said that taking a dip in the river here is as beneficial as taking a dip in the holy Ganges at Kasi. The sacred bathing Ghats along the banks of this river are known as “Kashi Theertha Kattam” and “Sabari Theertham”.
As Per Legend Once, holy sages were tormented by the atrocities committed by a group of demons (Asuras), under the leadership of Soorapadman. The sages stood in form and prayed to the Lord, to rescue them from this heinous act of the asuras. Hence the place acquired its name “Murappanadu” which means “the place where sages stood in order and prayed to the Lord”. “Muraipadi Eswararai Nadi Nindra Oor” later became known as Murappanadu. The temple for “Murambeswarar” in this village stands as a testimony to this incident. The place where that temple is located is now known as “Vasavapuram”.
Another legend says that a brave woman of this village chased away a wild tiger using a winnow (a household appliance for removing impurities from grains). Hence this place came to be called as “Murappanadu Place of Murambu Stones There is a flatland full of huge stones called as “Murambu”, in this village. Hence this place came to be known as “Murappanadu” or “the place of Murambu stones”.
Chozha King performed a penance praying for a child. As a result of his prayers, a girl with the face of a horse was born. The king was deeply saddened and engaged in a harsh penance. Lord Shiva was pleased with the king’s prayer and appeared before him. The king wept and explained the plight of his young daughter. He pleaded to the Lord, “Please grant a beautiful face for my daughter”. The Lord replied, “Take a dip in the river Thamirabarani, also known as the Dakshin Ganga and worship the Lord there. You will attain what your heart desires”.
As per the Lord’s command, the Chozha King came to Murappanadu along with his daughter. As soon as they took a dip in the Kasi Theertham and worshipped the Lord, his daughter’s face miraculously turned into a human face. The horse face was accepted by Lord Nandi and one can see the horse faced Nandi idol here. Religious scholars claim that the king then built this temple to show his gratitude to the Lord.
It is said that Guru Bhagavan is all powerful at this temple. Hence, devotees at this temple follow a unique ritual here. It is believed that if one worships the idol of Dhakshinamoorthy and Sani Bhagavan, by performing nine circumambulations, one can get the blessings of all the navagrahas.
Magnificent Stone Sculptures of Lord Hanuman, Kannappar (one among the sixty-three nayanmars), an elephant, a peacock and Komatha (the sacred cow) performing Shiva pooja is mesmerising and makes the onlooker spell-bound. Once at this temple, a female devotee witnessed the divine spectacle of Lord Vishnu, taking the form of his ten avatars at the same time. This scene is found on a stone inscription here. This temple is known as “Sri Anjchel Perumal Temple” and the Lord blesses his devotees with wealth. The “Dasavatara Kattam” at Thamirabarani demonstrates this manifestation of the Lord.
The main deity of this temple is Sri Kailasanathar. The lord’s idol faces east to view directly and bless the devotees who take a holy dip in the waters of River Thamirabarani. Goddess Sivagami Ammai faces south and is present in a separate sanctum. She is the pinnacle of patience and the saviour of all those who come to her with trust.
Architectural Structure & Construction Of This temple is on the western banks of Thamirabarani. There are four stages and the first stage, Pandhal Mandapam has ten pillars. Then when we enter the temple, we can see the flag mast and the statue of Lord Nandi, with a horse face. If we walk around the outer courtyard by turning left, we can see the idols of Sura Devar and Ashta Lakshmi followed by the idols of the sixty-three nayanmars and Kannimoola Ganapathi in the top corner. Outside the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Shiva, is the idol of Dakshinamoorthy, the Lord of education, facing south. As we circumambulate the Lord’s sanctum, we can see the idol of Panjalingam. At the northern corner is the idol of Lord Muruga with his cohorts Valli and Deivanai, followed by Lord Chandikeswarar and Sani Bhagavan on the opposite side. At the front of the temple are the idols of Bairavar, Suriyan and Adhikara Nandi.
Special Poojas are performed on Thiruvathirai, Shiva Ratri, Pradosham days, on the first of every Tamil month, Guru Peyarchi and Sani Peyarchi. Also daily poojas are performed twice a day. This temple is attributed to Guru, and highly beneficial for people belonging to the sun signs Sagittarius and Pisces. If women of these sun signs worship the Lord, then they can attain whatever they wish. It is believed that worshipping the Lord at this temple is equivalent to worshipping Lord Shiva at Alangudi. One must worship the Lord here to remove obstacles in marriage and to be blessed with a peaceful family life and good health. According to Hinduism, a person’s luck is determined by his virtues and sins. Everyone born in this world acquires sins during his lifetime. Hence to seek atonement for the sins, one has acquired and to prevent oneself from doing further sins, one needs the blessings of the Lord. Kailasanathar at Murappanadu rescues his devotees from their sins. In today’s world, education is necessary for one’s survival. A person who teaches is known as ‘Guru’. It is believed that ‘Guru Bhagavan’, the teacher of the heavenly Devas, will also help us mere mortals by his guidance and by being our divine guru, when we offer our prayers here. According to a famous Tamil adage, Guru or the teacher occupies an important position in one’s life right after one’s parents. Also, Indian astrology states that Guru rules over one’s life for sixteen years. It is during this period, that Lord Guru blesses one with education, wealth, name, fame and glory. Hence to get the blessings of Guru, one must visit this temple of Middle Kailasam attributed to Guru.
6. Thiruvaikundam Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Shani | Saturn)
The sixth Kailasam temple at Sri Vaikundam was built by Uromasa Maharishi, the grandson of Lord Brahma and the disciple of Sage Agathiyar. This is the Sani Sthalam among the Nava Kailasam temples. According to beliefs, the period of Ashtamathil Sani and Ezharai Naatu Sani are times of great trials and misery. This is the reason why people get extremely scared when their zodiac signs are aligned directly under the influence of Saturn God. He rules over a person’s life for nineteen years and determines the extent of internal peace.
It is believed that Saturn exerts his influence either as a peaceful breeze or a destructive tornado. The dominant power of Saturn can turn a person into a prosperous millionaire or a penniless pauper. To escape from the negativity of Saturn God, one should worship the Lord at this sixth Nava Kailasam temple.
Sri Vaikundam is known as Boologa Kailasam or Kailasam of the Earth. Long back it was named “Kailasam”, which literally means “the Abode of Lord Shiva”. As Lord Vishnu, appeared as Kallapiran and later emerged with his consort Thirumagal as a divine vision here, this place was given the name Boologa Vaikundam. The Nava Tirupathi temples along the banks of Thamirabarani are of great religious significance. Sri Vaikundam Kallapiran Temple is the first Thirupathi among these nine temples. Around 2000 years ago, the River Thamirabarani flowed at the north of the temple. As Sri Vaikundam suffered frequent damages due to floods, it is said that Ponnappa Pillai changed the course of the river to the south. Now, Thamirabarani flows to the south, turns east and then runs as the southern border of this town.
As we enter the temple through the southern entrance, we reach the Garden Corridor. This corridor is lush with Sodom shrubs, Bael trees, Viboothy Illai and gooseberry trees which make this place a dense grove. On entering the inner corridor, from the garden courtyard, we are greeted by the idol of Lord Vinayagar at the entrance. At the southern walls are the idols of the sixty-three Nayanmars facing north. On the opposite side is Dakshinamoorthy, who aids in the influence of Guru, facing south. Kanni Vinayagar is in the south-west. At the west of the inner corridor is the idol of Panjalingam. Next to this, towards the north-west is the idol of Subramaniar. To the north is the idol of Lord Chandikeswarar, followed by the alcove of Ambal. It is believed that during midnight, seven celestial maidens worship the Goddess here.
Slightly to the east of the alcove are the idols of Moon God, Sun God and Adhikara Nandi.
The Lord of this temple is Kailasanathar and has the attributes of Saturn and the Goddess is Sivagamiammal. Majestic Muktheeswarar Temple The sanctum for Kasi Viswanathar and Visalatchi to the north is known as “Muktheeswarar Temple” by devotees. Above the sanctum sanctorum are ornate Vimaanas (tower above the sanctum at a Hindu temple).
The Kailasanathar temple at Sri Vaikundam is distinctive and the Lord’s idol here emerged on its own with no interference by human hands. Among the nine temples of Kailasam, Suyambu Lingams are found only at Papanasam and Sri Vaikundam.
As Per Legend, a unique ritual had been practised here. Two demigods Agni Puthiran and Veerapathirar served as the guards for this temple. During ancient times, the priests used to lock the temple gates at night and hand over the keys to them. Similarly the next day, they collected the keys from the duo and opened the temple. The shrine of Bhoothanatha is to the left of Muktheeswarar temple. Traditionally, Bhoothanatha is the vehicle for the Lord, but here he blesses his devotees from a separate sanctum. During the temple festival, special rituals are done first for this deity.
Sri Vaikundam is the birthplace of Kumarakurubarar, who remained dumb up till the age of five years. His parents then placed him near the flag mast at Tiruchendur temple and appealed to Lord Muruga to grant him speech. Miraculously, due to divine blessings, he Could Speak and sang “Kandar Kalivenba” in praise of the Lord. After that, he spent the rest of his days at the sixth Kailasam temple at Sri Vaikundam. In his composition “Vaikunda Kalai also known as Kayilai Kalambagam”, he has mentioned this town as “Bhoologa Kailasam”. Even today, the house where he lived is present here and as a honour to him, some schools and colleges have been named after him.
Visiting This Temple is highly beneficial for people of the sun signs Aquarius and Capricorn. It is also said that this temple is as beneficial as worshipping at Thirunallar. By offering prayers here, one can be rid of the adverse effects of Saturn like loss of wealth, health, dignity and be blessed with a long prosperous life.
7. Thenthiruperai Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Bhutan | Mercury)
According to beliefs it is said that only the influence of Mercury determines one’s intelligence. Success is determined only by the presence of mind and intellect. Lord Shiva takes the form of Budhan at the seventh Kailasam at Thenthiruperai on the banks of Thamirabarani. One can attain command over speech, intellect and the ability to make others listen to one’s words with the blessings of the Lord at this temple. The Lord’s name is Kailasanathar and the Goddess is Azhagi Ponnammal.
Thenthiruperai Unique Features of the Temple is beneficial for people of the sun signs Gemini and Virgo. Worshipping the Lord at this temple is as beneficial as praying at Thiruvenkadu near Sirkazhi. Since the Lord of rain, Varunan and the planet for rain, Sukran performed a penance here, this place is known as “Varuna Kshethram”. The Bhairavar idol here has six hands and devotees throng this sanctum to perform Ashtami Pooja to gain prosperity and success in business. It is believed that offering prayers
at this temple rids one of Arthritis and Pitham diseases. Also it is believed that worshipping the Lord here removes all evil eyes on a person and one can understand Lord Shiva’s philosophies. One is also blessed with a long-life, wealth, education and a strong mind by praying here. Worshipping the Goddess Ponnamai by lighting a lamp reduces hurdles in marriage, curses incurred by women and are blessed with a prosperous life.
“Perai” means “A Huge Fort”. There is a place with the same name in a region in the north, near Trichy, which was under Chozha rule. This place is one among the 108 Divya Desams. Since this town was in the south it came to be known as “Thenthiruperai”, where “Then” means south.
Another legend states that, as Goddess Bhoomadevi performed a penance in this place, with the Sri Perai form of Lakshmi, it acquired the name “Thiruperai”. The river Thamirabarani flows at a distance of 1 km from this temple. Religious scholars state that the course of the river would have changed over the years.
The Coconut that Sprouted Horns. During the British Era, once Captain Durai, who ruled over this district, rested here during his journey. As he was thirsty, he asked for tender coconut that was hanging on a tree nearby. The townsfolk replied that the coconuts on that grove weren’t intended for humans but for the omnipresent God and warned him from plucking them.
So the captain arrogantly replied, “Does the coconut in the temple grove sprout horns?” and ordered his assistant to fetch those coconuts from the tree. The assistant on his command fetched the coconuts from the tree. Miraculously the tender coconut had three horns. The English Commander, realizing his folly, fell to his knees and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. Also he ordered the Government to pay 26 Salli Paisas daily to perform rituals and poojas at the temple. Even now our government is paying this amount for the temple. Visitors to the temple can view the three horned coconut that hangs in front of the Amman Sanctum.
As we enter through the southern entrance we first reach the sanctum of the Goddess. There is a hall (Artha Mandapam) with four pillars in front of the sanctum and the alcove of the Amman is to the north. On the stone walls in front of the Pandhal Mandapam is an idol of Lord Vinayagar. As we enter further, we reach the sanctum of the Lord in the form of Mercury. The Lord is in the form of a small Linga atop a Lotus flower. There are two heavenly gatekeepers in front of the main deity. There are separate Vimanas over the idols of the main deities. The Nandi Shrine doesn’t have an altar and is mounted directly on the floor. On the corridor around the sanctum sanctorum, the idol of Dakshinamoorthy is to the south. To the south west is Vinayagar and to the North West is Lord Murugan with Valli and Deivanai. The sculpture of Lord Murugan along with his vahana the peacock is sculpted from a single block of stone. The deities Jooradevar, Lord Saturn, Bairavar and Navagrahas are housed in separate sanctums. The walls of the temple contain several stone inscriptions that date back to the era of Maravarman Sundara Pandian, the first. “Thenthiruperai” was also mentioned as “Sundarapandian Chathur Veethi Mangalam” on these inscriptions. An idol of Uromasa Maharishi was left at this temple by an unknown devotee. Now a small statue of Lord Vinayagar has been placed near this idol and images of 18 Siddhars hangs on the wall above. This idol is located on the outer courtyard and devotees perform poojas with their own hands for this deity.
8. Rajapathy Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Kethu | Moon Descending Node)
Eighth Kailasam Rajapathy (Rajapathy) on the banks of Thamirabarani is the home of the eighth Kailasam. Rajapathy means the “Place where kings resided” or “the location of a palace”. The temple built by Uromasa Maharishi, disciple of the holy sage Agasthya and the grandson of Lord Brahma is no longer here. The original temple was claimed by the swift flood waters of Thamirabarani. Now, there is only a small stone pillar left behind from the ancient temple.
According to beliefs, it is said that Ketu rules over a person’s life for seven years. During this period if Lord Ketu is malevolent, then one suffers from diseases and ill-health. One the other hand, if he is benevolent then all diseases and other sufferings melt away like snow under the sun’s rays. Though good people undergo trials and tribulations, they are not forsaken by him. The perfect example for the saying, “Justice may be delayed, but it is never denied” is Lord Ketu. Hence it is believed that worshipping Lord
Shiva who is manifested in the form of Ketu at Rajapathy relieves one of all diseases. Also scriptures say that Ketu himself prayed to Lord Shiva at this sthalam.
This is the only Kailasam among all the Nava Kailasam temples that didn’t have a temple premises up until the year 2008. There was only a stone pillar that remained from the ancient Shiva temple constructed by Uromasa Maharishi. However, steadfast devotees weren’t discouraged by the lack of a regular temple. They believed that the aura of the Lord still prevailed in the region and worshipped him here. A few others who lacked belief moved to worshipping the Lord at a ruined temple at “Kutti Thottam” which is on the main road to Tiruchendur next to Thenthiruperai. However the construction of a magnificent new temple at Rajapathy has created an innate happiness among devotees. This is a testimony to the rule and might of Ketu.
The members of the Trust in the right direction and helped them to overcome obstacles. Miracles occurred to those who helped in the temple construction. Hurdles in marriage were eliminated, couples were blessed with a child, and patrons were blessed with prosperity in several fields like trade, politics and agriculture. Several doshams like Kalasarpa dosham (Kalasarpa dosham), Pithru Dosham (Pithur Dosham) were eliminated. Hence several Bhaktas of the Lord came forward to contribute and the construction progressed quickly.
The ancient temple that was destroyed by the flood waters was constructed by Madurai Chandra Kula Pandya kings. It is said that different elements of that temple were taken to different places. The Nandi of this temple is now believed to be at Ottapidaram. It is a common belief among the people that their cattle remain free of diseases when special abhishekams are performed for this Nandi. The pillars and idols of this temple were washed away by the flood and taken to Puliyoor, Marukaal, Vaikal Karai, Thenthiruperai and Ottapidaram by devotees and worshipped there.
While this temple was under construction the main deity was kept in a temporary edifice. All the rituals and poojas happened rigorously and devotees were eager to take part in the ceremonies even before the temple was finished. Shivaratri, Pradosham and other poojas were performed grandly. Worshipping the Lord at this temple is as beneficial as praying to Him at Thirukaalakasthi. There are only two temples for Ketu in Tamil Nadu. One is at Keelaperumpallam in Nagapattinam district and the other is at Rajapathy on the banks of Thamirabarani. In ancient times, kings prayed at this temple to win wars and battles. Hence this temple is a favourite among politicians and bureaucrats. Disharmonies within families are resolved when worshipping here. Diseases caused by deadly poisons, nervous disorders, deficiencies in blood and the fear of death are overcome when one offers prayers here. One can attain advances in education and clear thinking by visiting this Kailasam. People suffering from diabetes can overcome the disease by worshipping the Lord at this temple for 11 consecutive Pradoshams.
Now this temple has been built magnificently. The Lord of this temple is Kailasanathar and the Goddess is Sri Soundara Nayagi. The sanctums of Lord Shiva, Goddess Shakthi, Chandikeswarar, Lord Vinayagar and Lord Murugan along with his consorts Valli and Deivanai have been built here. As we enter this temple we can see the idols of Adhikara Nandi facing north, Bairavar facing south and Moon God and Sun God facing west. Next to the Maha-mandapam is Pradosha Nandi followed by the Dwarapalakas. Next are the idols of Vinayagar, Murugar and Nandi. Idols of Natarajar, Sivakami Ammal, Karaikal Ammal and Manickavasagar are made from an alloy of five precious metals. As we circumambulate the temple, we can see the shrines of Thirugnanasambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manikkavasagar. To the left is Lord Dakshinamurthy in Srikalahasti Vinayagar is at the Kannimoola. At the back of the temple are Ketu Lingam, Kalahasti Lingam and Lord Murugan along with Valli and Deivanai. To the left of the sanctum of the Lord is Chandikeswarar and Sivagami Ammai occupies a separate sanctum.
9. Serndha Poomangalam Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple (Sukran | Venus)
Uromasa Maharishi, on the advice of Sage Agathiyar, built nine Shiva temples along the banks of River Thamirabarani to attain salvation. His wish was fulfilled when he worshipped the Lord at the ninth temple. Click here to read the history of his spiritual journey where he set nine flowers afloat on the waters of Thamirabarani. The ninth flower docked at Serntha Poomangalam which literally means “the place where the flower rested and completed the journey”. The location where a river converges with the sea is known as “Mangalam”. This spot on the banks of Thamirabarani is known as “Shangumugham”.
The Lord of this temple is Sri Kailasanathar and the Goddess is Sri Soundarya Nayagi. Lord Shiva takes on the features of Venus here. It is said that worshipping the Lord here is as beneficial as praying to Lord Shiva at Kanjanoor, which is next to the Kumbakonam Suryanar Temple. The river Thamirabarani flows at a distance of half a kilometre from the
temple at Serntha Poomangalam and a sacred bathing Ghat is present here. Due to the rapid flow of the water, the river confluences with the sea at Punnakayal which is around four kilometres from here. This place is known as Shangumugham. The bathing Ghat here is considered very auspicious and water from here is taken to begin the Kumbabishegam rites at several nearby temples. It is believed that not only Uromasa Maharishi but also the great Sage Agathiyar and the King of the Seas worshipped the Lord at this sacred spot.
Lord Sukran reigns over a person’s life for twenty years and blesses a person with name, fame and abundant wealth. Here at Senthamangalam, Lord Shiva is attributed with the features of Sukran. If a man has a prosperous career, then he attains great fame, glorious name and captures the attention and respect of the whole world. It is said that all this is possible only with the blessings of Lord Sukran and to seek his divine blessings, you must visit this temple.
According to the inscriptions found in this temple, it is believed that the first Maravarman, Sundara Pandian, must have constructed this temple. Another legend contradicts this fact and states that this temple was built during the reign of the Pandyan King “Sendhan”. These stone edifices state that this town was known earlier as “Kudanaatu Athoor Serndha Mangalam” and “Avaniba Sekara Chaturvedi Mangalam”.
It is said that one can attain the immense blessings of Sukran by taking a dip in the sacred Chandigar Theertham and worshipping the Lord.
It is truly a miracle that in spite of the several natural calamities that ravished this region, this temple stands steadfast without any major damages even today.
The image of Lord Kubera, the Lord of Wealth riding an elephant along with his consorts Sanga Nithi and Paduma Nithi is carved on the Vimana above the main sanctum. This is a rare idol of Lord Kubera that is found only at this temple. After praying to Lord Shiva, it is a custom for devotees to worship this Lord on the tower seeking wealth and prosperity.
It is a belief that when “Neeranjana Pooja” is done for childless couples, they are blessed with a baby.
It is said that continuous losses in business can be overcome by writing a “Sukra Olai” and performing special poojas. This ritual is held on every Friday.
Worshipping the Lord here rid one of “Sukra Dosham” and misfortunes.
The Lord of this temple blesses his devotees with a happy marital life.
The temple car festival was not held for several years. Now this is done regularly due to the joint efforts of devotees every year on Chithra Pournami. It is the Full moon day that occurs in the Tamil month of Chithirai, mid-April to mid-May. The Spring Festival is held for ten days and on each day the rituals are performed by people of various communities. Pradosham, Thirukalyanam, Navaratri, Varusha Abishegam are held in a grand manner here. Thiruvilakku Pooja on every full moon day and Sumangali Pooja are also performed here.
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