The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Aabathsagayeswara or Aranyeswara. It is a Swayambu Lingam, and the Goddess is Umai Ammai. The temple is in the heart of the place Alangudi. The main tower (Rajagopuram) is of five tiers constructed very aesthetically. Lord Dakshinamurthy has a significant importance in the temple. There is a separate sanctum for the special deity Sri Dakshinamurthi. Being a Guru Kshetra, Thursdays attract a large number of pilgrims and special pujas are performed. There are about 15 Theerthas (water bodies) in the temple. Guru, the preceptor of the devas is held in high esteem in the temple. The temple is called Alangudi, and is located near Needamangalam, in Tamil Nadu.
Lord Guru or Lord Dakshinamurthy is one of the “Navagrahas” and is referred to the planet Jupiter. The ancient temple of Dakshinamurthy temple is nestled in a tiny village of Alangudi in Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the Arulmigu Abathsagayeswarar temple. Here Lord Shiva is the main deity. The Balipeeta for Nandi is covered by copper plates. The period of this temple could not be decided accurately since the Lord of this temple is Swayumbhu. It is believed that this temple was constructed by ‘Amudogar’, devotee of Lord Shiva. He was the minister of the King Masukuntha Chakravarti.In the inner corridor of the temple the shrines of Lord Ganesh, Murugan, Lakshmi, Sapthalingas, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi and Sage Agasthya can be seen.
History and Legend of Alangudi
- As per Hindu mythology, once upon a time Devas and Asuras tried to churn the Cosmic Ocean in order to obtain Amrita. It was the nectar of immortal life. By the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods (devas) and demons (Asuras) churn the primeval ocean in order to obtain Amrita which will guarantee them immortality.
- To churn the ocean they used the Serpent King, Vasuki, for their churning-string. For a churning pole they use Mount Mandara placed on the back of a Great Tortoise. It was the Kurma Avatar of Vishnu. As the gods and demons churned the sea, a terrible poison issued out of the sea which enveloped the universe.
- The devas and asuras approach Shiva who took the poison into his throat and swallowed it. As Lord Shiva saved the world from the poison the Lord here is called as ‘Abath Sagayeswarar’. This place also called as Alangudi ( poison means Alam in tamil).
- Alangudi is the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison as emitted during the churning of the ‘paarkadal’ (Sea of milk). Hence the place is known as Alangudi, which literally mean ‘the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison’.
- The Devas, when churning the paarkadal for nectar, were hindered by the poisonous fumes from the snake Vasuki and prayed to Lord Siva for deliverance. Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (Ala Visham), thus giving rise to the name Alangudi
- Devotees visit here to worship the planet Guru (Jupiter). Every year during the planet Jupiter’s movement from one house to another house is considered to be very auspicious and lakhs of devotees arrive to worship the Guru Bhagavan.
- As per another mythological story, a Shiva devotee named ‘Amudogar’ who worked as a minister in Thiruvarur kingdom constructed this temple. The King asked the minister to donate half of his good earned by him. As the minister refused to do so, the King ordered to kill the minister.
- Once the head of the minister was removed, there was a loud unmanned voice heard as “Amudogar” in the temple location. King realized it was the voice of the God himself and it was his mistake to kill the minister. He worshipped in this temple later and God rid of the sin of killing a Shiva devotee.
Significance of the Alangudi Temple
- It is believed that worshipping Lord Jupiter in this sacred temple will cure the Guru dosha. All the skin diseases will get cured after taking a bath in the holy tank of this temple. Here, Lord Ganesha removes the devotee’s mental worries.
- Guru is assigned to give luck,richness,health in one’s life. If it is transmitted to wrong position means they will get heart problems,education problems etc.To overcome these problems devotees going to Alangudi and do things to satisfy Lord Guru.
Alangudi Temple Temple Timings
- The temple remains open from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM in the morning and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the evening.
- Kaala Santhi Pooja is performed at 08.00 AM to 08.30 AM in the morning.
- It is followed by Uchikala Pooja which is performed at 12.30 PM to 01.00 PM.
- In the evening the Saayaratchi Pooja is conducted at 05.00 PM to 06.00 PM.
- The last pooja ie. Arthajama Pooja is performed 08.30 PM to 09.00 PM at night.
Festivals celebrated at the Alangudi Temple
- Skanda Sashti: Skanda Sashti festival is dedicated to Hindu God Muruga (Karikeya or Subrahmanya). Kanda Sashti is observed in the Tamil Month Aippasi. Son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the divine incarnation of Skanda was to primarily annihilate the demons that had created anarchy on earth and restore Dharma. He was the commander of the army of the Devas.The fasting of Skanda Shasti begins on the Pradma Thithi after Deepavali in Tamil Nadu. The first day after the Amavasi that follows Deepavali. During the fasting period, devotees confine to a single meal.
- Aadi Puram: The Aadi festival, which falls in the month of July, is the beginning of the numerous festivals that are to follow suite.The word Aadi is derived from the Sanskrit word aash-adi. The months for the Indian Calendar are named after the 27 stars in the Zodiac system. In each month there are two or three stars. The story of Goddess Andal is famous throughout Tamil Nadu and She is renowned for her steadfast devotion for Sri Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu).There is a popular belief that Goddess Andal is an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Aadi Puram is of great significance in Lord Vishnu Temples in Tamil Nadu. Equally important is the day in Shakti Temples.
- Arudra Darisanam: Arudra Darshan is a Tamil festival and this day is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Arudra Nakshatram, which is also known as Thiruvaathirai Nakshatram, during Maargazhi Masam is considered highly auspicious. On this day Arudra Nakshatra also coincides with Pournami. Most of the temples around the world with Lord Nataraja and Shiva as deity perform the Arudhra Darshan. On this day Nataraj form of Lord Shiva is worshipped during Arunodaya along with holy chanting from Vedas. Being dedicated to Nataraja form of Lord Shiva this day is also considered as the birthday of Lord Shiva.
- Kartikai Deepam: Karthigai Deepam comes on the tamil month Karthigai on Pournami day(Full moon day). Throughout the month lamps are lit in the front of the house in the evening. Kaarthigai Deepam brings to mind the legend of Lord Muruga who took the form of six babies in a lake called “Saravana Poigai”. He was formed from the eyes of Lord Shiva as six flames. These six flames turned into six babies which were united by Goddess Parvati (his mother) on this day. Special rituals are performed to Lord Muruga on this day.
- Thai Poosam: Thaipusam is an important festival dedicated to Lord Muruga or Kartikeya. It is observed in the Tamil month of Tai or Thai (Januray – February). Thaipusam is celebrated to commemorate this victory of good over evil. Many devotees bear milk, water, fruits and floral tributes on pails hung from a yoke and carry them on their shoulders to various Murugan temples, far and near. This wooden or bamboo structure called ‘Kavadi’ is covered with cloth and decorated with feathers of peacock – the vehicle of Lord Murugan.
- Pankuni Uththiram: Panguni Uthiram is a day of importance to Hindus especially those who belong to Tamil nadu. It falls on the day the moon transits in the asterism of Uttara-phalguni or Uthiram in the twelfth month of the Tamil solar calendar i.e. Panguni (March-April). It is also the full moon of the month of Panguni and is special because the Uthiram nakshatram coincides with the full moon. On Panguni Uthiram, in all places where Lord Subramanya has a temple, his devotees carry in a Kavadi the requisites of puja for him. Such vow fulfilment by devotees carrying Kavadis is a special feature of Subrahmanya temples wherever they happen to be.
Poojas and Rituals at Alangudi
- The worshipper is instructed to light 24 lamps with ghee and circumambulate the Guru Bhagavan temple 24 times.
- Kaala santhi should be conducted within 240 minutes or 4 hours of sunrise.
- Saayaratchai pooja should start 3/3-4 Nazhigai 90 minutes before sunset and end at sunset time of that day.
- Arththa Yaama pooja is performed after the Irandaam kaala pooja but 3/3-4 90 minutes before the closing of the temple. This pooja will come to an end with the closure of the temple for that day.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
By Air: The nearest airport to the Temple is Thanjavur airport, which is 28 Km from the temple.
By Train: Needamangalam Railway Station, on the Thanjavur – Thiruvarur rail route, is the nearest railhead It is 7 km from Alangudi. Other than that Kumbakonam is another major railway station. One has to however reach Alangudi by road from either Needamangalam or Kumbakonam.
By Bus: Alangudi is well connected with road networks. Alangudi is 40 km from Tiruvarur on the Mannarkudi route and it can be reached from Kumbakonam. There are many buses plying from Kumbakonam to Mannargudi which stops at Alangudi. There are also plenty of taxi’s available from Kumbakonam which can be hired for half a day.
Where to stay in Alangudi
There are many cheap budget hotels near the temple that offers some good facilities.
- Sivamurugan Hotels Contact: 60 Feet Main Road, | Near New Bus Stand, Kumbakonam 612 001, India
- Sara Regency Contact: 45/1 Chennai Road, Kumbakonam 612002, India
- Quality Inn VIHA Contact: New Railway Road, Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu 612001
- Hotel Green Park Contact: No. 10, Lakshmi Vilas Street, Kumbakonam, South India – 612001
- Hotel Vinayaga Contact: 132C, Kamaraj Road, Kumbakonam- 612 001, Tamilnadu, India
Where to eat
There are a number of food joints and coffee shops to indulge your taste buds near the temple. There is also a free midday meals for 100 devotee on a specific day known as Annadhana Kattalai
- Venkatramanaa Hotel Contact: No 40, TSR Big Street, Kumbakonam HO, Kumbakonam – 612001, Near Gandhi Park
- Sri Balaji Bhavan Contact: Sasthra College Road, Kumbakonam HO, Kumbakonam – 612001
- Hotel Shanmuga Bhavan Contact: 16, Kumbeswarar South Street, Kumbakonam HO, Kumbakonam – 612001
- Gowri Shankar Hotel Contact: No 47, John Selvaraj Nagar, Kumbakonam HO, Kumbakonam – 612001
- Rayas Garden Restaurant Contact: No 18 Rayas Hotel, Head Post Office Road, Kumbakonam HO, Kumbakonam – 612001
Nearby Temples at Alangudi
Sri Perungaraiyadi Meenda Ayyanar: Sri Perungaraiyadi Meenda Ayyanar Temple is one of the famous temples in Pudukkottai District, Tamil Nadu. It is located at Kulamangalam in Alangudi Taluk. The temple’s history is dated back to 18th century. The temple is in the bank of Villuni River. As per the researchers, there used to be a big Elephant idol facing opposite to the Horse idol in this Temple. This was considered one of the significance of this Temple, since it is very rare practice to construct an Elephant idol in an Ayyanar (The Horse) Temple that too facing opposite of the Horse idol. Like in many Ayyanar temples, this temple also located in the border of the village as a means of securing and assuring wealth and health for all.
Vasisteshwaran Temple: The temple dates from the 12th century AD and was built by the Cholas. Maharshi Vasishta worshipped Jupiter as Raja Guru in this temple; hence the place has Guru importance. Guru transition day is devotionally celebrated here.The Goddess here is also known as Sugantha Kunthalambigai as a girl by name Sugantha Kunthala got her deceased husband back to life after worshipping Ulaganayaki. Hence, Goddess is worshipped here for not just protecting but also for the long life of one’s husband.Guru Bhagavan has a separate Shrine between Moolavar and Ambal Shrine. This is the only place where you can see Guru Bhagavan as a Raja Guru, in standing posture with four hands holding weapons and a book.