Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
Thirunallar is a small village situated in the town of Karailkal in Pondicherry. Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple is most famous to Lord Shaneeswarar which is one of the 9 Navagrahas(Nine Planets). The main deities of the shrine are Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathi Devi and Lord Shani Bhagawan. Here Lord Shiva is called as Darbaraneswar and Goddess Parvati is known as Pranamambika or Bogamartha Poon Mulayal . The other deities of the shrine are Swarna Vinayaka, Lord Subramaneswara Swamy and Thyagarajar. Devotees facing evil effects of Saturn must stay for one day and night in the temple vicinity. Saneeswaran temple is under the Sri Darbanayeswarar temple and thousands of pilgrims visit this temple. This is considered as one of the most powerful temples in the entire southern India. There is a belief among the locals that one who visits the place never have their desires remain unfulfilled.
History and Legend of Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
- The great King Nala of Puranic fame was relieved of the affliction of Lord Saturn or Lord Saneeswaran. He offered daily Pooja to Lord Shiva and lived happily. Sani Bagavan always try to catch him. He was never caught because of blessings of Lord Shiva. One day, while doing his pooja, he didn’t stand perfectly.
- Sani Bagavan noticed it and got a chance to caught him after 12 years. King Nalan was caught by Sani. So the king lost all his kingdom and suffered a lot. King Nala unable to rule and he left his land to his wife Damayanthi.
- After loosing everything he worked as a cookman in the palace of Ayodhya. Sani Bagavan lost all his power to Lord Dharbaranyeswarar as Lord Shiva was very angry due to this. The Sage Naradhar noticed him and said the game of Sani Bagavan. Nalan understood the play of Sani. So he decided to go holy pilgrimage place.
- Nalan went to Dharbaranyeswarar temple in Thirunallar and prayed Sani Bhagawan. Sani Bagavan blessed him and got his power back. Nalan stayed in temple sometime and built the temple. After Nalan got back his kingdom. The world Thirunallar derived in two words “Nala” means King Nalan and “Aru” means “to heel”, it means Nala’s place.
- The Theertham of this temple is called as “Nala Theertham” .There is another story for this temple. Kalinga Raja was the king ruled. One day, Bhargava Munivar visited his kingdom, at that time the Kalinga Raja didn’t mind the Munivar properly.
- So he cursed Kalinga to became an elephant. The Sage Naradhar felt sad that good king became an elephant. Naradha advised king to went to Thirunallar and got back from his curse.
Significance of the Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
- Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple is unique of its kind and is the only temple dedicated to Lord Saturn. Whoever visits this temple and prays before Lord Saneeswaran is believed to have been relieved of all the curses and sufferings and get the blessings of Lord for a happy and prosperous life.
- The place was originally a forest of Dharba grass and it is stated that the Lingam even now has impressions left by the Dharba weeds within which it was situated.
- By bathing here, it is believed that one washes off all kinds of misfortune, afflictions and to escape from the woes of sani. Saniswara or Saturn is generally known to affect one adversely on occasions when he occupies certain positions in one’s horoscope. A prayer to him, especially on Saturdays is said to mitigate the hardships.
- Worshipping of Lord Shani helps people to develop a positive mindset even during the harshest of Shani periods. While it is true that offering worship here decreases the difficult effects and increases the positive effects of Saturn. It does not completely eliminate the hardships that one faces due to Shani Bhagawan.
Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple Timings
Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple remains open from 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM in the morning and 4:00PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.
During Saturdays as large number of devotees visit the temple so the morning time remains the same. But during the evening the temple remains open from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Rules to follow at Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
Before entering the Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple one needs to deposit the electronic gadgets safely at the counter and photography is not allowed inside the temple premises. There is also the checking that is done while entering the temple.
Festivals celebrated at Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
- Adi Pooram festival: This festival is dedicated to Goddess Andal, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Aadi Pooram is celebrated during the month of ‘Aadi’ in Tamil calendar that corresponds to the months of July-August in the English calendar. The festival is observed to propitiate the goddess Shakti Devi who is said to have come into this world on this occasion. People therefore worship her in order to secure happiness not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.
- Vinayaga Chathurthi festival – This festival is celebrated during August- September. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganesh Utsav. According to Hindu calendar it is celebrated on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad.
- Navaratri Kolu, Ambu festival – Navratri is a time when many homes in the southern states of India participate in creating the durbar or assembly of Goddess Durga, which contains a multitude of idols of gods, goddesses, men, animals, and businessmen. This is presented in every house in the form of Golu. It is a festive occasion where everyone has a role to play, from the young children to the grandparents. Bommai (Doll) Golu is the artistic display of dolls on numbered tiers or steps, usually made of wood. The nine steps represent the nine days of Navaratri.
- Soora-samharam festival – The popular belief is that Lord Muruga killed Soorapadman with his ‘Vel’ and this divine act is known as Soorasamharam. On the day, devotees celebrate this victory of good over evil and restoration of Dharma. The next day is observed as Thirukalyanam which is the divine marriage of Muruga and Devasena.
- Thiruvathirai festival – The festival is connected with Lord Shiva. The Ardradarshan celebrated in Tamilnadu and a few parts of karnataka corresponds to Thiruvathira of Kerala.It is considered to worship Lord Shiva and the devotees go early morning to temples. The popular conception of this festival is that it is the commemoration of the death of Kamadevan. Women observe fast on Thiruvathira. Instead of a rice meal they take preparations of chama (Panicum miliaceum) or wheat besides fruits.
- Sanipeyarchi festival – The uniqueness of the Thirunallar Shani temple is that it is the only temple in which Shani is in blessing posture. At this time Shani will leave Tula Rashi (Libra Zodiac) and enter Vrischika Rashi (Scorpio Zodiac). This transit is observed as Sani Peyarchi Festival at Thirunallar Shani Temple. Shani Bhagavan will give darshan to devotees on the day on his Golden crow Vahana.
Poojas and Rituals at Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple
- Those visit the temple should take a holy bath in the Holy water tank called Shani Theertham in the morning. Gingelly oil is to be applied on the head before the bath and clothes are to be left there. After getting dressed visit the nearby Kali Theertha Vinayakar shrine and offer prayers and break coconuts. It should be broke after surrounding it over the heads three times.
- One should light lamps with gingelly oil with a bunch of black Til. Then perform Archanas to Lord Shiva, Ambal and other Gods finally in the shrine of Sri Saneeswaran Bhagavan. Chant few mantras and slokas of Lord Shani before his Shrine and sit peacefully for some time .
- They should offer Ellu Sadam or Rice mixed with sesame seeds (til rice) as nivedhana and distribute to devotees and poor peoples. Pilgrims can further perform Navagraha Shanti Homas which is a pooja to satisfy and calm down the anger of the planets. Devotees can offer money in the hundi in the temple and donate cows to the temple. They can even offer their hair
- Devotees can offer abhishek to Lord Dharbaranyeswara with milk, rosewater, tender coconuts, curd, Dil oil, sandal paste, sacred ashes (Vibhuti) and new clothes. Devotees can offer Sari to the Goddess Sagamartha Poonmulayal, light lamps in her shrine. On the festival day, Thiruppavai and Thiruvembavai are chanted at 5.00 AM.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
By Air: The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli which is 168 Kms and the Chennai Airport 296 Kms away from the temple.
By Rail: The nearest Railway Station is Nagore which is 10 Kms. Mayiladurai is also well connected to the other parts which is about 32 Km away.
By Road: Karaikal is connected directly from Chidambaram, Mayiladurai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Thiruchirappalli, Thiruvarur, Velankanni, Nagappattinam. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Pondicherry Tourism & Transport Development Corporation and other private buses are available.
Where to stay
Accommodation facilities are available in the temple Devasthanam. There are VIP Suite with A/c, without A/c and Cottages; Dormitory is also available with locker facilities. One can also stay at private lodges in Karaikal.
- Government Tourist Home Contact: Near Bus Stand, Koilpathu, Karaikal, Tamil Nadu
- Hotel Thirunallar Contact: No.11, Sannathi Street,Thirunallar, Karaikal, Pondicherry
- Hotel Arya Bavan Contact: Thirunallar Road, Karaikal,Pondicherry
- Golden Lodge Contact: Thirunallar Road, Karaikal,Pondicherry
- Thirunallar Devasthanam Tourist Home Contact: Thirunallar,Karaikal,Pondicherry
- Holiday Farms & Resorts Contact: Main Road,Akkaraivattam, Karaikal
- Kumaran Guest House Contact: 160, Thirunallar Road, Karaikal
- Hotel Nandha Contact: 207, Kamaraj Salai,Karaikal
- PWD Guest House Contact: Beach Road, Karaikal
- Thirunallar Devasthanam Tourist Home Contact: Thirunallar, Karaikal
- Hotel City Plaza Contact: Bharathiar Road,Karaikal
Where to eat
There are restaurants around the temple serving south indian food. There are restaurants around the temple serving good food.
- Subasree cottage Contact: Near Nalathirtham, Thirunallar Rd
- The Promenade – A Sarovar Hotel Contact: 23, Goubert Avenue, Pondicherry
- Hotel Durai Contact: S.S Subbarayan Building,17 Imperial Road, ECR Road
- The Richmond Contact: 12, Labourdonnais Street ,Pondicherry
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