Sri Darbaraneswarar Temple is the abode of Lord Shani(Lord Saturn). The Temple is most famous to Lord Shaneeswarar. It is one of the 9 Navagrahas(Nine Planets). Thirunallar is 5 kms away from Karaikal in the West. The main deities of the shrine are Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Paravathi Devi and Lord Shani Bhagawan. Here Lord Shiva is called as Darbaraneswara and Goddess Parvathi is known as Pranamambika or Bogamartha Poon Mulayal (Poonmulalammal). The other deities of the shrine are Swarna Vinayaka, Lord Subramaneswara Swamy and Thyagarajar. The image of Lord Saneeswara is seen in  a graceful standing pose housed in Niche on the left side of the Lord Dharbaranyeswara. Since the principal Deity Lord Dharbaranyeswara and his consort “Bhogamartha poon Mulayal” is called Praneswari have the power to offer benediction to the devotees, hundreds of them visit this temple daily.  There is also additional attraction in the shape of holy tanks which exists here are said to possess healing powers literally  and metaphorically.

According to legends the temple belongs to 7th century B.C. Lord Siva has many names Aadhipuriswarar because Brahma worshipped here and got salvation. Saturn is the biggest planet in the solar system and  is only next to Jupiter in size and magnitude. Thirunallar is the holy place of Lord Sani Bhagawan. The Thirunallar temple is a Shiva Temple (Lord Shiva is known as Dharbaranyeshwarar here) but the main glory of the temple of Lord Shaniswara. This is the only temple in the world where Lord Shani lost his power to Lord Shiva in order to save his devotee Nala from Saturn’s curses. This belief is carried over even today and thousands of people visit this temple to get relief from misfortunes inflicted by Saturn.


History and Legend of Thirunallar

  • The famous King Nala and the queen Damayanthi both liked each other and got married. However Devas wanted to marry the queen Damayanthi. So after this marriage, Devas got angry and jealous on Nala. Devas reached out Saneeswaran and asked him to help them out.
  • But after seeing the couple, he decided to make devas understand the Nala’s true love to the queen. Saneeswaran gave lot of troubles to King Nala and finally the King reached Thirunallaru. The King worshipped the Lord Dharpaneswara at this temple and got cured from all his curses and Dosha.
  • 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.
  • One of wives of Surya deva (Sun God) is Usha. She couldn’t tolerate the heat of the sun, so she converted her shadow as another woman in the name of “Saya Devi” and lived in that name. Saneeswaran was born to Saya Devi and Surya Deva.
  • Later when Surya Deva came to know this, he got angry with Usha and he didn’t accept Saneeswaran as part of his family. Saneeswaran went to Kasi (Varanasi), worshipped the Lord Viswanathar (Shiva) and become part of one of the Navagrahas.

Significance of the Thirunallar Temple

  • Offering prayers at this temple is believed to reduce the ill effects of Shani and increase the positive effects. For over thousand years Hindus have visited this temple and have found their misfortunes and bad luck to decrease as this is the only temple in the world where Lord Shani lost his power to Lord Shiva.
  • 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 we will face due to Shani Bhagawan.
  • 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.
  • The true benefit of offering prayers is to get a positive mental attitude that helps us understand the deeper lessons that Shani Bhagawan wants us to learn. Saturn is known as the Celestial Taskmaster and the Grand Teacher. During the most difficult times we need to pray to Shani Bhagawan so he can help us learn the lessons he wants to teach.
  • Worship will help us learn to benefit even from the biggest misfortunes that befall us. Worship of Lord Shani will help us benefit from great difficulties, challenges and limitations.

Thirunallar Temple Temple Timings

The temple remains open from 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM in the morning and 4:00PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.

Festivals celebrated at the Thirunallar Temple

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 – the divine marriage of Muruga and Devasena. Skanda Sashti fasting is done during the ‘Karthika’ masam in the Tamil calendar and devotees begin their fast from the day of the Karthika lunar month known as ‘Pirathamai’ while the fasting culminated on the sixth day, popularly known as Soorasamharam day.

Sanipeyarchi festival: On this day Sri Saneeswara Bhagawan transits from Thulam(Libra) to Vrischika(Scorpio). On the day previous to the day of transit religious discourses and entertainments are arranged by the temple authorities. Puja and rituals will be held on the day for Shani Dosha Parihara. As per the Indian Astrology, Lord Saneeswaran(the Lord Saturn, one of 9 Navagrahas) moves from One Sign to the next in the Zodiac once in two and half years. The day on which Lord Shani transits is being celebrated as a Sanipeyarchi Festival in Thirunallar Temple.

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.It is largely a festival for women. Unmarried women observe a partial fast on this day to get good husbands and married women take a fast from the preceding day (Makayiram nakshatra) and on the day of Thiruvathira for the well being of their husband and family. The first Thiruvathira of a newly wedded woman is her poothiruvathira. The belief is that this is the day goddess Parvathy met Lord Siva after a long and hard penance to marry Lord Siva. The celebration is to rejoice the death of Kamadevan representing the purging of the vices of Kama (lust), krodha (anger)and moha (wants) by keeping the mind stable.

Adi Pooram festival: Aadi Pooram, also called as ‘Aandal Jayanti’ is a prime festival of Tamilians. 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 first day of Aadi is observed as Aadi Pirappu. It means beginning of the month. The day begins with the making of huge kolams (Rangoli designs) in front of the home. Dakshinayana Punyakalam, the night of the Devas, begins on the first day of the month Aadi. The sun changes its direction during this period and next six months is the night time of the gods. Due to this reason, no auspicious events are held in the month.

Poojas and Rituals at Thirunallar

The devout believe that they can get rid of their curses and spells of bad luck if they pray in this temple. Pilgrims take a dip in the Nala Theertha and offer worship at the temple. The worship here includes lighting holy lamps with til (gingelly) seeds and oil. After prayers, balls of cooked rice are offered to the Crow, the mount of Saniswara.

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.

Devotees can donate for the poojas to the temple. There are two ways to do poojas. One is the devotees themselves should collect all the materials for the pooja and handover to the concerned temple authorities. Other is that they can send the money directly to temple authorities

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 Road: This temple is located in 5 KM distance from the Karaikkal bus stand. This is also 22 KM away from Nagapattinam bus stand. It is located in Kumbakonam – Karaikkal highway

By Rail: The Nearest station is Karaikkal. It is well connected with most of the major cities. The easiest route is from Chennai to Thirunallar is via Tindivanam, Pondicherry, Chidambaram, Tranquebar, Karaikal.

Where to stay at Thirunallar

There are many hotels as well as accommodation facilities that are available near the temple.

  • Holiday Farms & Resorts Contact: Main Road,Akkaraivattam, Karaikal
  • Kumaran Guest House Contact: 160, Thirunallar Road, Karaikal
  • Hotel Arya Bavan Contact: Thirunallar Road, Karaikal,Pondicherry
  • Government Tourist Home Contact: Near Bus Stand, Koilpathu, Karaikal, Tamil Nadu
  • Thirunallar Devasthanam Tourist Home Contact: Thirunallar, Karaikal
  • Hotel Nandha Contact: 207, Kamaraj Salai,Karaikal
  • Hotel City Plaza Contact: Bharathiar Road,Karaikal
  • PWD Guest House Contact: Beach Road, Karaikal

Where to eat

There are many restaurants that offer an amazing south indian cuisine.

  • The Richmond Contact: 12, Labourdonnais Street ,Pondicherry
  • A Sarovar Hotel Contact: 23, Goubert Avenue, Pondicherry
  • Subasree cottage Contact: Near Nalathirtham, Thirunallar Rd
  • Food Land Contact: 15/3, Market Street, Karaikal-609602
  • New Husainiya Restaurant Contact: 65/1,Church Street,Karaikal-609602,

Nearby Temples

Kailasanathar Temple: The Kanchi Kailasanathar temple located in Kanchipuram is a famous temple of Lord Shiva. The Shiva Lingam in this temple is 10 feet high.King Rajasimha, of the Pallava dynasty, built this Shiva temple in the early 8th century. It is an early structural temple, built of sandstone, and partly renovated in recent times. The modest scale of the temple, and the closeness of its enclosing wall, lend a feeling of intimacy to the surroundings.The location of the Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchipuram is about half a kilometer away in the western direction from the centre of the town. The architecture of this temple in unique and one of its kind.

Bhadrakali Temple: According to legend, two demons called Ambaran and Amban were very cruel and started troubling the world. When Indra, Brahma and Vishnu went and complained about them to Lord Shiva, he sent Bhadrakali to kill them. At that time Ambaran took the form of a buffalo and fought with the Goddess. She cut off his head using her sword. The devas requested Goddess Kali to live in that place and protect the people and she stood there facing the north (Vatabhadra Kali). The place was initially known as Ambara-harattur meaning victory over Ambaran, which subsequently became Ambagarathur. Lord Bhadrakali who is believed to be the most efficient Lord in endowing blessings to the followers. It is a religious temple for the Hindus and is widely worshipped all over the country.

Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple: Karaikal Ammaiyar is a small shrine, which is dedicated to Karaikal Ammaiyar, the only woman out of the sixty three Nayanmars. Constructed by Malaiperumal Pillai in 1929, this temple is known for the huge idol of this lady saint. Popularly known as Goddess Punithavati, this woman and the episodes of her supernatural powers are renowned among natives of the region. The Mangani Tirunal festival (the festival of the mango fruit) is observed in the month of Aani (June-July) on Pournami (full-moon) day. The belief is that Karaikal Ammaiyar gave Annam to Bhikshatanar during his tour round the world begging alms, with curd rice and mangoes. To commemorate this incident, curd rice with mango is distributed on this festival day.

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