(Last Updated on : 05/12/2015)
The Navagraha temples are a group of nine (nava) temples, which are located within a sixty kilometre radius around Kumbakonam in Tanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. Maximum of these are Siva temples. Each of these temples is a sanctum for one each of the nine celestial bodies referred to in Indian astrological beliefs.
The first Navagraha temple is the Suryanar Koyil. It is situated in the small village called Tirumangalakkudi of Tamil Nadu. It is an exclusive shrine dedicated to the Sun God and was built during the Chola period. This temple also contains shrines for each of the other eight celestial bodies.
The Kailasanathar (Siva) temple of Tingalur (near Tiruvaiyaru) is second temple of the Navagraha group. It is associated with Chandra (moon) and this temple houses a small shrine dedicated to Chandran.
Then in the list comes the name of the third Navagraha temple, the Vaidyanatha (Siva) temple at Vaitheeshwaran Kovil near Sirkazhi. This temple is associated with Angaraka (Mars). A shrine for Angaraka can be seen inside this temple. There is a bronze image of Angaraka, which is placed in this shrine and is taken out in procession every Tuesday.
The fourth Navagraha sthalas is in Tiruvenkadu. It is situated near Mayavaram, which is special to Budhan (Mercury). The very big Siva temple here is called the Swetaranyeswarar temple and it is famous for its shrine dedicated to Mercury (Budhan).
The Siva temple at Alangudi near Kumbakonam is the fifth of the Navagraha temple. It is known as the Abatsakayar temple. This place is well known as 'Gurusthalam', where Jupiter (Dakshinamurthi or Guru) is worshipped. When Jupiter transits between zodiac signs, a large number of people assemble here to offer worship.
The Kanjanur near Suryanarkovil is the sixth of the Navagraha sthalas. Here, the Agnishwaraswamy (Siva) temple is associated with Venus (Sukran). The seventh Navagraha temple is the Dharbaranyeshwarar (Siva) temple at Tirunalfar, which lies near Karaikal. It is a big temple complex, which has a well-known shrine for Saturn (Saneeshwaran). Lots of devotees assemble here during the period when the planet Saturn transits between zodiac signs.
Another Navagraha temple is the Tirunageswaram, which is situated very near Kumbakonam. A shrine for Siva can be found here, which is known as Nageswarar. This Siva temple is very big and is famous for its shrine of Raahu, one of the nine celestial bodies.
The last and the ninth temple of the Navagraha group is the Naganathar (Siva) temple. It is also known as the Kethu Navagrahastalam in Keezhperum-pallam, near Tiruvenkaadu. There is a shrine dedicated to Kethu in this temple and it is visited by numerous pilgrims.