Suryanarcoil: Situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from Kumbakonam this is the only temple in South India dedicated exclusively to Surya (Sun God). In the sanctum, Brihaspati is depicted as worshipping Lord Shiva Suryanarayana. The other planets are enshrined separately.
Thingalore (3 km from Thiruvaiyaru): According to legends Chandra worshipped Lord Kailasanatha here. In the months of Purattasi (Sept-Oct) and Panguni (March-April), Moon's rays fall on the Lingam. Shaivite saint Appar revived Saint Appoothi Adigal's son, who died of snake bite, by singing in praise of the Lord at this particular site.
Vaitheeswarancoil (6 km from Sirkali): The presiding deity, Sri Vaidyanathaswamy, is hailed as the healer of all ills. The Lord came here as a Vaidya or doctor and cured Angaraha of leprosy. Among the Navagrahas, Angaraha is worshipped here with great reverence. Hence this shrine is also known as Angaraha Kshetra.
It is also staunchly believed that Jatayu, Rig Veda, Muruga and Surya worshipped the Lord here. There is a shrine dedicated to Muruga who obtained the trident here. He is known as Selvamuthu Kumarar.
Neem tree is the Sthala Vriksha here. The Jatayu Kundam in the southern prakaram is considered to be the spot where Sri Rama performed the last rites of Jatayu.
Thiruvengadu (10 km from Vaitheeswarancoil): The Shiva shrine here is dedicated to Sri Swetaranyeswara. The Goddess is Brahma Vidyambika. Legends glorify this place as Swetaranyam, Adi Chidambaram and Nava Nritta Sthala.
Buddha, the bestower of knowledge, has a separate shrine. Wednesdays are auspicious days of worship.
What make the image of the god worth seeing is that it has 5 faces - Easanam, Tatpurusham, Aghoram, Vamadevam and Satyojatam. According to Purana tales the Lord assumed the form of Aghoramurti, the furious aspect of God, to vanquish demon Maruthwasura. The Lord also saved a devotee named Swetaketu from the clutches of Yama. For the sake of this devotee, Shiva danced all His seven Tandavas - Anand, Sandhya, Samharam, Tripuranda, Urdhva, Bhujanga and Lalitha.
There are separate shrines for Bhadrakali, Ashtalakshmi and Nataraja. Agni, Chandra and Surya Theerthams in the temple are considered holy.
Shaivite saints Meikandar, Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Pattinathar have sung in praise of the Lord.
Alangudi (6 km from Needamangalam): The presiding deity here is Sri Abathsagayeswara or Aranyeswara, a Swayambu Lingam, and the Goddess is Umai Ammai. There is a separate sanctum for the special deity Sri Dakshinamurthi. Being a Guru Kshetra, Thursdays attract a large number of pilgrims and special poojas are performed. There are about 15 Theerthams in the temple.
Kanchanur (3 km from Suryanarcoil): Lord Vishnu worshipped Agniswara, the presiding deity here, to rid Himself of Shukra Dosha. The divine consort is Karpagambal. Fridays are very auspicious and devotees offer white flowers to the Lord.
Thirunallar (5 km from Karaikal): The temple here is dedicated to Sri Dharbaranyeswara. King Nala attained emancipation here from the hardships and miseries to which he was subjected by Sani.
Enshrined within the temple is Saniswara. The devout believed that they could get rid of their curses and the spells of ill fate if they pray in this temple.
Pilgrims usually take a dip in the Nala Theertham and offer worhship 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 at the mount of Saniswara.
The festival, Sani Peyarchi, which takes place once in two and a half years, attracts thousands of pilgrims. On this day, Saturn moves from one Rasi to another.
Thirunageswaram (5 km from Kumbakonam): The Shiva temple here is dedicated to Sri Naganathaswamy. His consort is Giri Gujambika, who is enshrined with Lakshmi and Saraswathi by Her side. It is said that Rahu worshipped the Lord here on Sivaratri day to redeem himself from the curse of a sage. Sundays are considered quite auspicious and devotees perform milk abhishekam for Rahu, who is enshrined with His consorts. A noteworthy feature is that the milk turns blue. A dip in Soola Theertham is said to cure one of diseases and give prosperity.
Kizhaperumpallam (near Tarangampadi): Vasuki, the King of Serpents, did penance and worshipped Lord Shiva here. Kethu, considered the bestower of Gyana (knowledge), is worshipped in a separate shrine.
(Last Updated on : 19-02-2019)
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