History of Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple
Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple is associated with a history. According to Poudiga Purana Lord Shiva once told his consort Umadevi about Shenbagaraniyam, now called Thirunageswaram. Lord Shiva known as Shenbagarane Eswara was bestowing his blessings to his devotees at Shenbagaraniyam, under the Shenbagam tree. It is said that Nandi, the Lord's mode of conveyance worshipped the Lord. This helped him achieve the status as Nandeesan. Lord Indra worshipped Goddess Girigujambal with Punugu, a rare scent variety and got relieved of the pungent smell that was emanating from all over his body. Sages Gowthama, Vashista, Parasarar, and Kings Nala, Pandavas and Bageerathan also obtained relief upon worshipping Sri Magenta Swami here. Kings of Snakes Aadisesha, Thakshagan and Karkotagan worshipped the Lord here and were blessed by him.
Architecture of Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple
Four major streets are located around the temple. The temple has four gateways and is enclosed by huge compound walls. A broad pathway (Praharam) near the walls leads to a beautiful flower garden on the northern side. Devotees can visit the Vinayaga temple, Balibeedam, Nandeeswarar Mandabam and Thwaja Sthambam (Flag post) by entering through the eastern gate. There is also a water head on the southern side of the temple. It has four Mandaps. One of these is a 100 pillar Mandap built in car style. The eastern walls of the temple have been decorated artistically.
Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple begins at the central Gopuram and has a long Praharam or pathway. Sri Raaghu Bagavan Sannathi can be seen on the South-West Corner. The Mandabam is located near the long prakaram where the decoration of the Lord and other functions are conducted. The Mandabam had been constructed by Govinda Dikshidar who served as the Chief Minister to King Achuthappa naikar of Thanjavur in the 16th Century. An intricately carved pillar can be seen in front of the Mandabam on the eastern side. On the southern side similar pillars can be seen. On the northern side there is a beautiful Mandab with 'Yalli face' pillars. Here idols that are taken on procession are decorated. In the year 1929 when renovation work was conducted in the western walls many artistic features had been beautifully. It had the description of the five idols that is instated in the temple. One can get a glimpse of the intricate art work of Veda nayakas, King Sambumali and penance pose of Ambal in the pathway of the temple leading to Sannathi. The Dwarapalaga Sudhai work made of Chunam clay on each side adorns the entrance to the Swami Sannathi.
Festivals of Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple
Thirunageswaram Raghu Temple organises many festivals on a grand scale like Bramahotsavam, Kandashasti, Shivaratri, Navaratri, Sekkizhar Vaikasi Pooja and Raaghu Switching over to next Rasi.
Thirunageswaram temple is 6 kms from Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam- Karaikal bus route. The nearest station is the Thirunageswaram Railway Station.