Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Darbaranyeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||PraNaambikai, PraaNeswari, Bhogamaartha PuNmulaiyaaL|
|Timing:||6 to 12.30 & 4 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirunallar||District:||Karaikal|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Nagapattinam (24 km)||Thiruvarur (31 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (32 km)||Kumbakonam (55 km)|
The temple is located in the heart of Tirunallar, in Karaikal district of Puducherry.
Sthala puranam and temple information
There are so many legends associated with this temple, that it deserves a much more detailed write up!
Tirunallar is a the Sapta Vitanga Sthalam, housing one of the maragatha Lingams that Muchukunda Chakravarti was able to obtain after his trials with Indra. This sthalam represents the Unmatha Natanam (dance of an intoxicated person).
Darbaranyeswarar refers to the Lord of the forest of Darba grass (aranyam = forest). Tirunallaru refers to the location of this place, between (nadu or nall in Tamil) the Nattar River and Arasilar River.
Unable to bear the heat, Suryan’s wife Ushas created Chaya in her image, who bore a son for Suryan. When Suryan realized the truth, he shunned the son, who was named Sani. Sani went to Kasi and prayed to Viswanathar there, who accepted him and made him one of the Navagraham.
King Nala married Damayanti, but the many Devas who were keen to marry her were upset with this. So they asked Saniswaran to teach Nala a lesson. As one may be aware, it is considered that Sani comes into our lives three times, each for a pevriod of seven-and-half-years, to test us. Similarly, Sani tested Nala to the extent that Nala lost his kingdom, wealth and even his wife. He finally approached Darbarayaneswarar in Tirunallar to worship the Lord. As he entered the temple, Sani got scared and released Nala from his clutches and stayed in the threshold itself. As requested by Nala, he continues to stay here to bless devotees.
According to a later interpretation of the Skanda Puranam, Lord Vishnu and Mahalakshmi got Manmadhan as their son by praying here to the Lord. In return, Lord Vishnu established Somaskandar, where Murugan (as a child) sits between Siva and Parvathi. Indra took this Somaskandar murti to his abode and got two children – Jayanthan and Jayanthi.
Sage Bhargava cursed a king of Kalinga to take the form of a wild elephant. Narada provided guidance to the king, asking him to go to Darbaranyam for vimochanam, and that he would transform back to his original form if a drop of water from a devotee’s head fell on the elephant. A pilgrim was drying himself after a bath at the temple tank when a drop of water indeed fell on the elephant, and the king’s original form was restored. (There is a similar story about water from a devotee’s head relieving a brahmin who had been afflicted with the sin of go-hatya – the killing of a cow.)
Koon Pandiyan (later, Nindra Seer Nedumaran) had converted to Jainism, and his wife and minister were able to get Sambandar to Madurai to help cure the king. This is part of the Edaganathar temple puranam. In his contest with the Jains, Sambandar placed a pathigam that was sung at Tirunallar, in the flames, but that did not burn. This was part of his victory over the Jains.
A shepherd used to supply milk to the temple regularly. The man in-charge of accounts used to send the milk to his home and write false accounts. The king heard of the shortage in milk and ordered the shepherd to be punished. Scared, the shepherd prayed to the Lord, who sent his trident to kill the accountant. To make way for the trident, Nandi had to step aside, and this can be observed even today!
Other information for your visit
There are several budget accommodation options available in Tirunallar. Nearby places like Karaikal, Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur offer some additional budget and mid-range options as well.