Nagarajar, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Nagarajar||Ambal / Thayar:||x|
|Timing:||4 to 11.30 & 5 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Nagercoil||District:||Kanyakumari|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Nagercoil (2 km)||Kanyakumari (21 km)|
|Tirunelveli (84 km)||Thoothukudi (130 km)|
Nagercoil is located very close to Suchindram, and is about 20km from Kanyakumari.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Once upon a time a local lady was reaping paddy when she observed blood oozing out of the ground. The bewildered lady went and told the village chief who arranged excavating that area. The villagers found an idol of Nagarajar and installed him in the temple.
Marthandavarma, who was ruling Kerala, was affected by rashes on his skin, and came here to worship Nagarajar. He was cured miraculously and built this temple for Nagarajar and also installed Ananthkrishnan, Kasi Viswanathar and Durga.
The Nagaraja Temple in Nagercoil has the main deity as Nagaraja but also has Ananthkrishnan (Vishnu) and Kasi Viswanathar (Siva) shrines, giving them equal status. Daily poojas are conducted to Nagarajar, Kasi Viswanathar and Ananthakrishnan in that order. However Arthajama Pooja is done only for Ananthakrishnan. Similarly, Ananthakrishnan is the only deity with the kodimaram (flagstaff)
Eight Nagas (ashta naga) are revered at this temple. They are: Shesha, Vasuki, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Shankhapala, Gulika, Padma and Maha Padma. Each of these Nagas are said to be of a different colour or have a unique identifying mark on them.
As every God has his own dwarapalakas, Nagarajar’s dwarapalakas are Dharnendra and Padmavati, a male and female serpent respectively. A special thatched roof is provided for them and is renovated every year in the Tamil month of Aadi (July-August).
This is the biggest temple for Nagarajar in India. All those with nagadosham come pray here with an offering of milk.
The main sanctum sanctorum of Nagarajar has a sand floor which is always wet. That sand is given as prasadam. This is as a result of the belief that snakes slithered on the sand here, thereby sanctifying it. During dakshinayana (during the southward journey of the Sun, which roughly coincides with the period between autumn and spring equinoxes) the sand is black and during uttrayana (northward journey of the Sun, ie roughly between the spring and autumn equinoxes, approximately) it is regular sand.
Lord Ananthakrishnan’s flag staff is decorated with a tortoise, as opposed to the usual Garuda (Vishnu’s vahana). This is to avoid any unfriendly atmosphere between eagles and snakes (since Garuda is an eagle, and the temple is dedicated to Nagarajar, the king of snakes). The tortoise is also representative of Kurma Avatar, the form that Vishnu took, when the celestial ocean of milk (paarkadal) was churned by devas and asuras.
There are some bas relief images of Mahavira and Parsvanatha, the Jain Tirthankaras, on some of the columns in the temple, due to which there is a view that this could have been a Jain temple at some time.
This area used to be infested with cobras, but due to the action taken by the authorities in clearing this area free of shrubs etc, no snake is found around here in recent times.
Other information for your visit
The following important temples are in, or within close / driving distance from, Nagercoil:
Divya Desam temples: Tiru Vazh Marban temple, Tirupatisaram; Azhagiya Nambirayar temple, Tirukkurungudi, Vanamamalai / Thotadri Natha Perumal, Nanguneri; Aadi Kesava Perumal temple, Tiruvattaru; Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple, Trivandrum;
Thuckalay Pillaiyar temple, Thuckalay (between Tiruvattaru and Nagercoil)
Thanumalayan temple, Suchindram (Siva, Vishnu, Brahma temple)
Subrahmanya Swamy temple, Valliyur (between Nagercoil and Tirunelveli)
There are budget and mid-range hotels in Nagercoil. Trivandrum and Tirunelveli are the closest large cities with good accommodation.