Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kailasanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sivakami, Ananthagowri, Avudai Nayaki|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Karkotaka Nallur|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4.30 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kodaganallur||District:||Tirunelveli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tirunelveli (16.9 km)||Nagercoil (74.7 km)|
|Thoothukudi (78.5 km)||Kanyakumari (84.1 km)|
Kodaganallur is located 22km from Tirunelveli, close to Cheran Madevi.
Sthala puranam and temple information
There lived a saint who undertook severe penance here, worshipping Siva. His son used to assist him in his worship. Once, King Parijatha came to the forest to hunt, and found the saint and his hermitage. The son had gone into the woods for collecting firewood. The king called out to the saint, but the latter did not respond as he was in meditation. The king lost his patience and put a dead snake on the shoulders of the saint and went away laughing. After a little while the son returned and was shocked to find the dead snake. He figured out that the king had done this, and so cursed the king to be bitten to death by a serpent. The king’s son came to know of this and kept the king in a very secluded place where no snake could enter. This was in the mid-sea far away from the kingdom. However once when the king was about to eat a mango given to him the worm inside the fruit turned into Karkotakan, the naga king, and bit him to death.
This story seems very similar to the one in the Mahabharatam, where Takshaka bites the king Parikshit (descendant of the Pandavas), causing Parikshit to die, and which is the background for the Sarpa Satra yagna undertaken by Parikshit’s son Janamejaya.
Karkotaka attained liberation due to his penance here, and hence the place is known as Karkotaka Nallur, or Kodaganallur in today’s convention.
Once during a wild forest fire, Karkotaka was saved by Nala, who had lost his kingdom and was wandering in the forest. Despite this, the snake bit him and Nala lost his good looks. Though many failed to recognize Nala, his wife realized it was him, and employed him as the charioteer for her children in his uncle Veeman’s house. Later, Karkotaka bit Nala again which helped Nala regain his original form. As a result of these actions, Karkotaka prayed to Vishnu to help him recover from the dosham caused by him. Vishnu advised him to come to this place and pray to Siva for relief. Siva was pleased that Karkotaka had performed his penitence, and relieved him from the dosham.
This temple is dedicated to Sevvai (Mars) and so, devotees with Sevvai Dosham come and pray here. Vinayaka and Muruga are the dwara devatas, and there are no Dwarapalakas for the main sanctum. Devotees come and pray to Nandi here and adorn him with thaali / mangal sutra, as it is believed that this will help them get married soon. Thirukalyanam is conducted for Nandi every day.
The Siva lingam at this temple is so large that it requires an 8-yard veshti to adorn it.
This area (including parts of nearby Cheran Madevi) is also called Chaturvedimangalam, as sages well versed in the Vedas used to live here.
Siva attains the role of Vaitheeswaran here as at Seerkazhi and devotees are benefitted in a similar way.
Those born in the rasis of vrichika and mesham undertake special poojas here.
Other information for your visit
It is considered a blessing to cover all nine Nava Kailasam temples in a single day, in the correct order (ie, starting with Papanasam and ending with Serntha Poomangalam).
If you want to follow the order of temples by legend, then it is preferable to stay somewhere near Papanasam or Ambasamudram (which have some budget and small hotels / resorts). In that case, the order of visits should be: Papanasam, Cheran Madevi, Kodaganallur, Kunnathur, Murappanadu, Srivaikuntam (Tiruvaikuntam), Thentirupperai, Rajapathy, Serndha Poomangalam.
Budget and mid-range accommodation is available at Tirunelveli. If coming down on the East Coast Road, then some limited options may also be available at Toothukudi (Tuticorin) and Tiruchendur.