Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Jagannatha Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Shenbagavalli|
|Deity:||Perumal||Historical name:||Tirunandhipura Vinnagaram|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||8 to 12 & 4.30 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Nathan Koil||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (5 km)||Thanjavur (37 km)|
|Tiruvarur (40 km)||Mayiladuthurai (42 km)|
Nathan Koil or Nandipura Vinnagaram is located very close to the ancient Chola capital of Pazhayarai.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Nandi once wanted to visit Lord Vishnu and pray but was prevented by the dwarapalakas. He did not pay respect to them and hence they cursed him that his body became extremely hot. Unable to bear the heat, Nandi went and complained to Lord Siva who advised him to visit Shenbagaranyam where Lakshmi had undertaken penance, and pray to Lord Vishnu. Pleased with Nandi’s penance, Perumal appeared and relived Nandi from the curse. This place is therefore also known as Nandipura Vinnagaram (Vinnagaram is a derivative of Vishnu-Nagaram). Unlike most Perumal temples, we can see Nandi in the main sanctum / garbhagriham.
This is a west-facing temple, where Perumal is in amarndha kolam, holding a sword, a bow, the Sudharshana chakram (discus), the Sangu (conch) and a dandam (stick) in his hands. This place was once a forest of Shenbagam flowers, and so the Thayar here is worshipped as Shenbagavalli. The temple’s layout is said to resemble the Puri Jagannath temple, and so it is also called Dakshina Jagannatham.
As part of the lesser-known set of Vaishnava Navagraha sthalams, this temple is the Chandra sthalam, and hence a Chandra parikara sthalam.
The temple is said to have been built by Sibi Chakravarti. There is a story as to why the Perumal, who originally faced east at this temple, now faces west; and it is connected to the story of Sibi offering a portion of his flesh to satisfy an eagle (Yama in the form of an eagle). The Perumal here wanted to witness this great dharmic act of Sibi, and so He turned west!
Normally Mahalakshmi sits near Lord Vishnu’s feet. However, she wanted to be on the chest of the Lord and undertook severe penance in the Shenbagaranyam here. Unable to bear separation from her, the Lord appeared and took her with his hands and kept her in his chest. In order to bless Lakshmi (who was sitting facing east during her penance), Perumal had to turn to face her (thereby facing west) – this is another legend to why the temple is west-facing. This incident is said to have taken place on Ashtami day of Shukla-paksham in the Tamil month of Aipasi (October-November).
While it is generally regarded that this is a Pallava temple, there are inscriptions to support that Sundara Chola made significant contributions to this temple.
Devotees come here to pray for timely marriage, reunion of separated couples, childbirth and favorable decisions in legal matters. At the time of Akshaya Tritiya each year, the temple sees a huge celebration, and Perumal is taken out in procession on Garudar.
The town and temple make a brief appearance in Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, as the place of residence of the minister Aniruddha Brahmarayar.
Other information for your visit
Kumbakonam is a temple town, and there are a number of temples in and around Kumbakonam. Please visit the pages on Kumbakonam, Near: Kumbakonam, and Near 25: Kumbakonam, for more information on these.
Kumbakonam and its outskirts have several accommodation options for all budgets, including some resorts.