Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Nageswaramudayar||Ambal / Thayar:||Ponnaagavalli|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Sirkazhi||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (25 km)||Kumbakonam (61 km)|
|Tiruvarur (66 km)||Nagapattinam (68 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
During the churning of the ocean, Swarnabhanu – one of the asuras – crept into the line of the Devas. However, he was identified by Suryan and Chandran, and as punishment, Vishnu (in the form of Mohini) hit the asura on the head with the serving spoon. But because the asura had partaken of amritam by then, he survive.
His head detached from his body, and fell at a place that therefore came to be called Sirapuram – today’s Sirkazhi – specifically at the location if this temple. Later, the head was attached to the body of a snake, which became Rahu. The body of the asura fell a little further east from here at Sembangudi, and attached to the head of a snake, becoming Ketu. Rahu and Ketu then worshipped Siva, and were granted special status at Siva temples, even becoming part of the Navagraham.
Rahu and Ketu worshipped Siva, sustaining only on air. Siva and Parvati appeared on their Rishabha vahanam, and blessed them, and asked him for a boon. Ketu and Rahu asked the couple to bless them with the power to swallow Suryan and Chandran, who caused his current state. Siva replied, that while they were indeed Ketu’s sworn enemies, the sun and moon were essential to the world.
Therefore, to keep a sense of balance, Ketu and Rahu were blessed that they would rule over Suryan and Chandran on the days of full moon, new moon and eclipses. Naturally, given the connection to the sthala puranam, this place is a parihara sthalam for those undergoing Rahu dosham.
Indra had created a garden for Siva here, which was at the risk of being destroyed due to a famine. Heeding the request and worship of the locals, Vinayakar took the form of a crow, and tipped over sage Agastyar’s kamandalam. The water reached here as the Kazhumal river, which is the Teertham of this temple. (As an aside, arising from the name of the river, is Kazhumalam, another name for Sirkazhi, in history and literature.) Siva blessed Rahu that who take a bath in this Teertham and worship Siva and Parvati, as well as Rahu, at this temple, would be blessed with the eight great celestial wealths (ashtamasiddhi). Because of its connection with the churning of the ocean and resulting nectar, Rahu here is also called Amrita Rahu.
As is the case with the Sembangudi temple, this temple is also famous for the Rahu Kalam puja (particularly on Sundays) and pradosham festivities.
Based on its architecture and iconography, this temple is said to date back to the Chola period – possibly the 10th century. However, there are no inscriptions or other evidence to support a detailed research. The core temple is said to be older than the Nageswarar temple at Tirunageswaram (near Kumbakonam), and so this place is also called Aadi Rahu sthalam.
Interestingly, while Rahu and Ketu have separate shrines, Sani is present in Rahu’s shrine along with his (Sani’s) consort Neela. The local story is that Sani is a friend of, and favourably disposed to, Rahu, and this representation in Rahu’s shrine is to demonstrate this friendship. This sort of iconography is not seen in any other temple! Whilst all the usual deities are installed here, the Rahu shrine is of specific importance. Also, on the south-western part of the outer prakaram is Manikka Vinayakar, who worshipped using naga-manikkams (precious stones said to be found on the hoods of snakes).
Other information for your visit
Muthu gukukal: 9443785862
Phone: 73736 57565