Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Naganathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Manalmedu||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (15 km)||Kumbakonam (44 km)|
|Tiruvarur (59 km)||Nagapattinam (69 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Adiseshan – on whom Vishnu rests – is said to have worshipped Siva here. This also gives Lord Siva His name as Naganathar. There is an interesting sthala puranam of how this came about.
At one time, this place was a forest of Punnai trees. As a result, the land here got very heavy and also powerful – the Punnai being associated with Lord Siva. Adiseshan was unable to bear the weight of the land. To get more strength, he installed a Lingam here and worshipped Siva. Pleased with the devotion shown, Lord Siva appeared in front of Adiseshan and blessed him. In turn, Adiseshan asked Lord Siva to stay here forever. The Punnai is also the sthala vriksham of this temple.
This temple is also connected with the Navagraham deities Rahu and Ketu. According to the sthala puranam here, both these celestials visited this place immediately after their weddings, to seek Lord Siva’s blessings! This temple is a parikaram sthalam for both Rahu dosham and Ketu dosham, as also as a remedy from kala sarpa dosham due to which marriages may be delayed.
It is regarded that this is the place where, on the day of Panguni Uthiram, Murugan imparted upadesam of the meaning of the moola mantram, to Idumban. On the day of Panguni Uthiram every year, on the banks of the nearby Kollidam river, devotees perform the Kavadi for Murugan.
From the architecture, this temple appears to be from the late Chola period, perhaps the 12th century.
The temple’s tank – Naga Teertham – is to the east of the temple.
Upon entering from the east, a long and wide vavvaal-nethi mandapam is immediately after the entrance gate. There is no dhwajasthambam – only a bali peetham and Nandi – which means that from the entrance, once can have a clear sight of the moolavar.
The entrance to the ardha mandapam is guarded by two dwarapalakas, and above them is a stucco image depicting various celestials worshipping Lord Siva. Past the ardha mandapam and antarala – in which vigrahams of Adiseshan, Rahu, Ketu, and other nagas are installed – is the garbhagriham. In the maha mandapam, facing south, is the shrine for Soundara Nayaki Amman. Near this is also the south-facing shrine of Maha Ganapati.
The temple is fairly large for a village temple, and well laid out. In the koshtams are Nardhana Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma and Durga. In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, a rare shrine for Idumban (see sthala puranam above), Saraswati, Gajalakshmi, and Chandikeswarar. There is also a separate Navagraham shrine, and in the eastern corridor are Kasi Bhairavar, Bhairavar, Sani, Suryan and Chandran.
Other information for your visit
Although the temple faces east, its eastern entrance is often closed. Instead, there is an entrance from the south.
The temple priest lives a couple of houses down the street from the temple’s southern entrance.
Watch Sriram’s video here (taken on the day of Saraswati Puja, 2022):