Kumbeshwar Temple, Kumbakonam.
As I woke up one morning, I had a strong call to visit the Navagraha temples in Tamil Nadu. I had no clue about these temples and the reason for my visit, but I wanted to be there without any delay. I asked several people around if they wanted to accompany me. After hearing a 100 NO’s and a ONE SINGLE YES!, I decided to leave with Ruchie. She was in the ashram for the Navratri Pujas. We tried to make our reservations for the train to Kumbakonam. After all attempts, we got a ticket that said – 135 waiting! There was no looking back. We decided to go.
We reached the train station and jumped into an AC compartment. Absolute Comfort as Gurudev rightly says! With a 135 waiting list, we got a confirmed seat! Only My Guru knows, HOW???!
We reached Kumbakonam early in the morning. It is believed that after the deluge and just before the advent of Kaliyuga the celestial pot containing the nectar containing the seeds of life came to rest here. Lord Shiva in the garb of a hunter, shot an arrow at the pot and broke it, making it contents spill resulting in the revival of life. Adi Kumbeswara Temple is dedicated to Shiva who broke the pot and the place where the nectar fell is the Mahamaham tank.
I was shocked to see that the place had a specialized temple for every known human problem of today. They ranged from finance to marriage to eye problems to skin infections to murders to cheating done to travel issues to jobs to fevers to education to misunderstandings.
According to traditional belief, Saint Galava was a famous astrologer who derived his knowledge after performing penance at the foothills of Vindyas. He found on examination of his own horoscope that the evil influence of planets was affecting his health. He decided to get rid of the Navagraha influence caused by the Planets. Thus he requested the royalty to commission construction of the Navagraha temples. Thus he and his descendants got rid of the evil influence of the planets.
We decided to leave early in the morning at 6am. On our way we had some quick local breakfast. We reached the temple of the Sun God – also known as the Suryanaar Temple
! The vendors sold some exquisite flowers outside the temple door. Each specially made for the Lord inside. People purchased lamps to be lit indoors. We followed the trend and did the same
. As we entered the temple, we saw the Lord’s vehicle, a one-wheeled chariot drawn by seven horses.
One of its kind in the world, this temple even though not very impressive in construction has all the nine planets surrounding the temple. All the nine planets are small mantapas which face the Sun God. It is believed that one circumambulation around these mantapas will help a devotee to mitigate his doshas (ill effects)
One more interesting thing is that, the Guru (Planet Jupiter) stands just in front of the Sun inside the shrine. It seems, this arrangement is so as to cool down the heat intensity of Sun’s rays. Even science says that the Jupiter absorbs all the harmful rays, the meteors, etc. from the space and protects the earth!
Right next door was the Temple of Venus or Sukran (Agneeswarar Temple, Kanjanoor) located 2kms away from the Sun Temple. We heard that Sukran is the next most beneficial planet after Guru (Jupiter) and bestows his devotees with wealth and prosperity. As we entered the temple, we saw devotees offering him with beautiful white lotus flowers and white cloth.
It is said that Lord Brahma was blessed with a vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvathi here. The priest told us that the Braham Linga enshrined in the temple was worshipped by Lord Brahma himself. As we stood for the abhishekam, we saw that the oil being poured on the shiva linga was fully absorbed by the idol itself. There was no separate sannidhi for Lord Sukra in this temple as Lord Shiva himself is believed to have incarnated as Venus here. One of the important features of the temple also was that the Bilva Leaf seen here was 5 in number!
Upon entering the temple, we first visited the Siddamrita tank. The water in the tank is said to have curative properties for various skin ailments. The temple priest asked us to offer some salt, pepper and a few other things. The fishes were over joyed to receive us. They were jumping in thousands alongside the corners of the tank. We made the offerings and decided to meditate, while a few others enjoyed their holy dip and swim. In spite of thousands of people, there was such stillness in the air and felt as if time had come to a stand still.
|The tank-Vaideeshwaran Temple
From there were proceeded inwards. The temple guards were magnificent and strong. I appeared so small and tiny in front of it
We walked in to seek the blessings of Lord Vaidheeswaran (The main Shiva Linga), Goddess Parvati (Taiyal Nayaki ) and Lord Subramanyam (Muthukumara). We were led out by thousands of over enthusiastic devotees. This was the most effortless task! Here, we saw many couples tying their wedding knots. The air was so festive and filled with divine tamil music. I understood nothing but was pretty soothing! We did a quick running pradakshina.
(walk around the temple). That itself took us 20 minutes. You can imagine how huge the temple was?! There were innumerable statues alongside. We did not even try to keep a track of them. On our final final exit we saw a HUGE Neem tree that was adorned with some red cloth bags. I am still wondering what that was! But looked very beautiful and colourful
! I managed to take a few good clicks here!
These were just three planets.. 6 more on the way!!! Keep reading:-)