My Journey to Thirunallar Shani temple. It is one of the notable temples of Shani dev all around the world.
I picked up a few books, mainly Sthalapuranams, during my visit to Kumbakonam district in Tamil Nadu. So let me start with the story of Thirunallaru.
Thirunallaru is known to people as the holy place of Sani Bhagwan (Saturn). However there are other deities who adorn the temple , and this is something very few of us are aware.
This is the only place where Lord Shiva is known as “Dharparanayeswarar” after Dharpa or Kusa Grass which is considered as the holy plant of the temple. See my earlier posts of the temple and the Dharpa Grass. Thirunallaru Temple is situated between the Arasalaru and Vanchai River. At the end of the east street of the temple Saint Thirugnansambandar’s statute is housed in a separate Mandapam.
The temple has several Mandapams – Sopana Mandapam in the first corridor, Vidanga Thiagar Mandapam near the Sanctum Sanctorum, Ardha Mandapam, Sabha Mandapam, Pandigai Mandapam and Mukti Mandapam.
The glory of this temple and the most sought after deity is Sani Bhagwan. He is facing east unlike in most temples where he faces South. He is usually depicted with four hands however in Thirunallar he is depicted with just two. At the beginning of the southern corridor is the line up of the 63 Nayanmars and 4 saints. These four saints promoted Tamil literature. Adhi Vinaayaka is situated at the very end of the Southern corridor. On the western corridor you’d find Lord Muruga and Goddess Lakshmi in two forms “Sila” and “Sudha”. On the western side is Lord Elangothpavar with Thirumal and Ayan. On the North is the Dharpai bushes and an idol of Pitchatanamurthy (partly seen in my photograph) and the Sannidhi of Goddess Durga. In the north east you’ll find the Sannidhi of Lord Bairavar.
Nallaru means a place with good-water stream or good-water river. Thiru represents respect in Tamil.
Lord Bhramha visited this temple to get his ability to create better living beings and meditated on Lord Shiva who appeared and blessed him. So this is basically a Shiva temple. Lord shiva’s idol is suyambhu ie, it emerged on its own and no sculptor did it.
An important literature praising Lord Shiva was sung in this place – Pacchai pathigam. So this place is called PAADAL PETRA STHALAM (A place where it got sung).
Now you guys might understand the deities of the temple. Now Lets focus more on Shani dev.
Shani dev in this temple was worshipped by Sages like Agastya muni, Appar, Sundarar, Gnanasambhandhar, Sekilar, Arunagirinathar, Lord Vishnu, Lord Bhramha, Indra dev, 8 Digbalas (Guardians of the 8 directions) and Kings or Princes like the Pandavas, Nalan, Kalingan, Muskundhar.
The picture in this link is very important as it is Shani dev in Silver alankar and is very rare. All ornaments are of silver. His favorite metals as Iron and Silver.
Sani peyarchi (Transit of Shani dev from one raashi to another) is very important and devotees from all over throng the temple to offer their prayers. Saneeswaran is believed to have a major influence on the course of ones life and also the most feared planet. The unique aspect here is that Saneeswaran is in standing posture with abhayahastha ie hand bestowing blessing. It is a posture which cannot be seen anywhere in the World. It is also found scientifically by NASA that, a unique rays come from the saturn planet and directly land on the kalasha of Shani dev’s Sannithi (room). That kalasha made of copper has the ability to receive it and get hold of such a strong rays and spread it inside the whole temple area only for exactly 41 days since Shani peyarchi (Transit day). [It is explained in detail in the last of this post.]
Everyone experiences sade sati or ezharai sani in their life time. It occurs 2 to 3 three times in a life span as it recurs after approximately 30 years. Even the Lord himself is not exempt from the effect of ezharai sani. Once, Shiva hid himself in River Ganges to meditate and escape the effect of Sani. On his return he was informed by Sani that the Lord had went into hiding in the first place because of the influence of ezharai Sani. An astonished but pleased Shiva, declared to him to be Saneeswaran. No other planet has the tag eswaran to the name.
There is a saying in Tamil “Saniyaipol Koduppavanum illai, saniyaipol keduppavanum illai” which translates to “There is none like Saneeswaran who can give a good life or ruin a life”. Actually, even at the worst of times Saneeswaran only delays but never denies. The experience of going through the ezharai sani makes one mentally very strong. He does not test us more than we can handle. He affects a person based on his past deeds. He is supposed to be Just. Interestingly, the two sons of Suryan, judge us and give us the results based on our karma or deeds. Saneeswaran does this during our lifetime and Yama does that after ones death.
According to a Legend, King Nala had not washed his feet properly while doing puja. Saneeswaran who was waiting for such an opportunity for about 12 years, immediately caught hold of him. This has probably prompted the tradition to wash our feet before entering the house. Getting back to the story of King Nala, under the influence of ezharai sani, he lost his kingdom, separated from his wife and children, had health problems and wandered around like a beggar. As per the advice of Bharadwaja muni he worshipped Dharbaranyeswarar at Thirunallar, after a dip in the holy tank here. It was then he was relieved of the effects of Sani. After this, Shiva asked Saneeswaran to be here and bless all his devotees.
Musukunda chakravarthi brought Emarald Linga from Indra and kept in this place as a Last linga among the Seven called as NAGAVIDANGAR. You may seen Muskunda chakravarti or maharishi Mushkundar in Our Mahabharat serial. Kalivan stamping on a rishi mistaking him to be Lord Krishna and that rishi burns Kalivan with his eyes. That Maharishi was once known as Chakravarti Muskundar. He then became a tapasvi and started to worship Lord Shiva and renounced his kingdom.
NASA ON THIRUNALLAR TEMPLE…
It is about an unexplainable scientific observation from NASA (USA) about our Thirunallar temple of Saneeswara ! It is a true, unbelievable observation.
A few years ago US sent a satellite which kept revolving round our globe & whenever it crossed right above the spot of Thirunallaar ( East Coast Divine place of Tamil Nadu) it staggers, moves forward very slowly for a while ! NASA observed it and was puzzled! It is also said that during the SANI- PEYARCHCHI , a most sacred festival of the place, say once in 30 months , a very dense UV rays falls from the Space on the place ( it seems there is always a greater flow of UV rays compared to the quota received by any other part of our earth at that place ; and during the said festival the density gets more and is same till 41 days since the transit day!) No explanations from the Scientists. Just accept it as a miracle . It is not a fiction.
Therefore, not even satellites can escape from Shani dev…
This is all I can make up today. I will post more about Thirunallar temple and also other Shani dev temples in the upcoming days.
My personal request is each one of you must visit this temple at least once in your life time and get relief from all problems.