Navagraha Temple Sri Swetharanyeswarar Temple - Budhan
Main Deity : Swetaranyeswarar
Goddess : Bhrama Vidya Nayaki
Holy Tree : Alamaram
Holy Water : Surya Theertham
There are several shrines of significance in this well visited temple, including those to Durga and Kali. The image of Natarajar here is of great beauty. Worship to Shiva's fiery form Veerabhadrar is said to be of significance on Sunday nights. Special worship services are offered to Natarajar and the associated Spatika Lingam, as in Chidambaram. As found in Chidambaram, there is also a shrine for Lord Vishnu near the shrine for Natarajar. The Aalamaram here is referred to as Akshayavadam (infinite one, indestructible banyan tree).
The Soma Theertham and The Surya Theertham created by the Sun and the Moon are of great significance here. It is believed that the Soma Kundam and Surya Kundam referred to in Silappathihaaram refer to these tanks. Vilvam and Konrai are the other Sthala vrikshams here. The goddess here has a separate temple to herself, and is known as Brahma Vidayambigai, the goddess of knowledge. Just outside her sanctum is the shrine to Budhan or Angarakan, the graham known to preside over knowledge. This temple Siva also known Venkatar, and his consert known as Veiyanaiya thol Umai, Panmoitha inmozhiyaal, Brahma Vidya Nayagi.
There are a number of legends connected to this temple. The foremost beign the story of the Sage Swetha Kethu is said to have been saved from the clutches of death by the grace of Shiva here, in a legend similar to that of Markandeya at Tirukkadavur. Ancient time Acchuthagapanar who did not have a child, came to this temple and had a holy bath in the three tanks at this temple and worshipped Thiruvengadar and got a wise child who came to be known as Meikandar the author of Sivagnanabodham. It is also believed that Shiva took the fierce Aghoramurthy form, to vanquish the demon Maruthuvan, to whom he had given his Soolam - which he had misused.
Inscriptions from the time of Aditya Chola I (870-907), Raja Raja I (10th - 11th cent) & his descendants speaking of endowments made by the Chola rulers to this temple are found here. Vikrama Cholan built the Vikramacholan Tirumandapam (1118-1135). The present structures of the temple as well as the beautiful bronze images in this temple are a contribution of the Great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I. Some of these bronzes were recovered in treasure troves unearthed here. The Ardhanareeswarar and Chandeswarar bronzes are now housed in the Chennai Museum. Natarajar, Somaskandar, Devi, Bhoga Sakthi are housed in the temple, while images of Subramanyar, Rishabhavahanadevar, Bhikshatanar, Kalyanasundarar, Kannappar and others are housed in the Thanjavur Art Gallery.
Appar, Sambandhar, Sunarar were sung hymns in awe in this temple. Indiran, Airavatam, Budhan, Sun God Sooriyan and Moon God Chandiran are said to have worshipped God Shiva here.
This temple is also known as Aadi Chidambaram, Natarajar's dance here is known as Hasti Natanam. This Shivasthalam is one of the 6 most sacred places on the banks of river Cauvery which is par with the temple at Varanasi. The other 5 shivasthalams are Tiruvaiyaru, Chaayaavanam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvidaimarudur and Tiruvanchiam.
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