Navagraha Temple Sri Dharbaranyeswarar Temple - Sanieeswaran
Main Deity : Nallarar
Goddess : Bogamartha Poonmulayal
Holy Tree : Darbai
Holy Water : Nala Theertham
This is an ancient Siva Temple probably constructed in seventh century A.D. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, as Saturn is considered to be also graceful to his devotees, the temple is also famous for Sani worship. The Saturn shrine is in the north side of east Gopura side.
Dharbaranyeswarar is the main deity of the temple and Lord Saturn, Sri Pranambigai, Sri Thiyagarajar and Sri Vinayagar are the other deities. The Saneeswara temple of Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Devasthanam attracts devotees not only from India but also from other countries. This temple is unique in its kind and is the only temple dedicated to Lord Sani Bagavan where he is a blessing God having "Abhayahastham".
King Nala was ruling Nidadha having Mavindha as his capital. One day while doing his daily puja, he did not wash his legs perfectly. Saturn immediately caught hold of him after waiting for a chance to hold him for about 12 years. Due to this effect, King Nala lost his kingdom in a game also his sufferings grew large. He left his land along with his queen Damayanthi. In course of his wandering in the jungles, he parted with his queen also. He joined as a cook in the palace of the Kind of Ayodhya. Later on Nala and Damayanthi joined again. Through Sage Naradha, Nala understood that he was under the adverse influence of Saturn and began a pilgrimage to holy places. At Virudhachalam, he met sage Srimadvaja who directed him to Darbaranyeswarar temple in Thirunallar and worship the Sani Baghwan which King Nala meticulously followed and got relieved from the adverse effects of Sani Baghwan and also was blessed by him. He stayed there for some time, dug tanks and built the temple. He also got back his kingdom. As per the history of the temple, the great King Nala of puranic fame was relieved of the affliction of Lord Saturn or Lord Saniswaran is believed to have been relieved of all the curses and sufferings and got the grace of Lord for a happy and prosperous life.
Among the Navagrahas, Lord Saneeswarar occupies an important place. A malfic Saturn in one's horoscope is believed to cause miseries and hardships which can be mitigated by worshipping him. According to astronlogy, Sani Bagavan moves from one sign to the next sign (house) in the Zodiac once in two and halfe years and the day of his transit is observed as a Sani Peyarchi festival in Thirunallar. On the day previous to the day of transit, religious discourses and entertainments are arranged. On the festival day Thevaram songs are chanted. There is also a Golden Crow, the vehicle of Saturn in the shrine.
Nallarar is also known as Darbaranyeswarar and Nallatru Easar. As the swayambu was in the Darba jungles here, scars caused by Darba could be seen even now. The Pachai Pathigam in Thevaram is dedicated to the Lord.
The Thyagarajamurthy in Thirunallar is the second Sapthavidangamurthy. Sapthavidanga Sthalam means the holy place where Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance. The dance in Thirunallar is called Unmatha Natanam. He is the gift awarded to Emperor Mushukunda. Nilothpalambikai is the consort of Thyagaraja in the temple.
The 18 day Brammotsavam beginning on the Uthiratadhi star day in the Tamil month Vaikasi (May-June) is an important festival. On the last day, there will be a programme known as the Lord gracing a darshan to a shepherded. The Poornima festival in the Purattasi (September-October), each friday, Pradosha days are very devotionally observed. The Tamil and English new year days, Karthikai Dheepam, Deepavali, Pongal are the days when special pujas are performed in the temple.
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