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Thirunallar history

In the Thanjavur District studded with scores of temples the exists in Tirunallar near Karaikal, the former French territory, the ancient temple of Darbharanyeswara. This temple was visited by the Saint Tirugnana Sambandar in the 7th century A.D. who sang padigams (decadal verses) in praise of the Lord. Likewise, his contemporary Saint Tirnnavukkarasu and later, Saint Sundarar (9th century A.D.) had visited the temple and sung padigams extolling the Lord. Saint Arunagirinathar (15th century A.D.) had also visited it and sung hymns included in his monumental work Tiruppugazh.

It is unique glory of the Tirunallar temple that it possesses the Pacchai Padigam which occupies a pride of place in the history of the Hindu Saivite Tamil hymnal literature. This padigam extols the virtues of the Lord and begins with the opening line Bhogamartha Poon Mulayal a pecan to the consort of Lord Darbharanyeswara. And it is said to have stood and ordeal of fire and the event
It took place in the 7th century A.D, in Madurai, the capital of the Pandya Kingdom, during the reign of the celebrated Koon Pandya, also called Ninraseernedumaran. It was the time when the Jains had spread their influence and far and wide, In the Pandya Kingdom. The king had become a convert to Jainism and actively promoted its growth in his kingdom. Long all but his queen Mangaiyarkarasi and his minister Kulacchirai Nayanar - both stunch Saivaits - had embraced Jainism, forsaking the old religion.This caused immense agony to the queen and the minister who were anxious to reclaim the king and the kingdom back to the traditional religion.

1. Pacchai - the ever gree; Padigam - decadal verse. 2. (Devi) with shapaly breasts adorned with jewels so pleasing to the Lord. 3. Histrians idendify Koon Pandya (the hunch-backed Pandya) with Arikesari Parankusa Maravarman.

To these two grief stricken individuals came the good tidings of the camping of boy saint Tirugnana Sambandar at Vedaranyam. Having heard of the miracles performed by the Saivait saint young Sambandar in the Thanjavur district, they sent an urgent invitation to him to visit Madurai and extricate the king and his subjects from the clutches of the Jains. It would appear that while the queen's messengers found a ready response in the boy saint it was not easy where his "admirer and companion saint" Appar was concerned. In the words of Sekkizhar and thus spoke Appar, the king of Divine speech. Thouat but a stripling. There is no end to the deceits and treacheries of the Jains. There is one further objection. The planets stand baleful. So you shold not agree to go. Unto which the high-souled Sambandar repiled . "If what I think and praise constantly are the tinkling feer of our Lord, no harm will touch me". So saying the cheif of the Puhali town, Sambandar ever bound unto the rosy fragrant feet of God. Sang the PADIGAM begining with the Lord of Uma with bamboo - like shapely shoulders". The saint then be took himself to Madurai.

The arrival of the Saivate Saint roused the suspicion of the Jains who resorted to the heinous act of setting fire to his holy dwelling. But by his yogic powers, Sambandar had the heat transferred to the king which burut his person inexorably Lo! the king was wriggling like a warm unable to stand the pain, which the scorching heat that had taken hold of his person produced. Then the youthful saint sang the padigam 'Mandiramavadu Neeru' (the saered ash is the mandra etc.,) and sprinkled a few grains of the ash on the right side of the king's body. The Jains in their turn chanting the Aruga Mantra (Jain Mantra) stroked the left side of the King's person with peacock feathers, but it only aggravated the pain! Entreated by the king and his ministers, Sambandar applied a few more grains of the sacred ash on to his left side also. It was a wonder of wonders that the poor pandya monarch who a little while ago was the very picture of suffering, misery and distress was now smiling gaily and appeared wholly freed from the burning malady. Lo! the King was rid of his hump too! And at this moment, it may be said that the triumph of Saivism over Jainism was more than established in the Pandya capital and the unwanted religion just faded out ignominiously.

But the Jains were not as yet wiser by their abject defeat1. They arrogantly threw the challenge that both religionsts should write down their respective Mantras on a palm leaf and consign it to the flames and the one that survived the ordeal of the established its superiority over the other.

The King must have been impressed by the miraculous performance of Gnana Sambandar's treatment just with a pinch of sacred ash and he might also have been possibly distreesed at the collapse of the religion to which he was a votary, namely Jainism. It was at this juncture that the Jains threw the aforesaid challenge as they were convinced that the king was in two minds in the approach to the two respective religions. The Saint also wanted to convince him of the superiority of Saivism over the other. And so, he accepted the challenge and the Jains first threw their Mantra into the fire which became forthwith a prey to the flames! Sambandar them caused his Tirumurai to be brought there and pulled one leaf from the bundle and his leaf contained a verse of the forty - ninth Padigam of Tevaram entitled "Bhogamartha Poon Mulayal" which was sung carlier by the saint in the Darbaranyeswara shrine at Tirunallar. He consigned it to the flames. But his palm bearing leaf was not scorched by the fire. It maintained its evergreen freshness! Unconsumed by the fierce flames of the fire it remained absolutely unscatched and this miracle established. The glory of saivism which to this day is as Green as it was before it was subjected to the fire ordeal! Hence the appellation "Pacchai Padigam" was being applied to it.

Bhogamartha Poon Mulayal is also called by the name of Praneswari as she gave life (Prana) or rebirth to Saivism.

Click on image for enlarged version
Sani Bhagavan waiting to aspect Nala, noticed that he had not washed the back portion of his feet, while preparing for his prayers. Deciding this was the opportune time, he aspected Nala. Because of this, Nala lost his composure and lost his kingdom to Pudkaran in a game of dice and sent his children to their uncle's house. Nala departed to the forest with his wife Damayanti. Saneeswaran created trouble even there and made Nala desert his wife in the forest. The snake Karkotagan bit Nala, making him lose his stature (was made to look ugly). He took on the job of a charioteer with king Irudhupannan. Damayanti, in the meantime reached the kingdom of her father, and arranged a Swayamvara to locate Nala. Damyanti identified Nala, the charioteer as her husband. Thanks to a boon from Karkodagan, Nala regained his old form. In spite of being back with his wife, Nala feeling very disturbed, sought the solace of sage Bharadwaja and on his advice reached Thirunallar. He bathed in the Brahma Thirtham of the temple, and when he entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, Saneeswaran departed from him.

Saneeswaran resides in each Rasi for a period of 2 1/2 years. When Saneeswaran resides in the 12th, 1st and 2nd house, it is 7 1/2 Naatu Sani ; when in the 4th house, it is Arthashtama Sani; when in the 8th house, it is Ashtama Sani. During these periods, he troubles the native.

Problems from Govt., peers, wife, children, slowdown in business, loss of property, leprosy are caused by transit of Sani.

In a person's life, 7 1/2 Naatu Sani aspects thrice, the first called Mangu Sani, the second called Pongu Sani and the third called Marana Sani.

Saneeswaran is reputed to be both, a giver and destroyer. A person who prays to Saneeswaran will be blessed with not only riddance from the problems and worries faced, but a life that one desires.

The sthalam of Sani Bhagavan is Thirunallaru, which is located 3kms from Karaikal, enroute to Peralam. His wives are Neela Devi and Manga Devi. The presiding deities are Dharbaranyeswarar (Swaymbumurti) and his consort Bogamartha Poon Mulayal. He is the Lord of Maharam and Kumba Rasis and faces the West direction. The Adi Devatha is Yaman and the Prathyathi Devatha is Prajapathi. His colour is black; his vahana the crow; the grain associated with him is gingelley; the flower - vanni and black kuvalai; fabric - black cloth; gem - neelam (blue saphire); food - rice mixed with gingelley powder.

Route guide: From chennai to Thirunallar by road
Writen by : Prasannakumar , Date :Monday - 16 January 2012 Report / Delete

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