Suriyanarkoil (Suriyan) – Sri Suriyanar temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Suriyanar temple

Period of origin

Before 1500 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Siva Suriyan

Ambal: Ushadevi, Chayadevi

Sthala Theertham: Suriya theertham

Sthala Virksham: Vellerukku

Sthalapuranam:

Sage Kalava Muni was suffering from severe leprosy.  He worshipped all the planets begging total cure.  All the planets graced the Rishi with what he wanted – the cure from leprosy.  Lord Brahmma strongly objected to the response of the planets to Rishis penance on the ground that in accordance with the orders of Lord Shiva, the planets were to give the effects of good and evil deeds of the individuals and that that the planets had violated this rule by directly giving boons to a devotee and cursed them to suffer from leprosy themselves.   The planets came down to a white wild flower jungle (Vellerukku vanam) and performed penance on Lord Shiva for relief.  Lord appeaed before them and said that the place belonged to them and allowed them to grace the devotees worshipping them enduring a variety of hardships.

It is noteworthy that there are only two temples in India dedicated to Sun God, one at Konark in North and this in South.  There is no idol worship in Konark while this temple follows idol worship.  Lord Sun graces from the sanctum sanctorum facing west with Mother Ushadevi on the left and Pradyushadevi (also known as Chayadevi) on the right in wedding form.  He is holding lotus in both hands with a smiling face. As Sun is noted for His scorching heat, to cool down the effect, planet Guru (Jupiter) is just opposite the shrine, facilitating His worship under a bearable temperature. Sun’s Horse vehicle is also before Him, as Nandhi is before Lord Shiva.

This is a temple dedicated for the nine planets – Navagrahas.  The devotee can worship all the planets as presiding deities.  In other temples, the planets are but sub-deities only.  The speciality is Sun God graces with His consorts in wedding form.  He is not furious but calm and gracing.   Every planet has its own shrine and is only graceful in nature offering solace to the devotee.  There is no vehicle for any planet.

Devotees perform a ritual called Nadi Pariharam, Navagraha Homas and Surya Archana. They also perform with sugar pudding (Sarkarai pongal) which is considered very important here. They do abishek and archana to the planets as prescribed. They also offer wheat, jaggery and their farm yields equal to their weight – a ritual called Tulabaram. Those seeking child boon offer cradles. The Prasad is distributed among the visitors. Feeding also is followed besides usual abishek etc.

Sun occupies the first place among the nine planets, so His temple.  Devotees throng the temple to submit their prayers to the planets to protect them from their adverse aspects in their lives.  Those undergoing the seven and half years Saturn period, his position in the 8th and birth Rasi houses according to their hoscopes and those facing such aspects by other planets come to the temple seeking relief.  They stay in the temple for 12 Sundays called Thala Vasam covering about two and half months from the morning of first Sunday. The period covers about 78 days.   They bathe in the sacred springs known as Nava theerthas, observe fasting and worship Lord Tirumangalakudi Prananatha and Mother Mangala Nayaki and other deities in the place.  They do remedial pujas according to their problems for removal of the doshas-adverse aspects.  Those undergoing Sun main and sub-periods worship on Sundays.  They also succeed in their efforts.

It may be recalled that the Sun Temple in Uchikizhan Kottam in Poompuhar during the Sangam Age was destroyed by a massive tsunami.  Yet the Sun Temple in Suriyanarkoil in Thanjavur district had survived the test of times and stands majestically with the reputation of its antiquity and scriptural glory.  This is a temple for the Navagrahas the nine planets.  Huge numbers of devotees visit to worship the deities for relief from the adverse aspects of planets concerning their lives.

10 day Ratha Sapthami in Thain month (January-February) is a very important festival in the temple. This marks the ‘U’ turn of Lord Sun’s Rath-Car from South to North beginning the six months called Utharayanam from Thai to Aani month – June-July. Seasons are calculated by the movements of Sun God. On the first day of each Tamil month special pujas and abisheks are performed to Lord Suriya-Sun who heads the Zodiac family. This is called Maha Abhishek drawing huge number of devotees. Also Saturn (Sani) and Jupiter (Guru) transition days are celebrated with special pujas.

Route:

Two kilometers north of Aaduthurai lies Suryanayanar Koil. It is situated on the road between Kumbakonam and Kadhiramangalam and 15 km to the east of Kumbakonam.

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. 8.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91- 435- 2472349

Temple Address:

Sri Suriyanar Temple,

Suriyanarkoil,

Thanjavur.

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