History of Thirunallar Shaniswaran temple | Fusion - WeRIndia

History of Thirunallar Shaniswaran temple

History of Thirunallar Shaniswaran temple

Thirunallar Saniswaran Temple, located in the Karaikal district of Pondicherry, is a well-known Navagraha Temple dedicated to Lord Shani or Planet Saturn.

This ancient shrine is popularly known as Shani Navagrahasthalam and is visited by devotees seeking relief from the malefic influence of Saturn.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvathi, worshipped as Darbaranyeswarar and Bhogamartha Poonmulai Amman.

The lingam at Thirunallar Saniswaran Temple is believed to have the impression of Dharba grass. It stands as a testimonial fact to the temple’s origins in a forest abundant in grass.

According to legend, the temple is where Lord Saniswaran lost all his powers to Lord Shiva to save his devotee Nalan from Saturn’s curse.

The temple is also home to the sacred Nalan Theertham tank. Devotees believe that taking a holy dip in the tank can wash away the afflictions and misfortunes caused by their past karmas.

Historically, during the 7th century C.E., Jainism was spreading in South India. At that time, the Pandian Kingdom had forsaken their traditional religion of Saivism.

Queen Mangaiyarkarasi and Minister Kulacchirai Nayanar were the only ones who remained Saivites. They wanted to reclaim their King and Kingdom into the fold of their traditional religion.

So, they invited the Saivite saint Tirugnana Sambandar to visit Madurai and perform miracles to free the King and his subjects from the clutches of Jainism.

Despite facing opposition from the Jains, Saint Sambandar used his yogic powers to transfer the fire they set to the King, who suffered from severe burns.

The saint then used his holy ash to relieve the King’s pain. It enraged the Jains. They challenged him to consign both their and Saivism’s Mantras to flames to see which one would survive the trial by fire.

The Jains’ palm leaf was quickly consumed by flames, while Saint Sambandar’s leaf remained untouched and evergreen. The leaf had the forty-ninth Padigam of the Tevaram hymn, sung at the Thirunallar Temple of Lord Darbharanyeswaran.

This event established Saivism as the true religion in the Pandian capital. It also highlighted the Thirunallar Temple’s glory.

Image Credit: Rsmn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image Reference: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thirunallar_Sani_temple.JPG

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