We all, at some point in time in life, feel that we need some sort of remedy for bringing our derailed life back on track. We might have wanted to achieve more or have some more desires to make our life happier. These reasons make people throng from all over India visit and perform pooja at the Navagraha Temples located in Tamilnadu, India.
I also took this course, as suggested by my priest for me, as an opportunity to travel across Tamilnadu and know the state more closely. Through this post, I would like to share the experiences that will serve as guidelines for people, particularly those coming from North India.
Navagraha Temples for All
With full dedication in your heart and offerings in your hands, you may get stuck with language problems. Most of the temple names, routes, and guidelines are written in Tamil. If you ask someone in Hindi or English, he may not be able to answer. At this point, Google Map and Google Translate are of extreme help, and you may proceed further. It will further be better if you hire a taxi with a Tamil-speaking driver cum guide.
Navagraha Temple Names
What we have in mind is the temple’s name that we follow to reach that particular temple. The names may sound different than what you have in mind, such as Suryanar Koil for Sun Temple and Vaitheeswaran Koil for Mangal Temple. For some other temples, you can make out the name for your purpose. Some temples are named and associated with their place name like Thinganoor Temple for Chandra Temple. So, be prepared with a list of all possible names attached to that particular temple.
Navagraha Temples Route Map
A tentative idea about the location and distances between any two temples can be had from the following map.
There is no fixed route to follow. But, as you have to cover all the 9 Navagraha Temples and save your time and energy, you have to plan it meticulously. It depends on your starting (also culminating) point and the Temples’ closure time. There are fixed timings for temples to open and close even for daybreak time from 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Utilize this time in travel between two distant temples and for taking your meals.
The Chandran Temple remains open beyond 9 pm, so we visited it at the end, though it was closest to our stay place.
Navagraha Temples Visiting Plan
- If possible, plan your visit to the Navagraha Temples on a full moon day (Pooranmashi).
- Select the months of November to February. After that, the days become hot and humid.
- Take a printed or a self-drawn route plan with you.
- Take the list of temples with all cognate names to assure you are visiting the right temple.
We headed straight to Suryan Temple, from Trichy, and reached there just at the time of sunrise after a two and half-hour-long journey. It was an immense pleasure and satisfying moment for us to pray to Sun God at his temple at the time of sunrise. The same thing happened when we visited the Moon Temple in the full moonlight at the end of our Navagraha Temples’ journey.
If you are staying somewhere near Thanjavur (Tanjore), you can save a lot of time.
After Suriyanar Koil (Sun) Temple, the next temples towards the east direction are Agneeswarar Temple (Shukran) at 3.5 Km, and Vaitheeswarankoil (Mangal) Temple after 34 Km.
Turning towards the south direction, the next Temples to visit are Thiruvenkadu (Budhan) Temple after 16 Km, and Naganathaswamy (Ketu) Temple after 8 Km.
Thereafter you start traveling west and reach Saneeswaran (Shani) Temple after 32 Km, and Alangudi (Guru) Temple after 18 Km.
Again head towards North to reach Thirunageshwaram (Rahu) Temple, and then to Shri Kailasanathar (Chandran) Temple.
Navagraha Temple Gods’ Identity
The 9 Navagrahas can be identified as they face different directions:
- Guru – North
- Surya, Budha & Shukra – East
- Mangal, Rahu & Ketu – South
- Shani & Chandra – West
They can be also be identified with the color of their vastram.
- Surya – Red
- Mangal – Crimson Red
- Budh – Green
- Guru – Yellow
- Chandra and Shukra – White
- Shani – Black
- Rahu – Violet
The 9 Navagraha Temples’ Details
- All the temples have the typical gateway towers of Tamilnadu temples, with a granite wall enclosing the shrines.
- In all the temples, except Surya (Sun) Temple, the presiding deity is Shiva with an exclusive shrine dedicated to the associated God.
- Except Shani (Saneeswaran) Temple, all the other temples are located in Tamil Nadu. Shani Temple is located in Karaikal, Puducherry.
- All The temples have daily rituals at different times of the day from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. All the Navagrahas have their annual festivals too.
- The common worship practices of the devotees include the offering of cloth, grains, flowers, and jewels specific to the planetary deity.
- The temples are maintained and administered by the State/ UT Government.
The 9 Navagraha Temples are detailed below. Each of the Navagraha Temple has its specific powers on our lives.
1. Sun Temple
This Temple is also known as Suryanar Kovil, one of the few historic temples dedicated to the Sun god. It is located to the east of the Kumbakonam district of Tamilnadu. The temple has pooja six times a day with music and all rituals at various time slots from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are two annual festivals also.
This is the only temple where Shiva is not the presiding deity. The central shrine has the image of Surya with his consorts Usha and Chhaya.
This temple has shrines for all the planetary deities and the 9 planet deities are facing the Suryanar shrine and Guru is performing pooja to Shiva;
The Temple is also known as Shukran Temple or Agneeswarar temple in the village of Kanjanur, within the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Sukran is the symbol of prosperity and happiness. Devotees throng this temple throughout the year to worship Lord Sukran. They offer white-colored clothes and white-colored flowers and pray to God to protect them from the planetary transitions.
The Temple is also known as Vaiitheeswaran Temple. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Vaidyanath, and Vaitheeswaran means the “God of healing.” The presiding deity is Sri Vaidyanathan, facing towards the West. This village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Nadi astrology.
The holy waters of the Siddhartham tank within the temple complex contain nectar, and a holy dip is believed to cure-all
4. Budha Temple
The Temple is also known as Budhan Temple and Swetharanyeswarar Temple. Budha (Mercury), the god of merchandise, is the son of Chandra (Moon), having a greenish complexion. This temple has 3 pools and 3 Gods. It is believed that those who take bath in all pools, will be freed from their problems. Budhan is said to bestow wisdom and intellect among the Nine Planets.
5. Ketu Temple
The Temple is also known as Kethu Sthalam or Naganatha Swamy Temple in the village of Keezhaperumpallam, South West of Vaitheeswaran Temple. Ketu is a shadow planet here. The main idol in the temple is that of Naganatha Swamy i.e. Shiva.
6. Shani Temple
The Temple is also known as Saniswarar Temple and is very popular among devotees with Shani Dosha. For E-Puja / Darshan / Donation, the devotees are pre-registered and an activation link is sent to their email address and registered mobile number for verification. the registered mobile number.
7. Rahu Temple
The Temple is also known as Raghu Stalam or Thirunageswaram Naganathar Temple. Thirunageswaram is a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam, a town in Tamil Nadu, India. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Naganathar. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar. The temple rituals, particularly Milk Abhishekam are very popular among devotees to get rid of their Rahu Dosha. There are separate sacred ablutions (Rahu Abhishekam) twice a day at 11:30 a.m and 5:30 p.m. and additionally twice at various times in the day. Each ritual comprises Abhisheka, Alankaran, Nivedhanam, and Deepa Aradhana.
8. Guru Temple
The Temple is also known as Guru Sthalam or Apatsahayesvarar Temple in the village of Alangudi, to the South of Kumbakonam, Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu. Shiva is worshiped as Apathsahyesvarar. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and four-yearly festivals. Brahmotsavam is the most prominent festival celebrated during April/May. Devotees offer cloth, grains, flowers, and jewels specific to the planet deity
Alangudi, the Guru, is located 18 km (11 mi) on the Kumbakonam – Mannargudi road.
The Temple is also known as Chandranar Temple or Thingalur Koil or Kailasanathar temple in the village of Thingalur. The presiding deity is Moon. However, the main idol in the temple is that of Kailasanathar or Shiva. The temple has four daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and four-yearly festivals on its calendar. The Temple houses the image of the Moon (called Thingal locally).
The temple rituals are performed six times a day. The last ritual is at 10:00 p.m.
The 9 Navagraha Temples Legend
- As per the legend, Sage Kalava was suffering from serious ailments along with leprosy. He prayed to the Navagrahas, the nine planet deities.
- The planets were pleased by his devotion and offered a cure to the sage.
- Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, was angered as he felt that the planets have no powers to provide boons to humans.
- He cursed the nine planets to suffer from leprosy, and they were sent down to earth in Vellurukku Vanam, the white wildflower jungle of the modern Surya Temple.
- The planets prayed to Shiva to relieve them of the curse.
- Shiva appeared to them and said that the place belonged to the Navagrahas
- They have to grace the devotees who worship them from their place.
And this continues to date.
Tamilnadu is famous for its ancient temples. There are many more temples famous for one or the other reason, but what I felt is that they all have a specific serenity and calmness. As soon as you enter a temple you feel greatness surrounding you. The temples are neat and clean and well maintained. Everybody, religious or non-religious, should include these Navagraha Temples in his travel plan.
I felt fully charged, even after a full day’s journey and hectic activities, now it is your turn.
Happy Religious Traveling