- May 21, 2021
🛕 Agniswarar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Kanjanur near Aduthurai Town in Thiruvidaimarudur Taluk in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Agneeswarar and Mother is called as Karpagambikai. The Temple is considered as one of the nine Navagraha (nine planets) temples of Tamil Nadu associated with the planet Venus (Shukra). The Temple is considered as part of Saptha Sthana Temples of Kanjanur.
🛕 This Temple is considered as one of the shrines of the 276 Paadal Petra Sthalams (Shiva Sthalams) glorified in the early medieval Thevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanar Appar. This Temple is considered as the 90th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 36th Sthalam on the north side of river Kaveri in Chozha Nadu. Saint Arunagirinathar has sang songs in praise of Lord Murugan of this temple in his revered Thirupugazh.
🛕 The Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Bali, a benevolent Asura King. Bali was the grandson of Prahlada, the son of Virochana. King Bali was generous and engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. With the praise from his courtiers and others, he regarded himself as the all-powerful in the world. Vamana, in the guise of a dwarf Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request three steps of land.
🛕 Asura Guru Sukracharya had doubts about the dwarf brahmin. When Mahabali ignored his advice, he took the form of a bee and hid in the mouth of the Kamandala from which Mahabali would pour water to donate the three steps of land. When water did not flow from the Kamandala, Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana Avatara pricked Sukracharya with a Darbha grass to which he lost an eye and water came out giving Bali consent to Vamana.
🛕 Vamana then revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. King Bali, unable to fulfill his promise, offered his head for the third. Vamana then placed his foot and gave the king immortality for his humility. Sukracharya, however was angry with Lord Vishnu, and cursed him. It is believed that Lord Vishnu prayed to Lord Shiva at Kanjanur, where he was relieved of the curse.
🛕 Lord Shiva not only blessed Vishnu here, he promised to remain and bless those who came with prayers to Shukran his favour. There is no idol or image of Shukran at Kanjanur. It is Lord Shiva himself who takes the position of Shukran here. Kanjanur is the temple for performing Kalathira Dosha Pariharam for Lord Sukran. Lord Shukran is offered white Lotus, white cloth, Mochai Kottai (common bean) and Athi (fig) to alleviate problems caused by Sukra dosham. Friday is the day of Shukran and worship on Fridays is considered very special.
🛕 Haradatta was born in a staunch Vaishnava family in Kanjanur. He was named as Sudarsana during his birth. Although, he was born in a Vaishnava family, he became a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. His father, Vasudeva and the villagers were not happy with Sudarsana devotion to Lord Shiva. Sudarsana used to visit Kanjanur Agneeswarar temple daily despite the fierce opposition. The villagers tried to convince him of the superiority of Vaishnavism. Nothing moved Haradatta from his devotion to Lord Shiva.
🛕 His father advised him to utter Narayana Nama and ordered to worship Lord Vishnu in Varadaraja Perumal Temple. But, Sudarsana went to Kanjanur Agneeswarar temple against his father wish. His father banished him from his house. Sudarsana went to Agneeswarar temple and slept there. Lord Shiva appeared as Dakshinamoorthy before Sudarsana and initiated teachings of Shaivism. He also named him as Haradatta Sivachariyar.
🛕 After obtaining the knowledge, Haradatta took purificatory bath in Cauvery in the morning and went to his house. He wore Viboothi and Rudraksha and stated Lord Shiva is everything by Vedas and Shastras. Haradatta invited his father Vasudeva and villagers for a debate. They didn’t accept his debate and decided to kill him. So, they asked him to prove it, by standing in a heated iron tripod in Varadaraja Perumal Temple.
🛕 Haradatta accepted their challenge, stood on the heated iron tripod and proclaimed that Lord Shiva is the supreme deity and the life force behind everything on this earth. Lord Agneeswarar along with his consort Karpagambal appeared before Haradatta and blessed him. The villagers were so captivated by his devotion, even few of the villagers got converted to Shaivism. He attained Mukthi on a Panchami day in Thai month.
🛕 Manakanchara Nayanar was a Nayanar saint, venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism. He is generally counted as the twelfth in the list of 63 Nayanars. Manakanchara Nayanar is dated to the 8th century and was a contemporary of Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, a Nayanar saint and his son-in-law as well as Sundarar. He is described to have cut his daughter’s hair and given it to Lord Shiva disguised as a Shaiva ascetic, on her wedding day. Sundarar venerates Manakanchara Nayanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints.
🛕 The life of Manakanchara Nayanar is described in the Periya Puranam by Sekkizhar (12th century), which is a hagiography of the 63 Nayanars. Manakanchara Nayanar was born in Kanjanur, a fertile place in the Chola Kingdom. He was a Vellalar, a caste of agricultural land owners. He was a great devotee of Shiva, the patron god of Shaivism. He was the commander-in-chief of the Chola army. Manakanchara became a powerful and wealthy commander. He served devotees of Lord Shiva and generously donated gifts to them. However, Manakanchara did not have a child. He prayed to Lord Shiva for a child and was blessed with a daughter.
🛕 He distributed many gifts to devotees, while celebrating the birth of his daughter with great pomp. The daughter is called Punniya Vardhini. She was instilled with values of devotion to Lord Shiva by her father from childhood. She grew up to become a beautiful maiden, with long and beautiful locks of hair. The family elders arranged her marriage to Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, who was a Vellalar commander-in-chief of the Chola kingdom. The prospective groom also shared the devotion and love for Lord Shiva with Manakanchara Nayanar.
🛕 It was said that Manakanchara Nayanar had gained two boons from Shiva: a pious daughter as well as a devout and illustrious son-in-law. On day of the wedding (in some versions, a day prior to the wedding), while the bridegroom was on the way to the marriage venue at Manakanchara Nayanar’s house, Lord Shiva disguised himself as a Mahavrata Shaiva yogi (an ascetic who has kept a great vow), with sacred ash smeared over his body, matted hair and wearing garlands of bones and skulls and a Yagnopavita (sacred thread worn across the chest) made of human hair called a Panchavati.
🛕 Manakanchara Nayanar welcomed and honoured the ascetic. The ascetic enquired about the festivities and in response, Manakanchara Nayanar informed him of his daughter’s wedding. When she arrived and sought the blessings of the ascetic, he commented that her long hair would have been ideal for making his Panchavati. Without giving it a second thought, taking the statement as a command by the yogi, Manakanchara Nayanar chopped off the hair of his daughter and gifted them to the ascetic, in an act of supreme devotion to Lord Shiva’s devotees.
🛕 Cutting of the hair of a young maiden (especially of a bride) is considered inauspicious and thus a taboo. The daughter of Manakanchara Nayanar had lost her hair, the reason of her beauty, and faced the risk of rejection by the bridegroom. The ascetic disappeared immediately, as soon as he accepted the hair. Lord Shiva along with his consort Parvati gave a divine vision to the family of Manakanchara Nayanar, pleased with their service. The divine couple blessed the family and disappeared.
🛕 The bride’s beautiful hair were also restored. Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar and his wedding party arrived at the place and got to know what had happened. Kalikkama regretted that he missed an opportunity to see his patron god Shiva. He felt that if he had married the bride when Shiva asked for the hair, he would have had the honour of gifting Shiva. Manakanchara Nayanar is worshipped in the Tamil month of Margazhi, when the moon enters the Swati nakshatra (lunar mansion). He is depicted with folded hands. He receives collective worship as part of the 63 Nayanars.
🛕 Once, an elder brahmin named Devasambu lived in this village. He carried heap of straw bundled together to his cow. Unfortunately, the bundle fell over the calf and it died. He uttered Shivayanama and felt very bad for killing the calf. So, he asked for relief to the priests to get rid of Gohathi Dosha. They advised him to take purificatory bath in Ganges River. He was very poor to undertake the Kasi Yatra. Hence, he asked for solution to Haradatta. He stated that it was not a sin as you did it unfortunately and when you had shouted as Shivashiva, you had got rid from it.
🛕 The calf also would have attained salvation as it had heard Shivashiva while being dead. But, the priests did not accept his explanation. Haradatta asked the Brahmin to take bath in Cauvery and feed a handful of grass to the stone Nandi. He said that if the stone Nandi could eat the grass, the Dosha goes away. Devasambu did as he said and astonishingly, Nandikeswara ate Grass. Hence, Nandi at this temple came to be called as Pullunda Nandhi. He also showed the world the importance of the 5 letters (Shivayanama).
🛕 Gangadhara was the son of Hardatta’s sister. His leg is abnormal from his birth and he had a wish in visiting the Ganges River. Haradatta came to know about his wish and so he asked him to get dipped in Cauvery. Gangadhara did as per Haradatta instruction and surprisingly, he arose in Ganga. He felt very happy and worshipped Vishwanatha and Visalakshi. After few days, Gangadhara decided to return to his hometown, but he feared as he did not know the way. Gangadhara asked his way back to his town to a sage named Suryaprakasamoorthy in Kasi.
🛕 The sage preached him about Panchakshra and asked him to dip in Ganga and will arise in Cauvery. He did as per his instruction and returned to his home town. After reaching Kanjanur, he worshipped Agneeswarar as per the advice of Haradatta. He excavated a pond on the southwestern side of the temple and named it as Manikarnika. He also built a temple for Vishwanathar and Visalakshi with Parivara deities Vinayagar and Subramanya. Further, he built a shrine for Suryaprakasamoorthy, who preached Panchakshra to him. He attained Mukthi on a day of Akshaya Tritiya.
🛕 It is believed that Haradatta used to visit seven Shiva temples (Kanjanur, Thirukkodikka, Thiruvalangadu, Thiruvavaduthurai, Then Kurangaduthurai, Thirumangalakkudi and Thirumandurai) every day before taking his dinner. One day, when he left Kurangaduthurai temple, there was heavy rain and in the darkness, he was unable to find his way back to the village. It is believed that Lord Shiva came in the guise of a brahmin and took him home.
🛕 As per legend, a wealthy Shiva devotee used to offer food to Lord Agneeswarar every day. It is believed that every day, Lord Shiva would appear in his dream and consumed the food that was offered. However, one day, Lord Shiva did not appear in his dream. He tried his best to find out the reason and finally he came to know that Lord Shiva, in the form of an aged brahmin, had gone to the house of Haradatta instead. On learning about Haradatta and his accomplishments, the devotee visited him and offered his respect. Sculptures depicting this incident can be seen in the temple.
🛕 Once, a farmer, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, lived in this village. It is believed that he used to offer vegetables to Lord Shiva and then feed devotees. One day, he was left with only one piece of Suraikkai (a green vegetable). He thought that this vegetable was not suitable enough to be offered to Lord Shiva and the devotees. He decided to extract the seeds from it and plant them. It is believed that Lord Shiva visited his house in the guise of a devotee and asked for food.
🛕 The farmer was in dilemma as he did not have anything except Suraikkai. At this point, it is believed that the lord’s divine voice was heard saying that “Oru pathi vidhaikku, oru pathi karikku” (keep one half for seed and the other half for me). The farmer immediately cooked and offered it to the guest. Lord Shiva appeared before him and blessed him. Henceforth, the farmer came to be known as Suraikkai Bhakthar.
🛕 In earlier days, people have the habit of adding Sheekaikai with porridge. Haradatta took that Sheekaikai mixed with porridge to take purificatory bath in Cauvery. Agneeswarar appeared as an old Shiva devotee and informed Haradatta about his hunger. Haradatta gave the porridge to Shiva devotee. Haradatta returned to his home, after taking purificatory bath and he felt very bad for giving the porridge with Sheekaikai without remembering.
🛕 Haradatta prayed to Lord Shiva for the well being of the old Shiva devotee. Shivalingabupathi, a local chieftain, used to offer Nivedhanas and Annadhanam in Shiva poojas. Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of Shivalingabupathi and said that his Nivedhanas and Annadhanam would not be equal to Haradatta porridge. He was astonished and became the disciple of Haradatta.
🛕 It is believed that Lord Sukra learnt Amrita Sanjeevini Mantra from Lord Shiva. This mantra helps in bringing back the dead to life. Shukra used this mantra to bring back the Asuras, who were killed in the fight with Devas. The frustrated Devas complained to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was not happy with his disciple as he had misused the mantra.
🛕 Lord Shiva swallowed Sukra. Lord Sukra was an ardent devotee of Karpagambal. Lord Sukra prayed to Mother from the stomach of Lord Shiva. Mother pleaded to Lord Shiva to release Sukra and Lord Shiva obliged her. Since Sukra was inside Lord Shiva, the Lingam in this temple and Sukra are inseparable and hence there is no separate shrine for Shukra in this temple.
🛕 Sage Sounaga performed Sathra Yagna at the bank of Ganges River. Sounakathi Saints, Sage Soothama and other sages gathered and praised Sage Sounaga that he is the one who is able to make the earth get rid of all the sins and they also declared that this place become very sacred after the Yagna. Sage Soothama immediately said to them that there is a better place called Kanjanur near Cauvery River which removes all the sins. River Cauvery flows here as Uthira Vahini. The Yagna performed in this temple is equal to the thousand Sathra Yagna.
🛕 Once, an elder woman named Karpaga Nachiyar lived in this village. She had the habit of doing Modaka to Vinayagar daily. But on the day of Thai Panchami, the day when Haradatta reached Kailasha, the Modaka took late to get finished. She prayed Vinayagar with repentance. Lord Vinayaga took the old lady with his trunk and kept her in Kailasha. Hence, Vinayaga came to be called as Karpaga Vinayagar.
🛕 Sukracharya, the Asura Guru, cursed the Devas to lose their powers as they cheated Asuras deceptively by denying the Amrita (divine nectar). Vyasa, the son of Sage Parasara, who had undertaken penance at Kanjanur, brought the Devas to Sukran to redeem from the curse. Shukra advised them to worship Lord Shiva at Kanjanur to get relief from their curse. They did as per Shukra instruction and were liberated from the curse on Vaikasi Visakam.
🛕 It is believed that Kamsan, the king of Madura Puri and the son of King Ukrasenan, was suffering from some ailments. Sage Sukracharya advised him to visit this temple and worship Lord Shiva. Kamsan came here, worshiped Lord Shiva and was cured of his ailments. Hence, this place came to be called as Kamsapuram. He also introduced the Brahmotsavam which is now celebrated in a grand way over a 16 days period in Maasi with great involvement from the villagers.
🛕 Sage Parasarar was suffering from mental illness and got relief by worshipping Lord Shiva in this temple. It is also believed that Lord Shiva performed his cosmic dance, Mukthi Thandava, to Sage Parasarar in this Temple. Hence, Nataraja of this temple came to be called as Mukthi Thandava Murthy.
🛕 This place is called as Punnagavanam in Kritha Yugam, Kathalivanam in Thretha Yugam, Vilvavanam in Dvapara Yugam and Palasaavanam in Kaliyugam.
🛕 It is believed Lord Sukran, a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, visited this place and worshiped him. Lord Sukran is also known as Parkkavan, Sukracharya and Kanjan. As Kanjan (Sukran) worshipped Lord Shiva here, this place came to be called as Kanjanur.
🛕 It is believed that Lord Agni worshipped Lord Shiva here on the advice of Sage Vyasa and was cured of his ailments. Hence, Lord Shiva came to be called as Agneeswarar.
🛕 Lord Brahma got a Vision of Divine Marriage of Lord Shiva & Parvathy
🛕 Lord Brahma is said to have been blessed with a vision of divine marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvathy here.
🛕 Chitra Sena and Indra got Relief from their Sins
🛕 Chitra Sena and Indra had been relieved from all their sins by worshipping Lord Shiva here.
🛕 It is said that the hunter Kalakanda attained salvation by worshipping Lord Shiva here.
🛕 As the place was full of Palasa or Flame of the forest flower or Purasu in Tamil, the place came to be called as Palasaavanam.
🛕 Kalikkama Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, wedding took place in this place.
🛕 It is believed that Lord Chandran got relieved from his curses by worshipping Lord Shiva of this Temple.
🛕 This shrine is also referred to as Palasaavanam, Brahmapuri and Agni Sthalam.
🛕 This Temple had been mentioned in Pavishyothra Purana and Shiva Rahasyam. It is said that Appar visited Kanjanur on his way to Thirukkodikka from Edirkolpaadi. Kanjanur was called as Palasaavanam, Parasarapuram, Brahmapuri, Agnipuram, Kamsapuram and Mukthi Kshetram. The temple was built in granite by the medieval Cholas and extensively renovated by the Vijayanagara Kings, Thuraiyur Veera Marthanda Kings and Nayaka Kings.
🛕 There are inscriptions available in this temple which relate to the period of dating to Vikrama Chola, Kulothunga Chola, Veera Rajendra Chola and the Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara Empire. The last consecration ceremony was held in 31.08.2006. This temple is under the administrative control of Madurai Thirugnana Sambanthar Swamigal Aadheenam.
🛕 This Temple is facing towards east with five tiered Rajagopuram and has two prakarams. The Raja Gopuram is facing south towards the River Cauvery. Kodimara Vinayagar, Dhwaja Sthambam, Balipeedam and Nandi can be found facing the sanctum. Dhwaja Sthambam is located inside the Mandapam. There is another two-tiered Gopuram at the entrance of the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Artha Mandapam follows Vovval Nethi style architecture.
🛕 The Sanctum Sanctorum consists of Sanctum, Antrala and Artha Mandapam. Presiding Deity is called as Agneeswarar and is facing east. Lord is a Swayambumurthi. A special feature of the Linga of Agniswarar is that it absorbs all the oil poured on it during the process of Abishekam. Narthana Vinayaka, Brahma, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhava and Durga are the Koshta Idols located around the sanctum walls.
🛕 Chandikeswarar can be found in his usual location. Normally, Lord Dakshinamurthy (Guru) is always seen with a demon Muyalagan being crushed under his feet or tortoise or four rishis. But here, an idol of Haradatta sitting at his feet along with Muyalagan can be seen. It is a unique feature in this temple. There is no separate shrine for Lord Sukra as Lord Shiva himself is believed to have incarnated as Venus here.
🛕 Mother is called as Karpagambikai. She is housed in a separate east facing shrine. Her Shrine is situated on the right side of sanctum. The idol of Goddess Aadhi Karpagambikai can be found near Mother shrine. Nataraja Sabha in this Temple is called as Mukthi Mandapam. It houses stone idols of Nataraja and his consort Shivagami. The Shiva Thandavam here is called as Mukthi Thandavam.
🛕 There are shrines and idols of Karpaga Vinayaka, Mayura Subrahmanya, Nalvar, Surya, Kalikkama Nayanar, Manakanchara Nayanar, Vishwanathar, Mahalakshmi, Anjaneya, Chandra, Saneeswarar, Navagrahas and Bhairava can be seen in the temple premises. Idols of Haradatta and Suraikkai Bhakthar with his wife can be seen in the prakaram. Idols and sculptures depicting legends related to Haradatta Sivachariyar can be seen in the temple premises.
🛕 The idol of the stone Nandhi called as Pullunda Nandhi can be seen in the prakaram. It is believed that Nandi is said to have taken the grass from Haradatta. There is a Linga called Kamsa Lingam, said to have been installed by Kamsa, uncle of Lord Krishna, in the outer prakaram. There is a shrine for Mathisoodumperuman along with his consort Umadevi to the south of the sanctum.
🛕 Theerthams associated with this Temple are Agni Theertham, Brahma Theertham (Cauvery River), Manikarnika Theertham, Chandra Theertham, Anjaneya Theertham and Parasara Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Purasu / Palasa tree. The vilva tree in this temple is unique as it comes in bunches of five leaves instead of the usual three leaves. There is a shrine for Haradatta below the banyan tree at the entrance of the town. He is seen offering Pooja to Lord Shiva in this shrine.
🛕 The Temple remains open from 07.30 AM to 12.00 Noon and 04.30 PM to 08.30 PM.
Kalasanthi (08.00 am)
Uchikalam (12.30 pm)
Sayarakshai (05.30 pm)
Irandamkalam (07.30 pm)
Arthajamam (09.00 pm)
🛕 Aadi Pooram (Jul-Aug), Masi Magam (Feb-Mar), Masi Maha Shivrathri (Feb-Mar), Haradatta festival (Jan-Feb), Navaratri (Sept-Oct) and Thiruvadhirai (Dec-Jan) are the festivals celebrated here. Monthly pradoshams is observed regularly.
🛕 Devotees worship Lord Shiva here to get relief from mental disorder, anemia and to become rich. This is a famous Parihara Sthalam for those suffering from the adverse effects of planet Sukran.
🛕 The Temple is located at about 750 meters from Kanjanur Bus Stop, 5 Kms from Aduthurai Bus Stand, 6 Kms from Aduthurai Railway Station, 6 Kms from Aduthurai, 17 Kms from Kumbakonam, 18 Kms from Kumbakonam Railway Station, 22 Kms from Mayiladuthurai, 56 Kms from Thanjavur and 110 Kms from Trichy Airport. Kanjanur is situated on Mayiladuthurai to Kallanai Route. Mini buses ply every 15 minutes from Aduthurai. There are also buses from Mayiladuthurai via Thiru Kodikkaval.
🛕 Government Buses 2 A & 54 and private buses Green Bus & Ramalingam Bus ply from Kumbakonam Bus Stand to Kanjanur. Aduthurai Town is situated on the Mayiladuthurai – Kumbakonam highway, and buses are available from Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam. Various private and government long haul buses stop here connecting this town with major cities like Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai. The Temple is situated at about 6 Kms from Aduthurai.
Kanjanur Post, Thukili Via,
Thanjavur District – 609 804
Phone: +91 435 247 3737 / 247 0155
Mobile: +91 98432 85689 / 97873 29460.