Bestowing plenty and prosperity
An exotic early morning view of the temple for the Sun God ...
SURYANARKOIL IS located in Tiruvidaimarudur taluk of Thanjavur district, on the banks of the Cauvery, 15 km from Kumbakonam, two km from Aduthurai station. The story of this unique temple goes deep into history and can easily be traced to the days of the Mahabharata. It has also been worshipped by many of the Azhwars.
The temple has the Sun or Surya as the main deity a beautiful compact standing figure. The main sanctum is extraordinary in that the Moolamurti of Surya faces the idol of Guru (Jupiter), a smaller image. The Utsavamurti (of the Sun God) is seen with His two consorts. Aarathi is first performed for the Sun and then for Guru, before it is offered to the devotee.
Legend states that a saint called Kalavar, in the Vindhyas, was an expert in astrology. He began worshipping the Navagrahas to ward off their evil effects on his horoscope. Pleased by his austere penance, the nine planets granted the saint boons of plenty and prosperity for generations to come. The chief deities were enraged, as the Navagrahas were but minor entities, and had no power to grant boons. Hence the Devas cursed the planets to be afflicted with leprosy.
Eventually, moved by the piteous pleas of the Navagrahas, the gods advised them to go to Arakavana, near Tirumangalakudi, in Thanjavur district, and bathe in the nine thirthas on the first Sunday of the month of Karthigai, and then on 11 successive Sundays.
They then had to worship Shiva and Parvati at Tirumangalakudi, and take curd rice served on Araku leaves. Arka also means the Sun, and the place for penance chosen by the Navagrahas was Suryanarkoil. The sthalavriksha here is the Erukka tree.
The Sun God on His seven-horse chariot seen above the main sanctum at Suryanarkoil ...
Shiva blessed the planets, after which they resumed their duties. Thus, tradition has it that devotees worshipping the Navagrahas here, and Lord Shiva, will be relieved of all their maladies, and be blessed with good health.
Those with an afflicted Saturn in the horoscope often worship at Suryanarkoil, for a specific period, for mitigation of ill effects.
The Sun, the harbinger of light, is the giver of health and victory. He is the energiser, who was worshipped by Rama, when he was desperate to vanquish Ravana.
A despondent Rama was taught the Aditya Hridayam by Sage Agastya, assuring Him that those worshipping the Sun would emerge victorious Aditya hridayam punyam, sarva shatru vinashanam, jayavaham japenityam, akshayam, paramam Shivam meaning that worshipping the Sun would enable one to defeat one's enemies, and those who pray to Him daily would attain supreme bliss.
Each planet has a separate shrine at Suryanarkoil, around the main sanctum, built in positions according to the Jyotisha Shastra. Shiva as Prananathar and Parvati as Mangalambigai are first prayed to at nearby Tirumangalakudi, and then the blessings of the Sun God at Suryanarkoil are sought.
Thulabaram is a popular offering to the deity here. Abhishekam for Surya, and the other planets can be performed, as also Surya and Navagraha homam.
The temple arranges convenient lodging. All the same Kumbakonam, which is close enough, also offers all comfort.
A beautiful, divine figure, practically hidden away in the Cauvery delta, the Lord of Suryanarkoil has a magnetic personality, emanating a golden glow, akin to the visible radiance of the Sun.
With the Sun entering the sign of Makaram (Capricorn) on January 14 a day very special at Suryanarkoil the year began its auspicious traversal of time.
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