Exploring The Celestial Navagraha Temples In Tamil Nadu

Exploring The Celestial Navagraha Temples In Tamil Nadu

The Navagrahas are a special concept in Hindu mythology and Indian history. Therefore, it is no surprise that different dynasties have come together to build these Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu over several centuries. This concept was so ingrained into our culture that we had even incorporated it into our calendar system, including naming the days of the week after them as well as designating specific time periods after them.

The word Navagraha means nine “homes” or “planets” and talks about the heavenly bodies you can witness from Earth. Though they are astronomically incorrect according to our current understanding of the solar system, it was still centuries ahead of the modern system of science in recognising the heavenly bodies as planets, hence the name.

As interesting as it is to discuss the amazing strides our ancestors have made in the field of astronomy, this is still a travel blog. And as a travel blog, we will do our best to talk about interesting places you can visit by yourself or with your family. It just so happens that there are nine remarkable temples dedicated to this concept right in Tamil Nadu. There are many temples dedicated to the Navagrahas all over the country, but the ones we’ll talk about are nine unique ones that form a set more commonly known as “The” Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu.

Here’s a list of the temples we will cover in the article.

  1. Suryanar Kovil, Thanjavur – Surya/Sun
  2. Kailasanathar Temple, Thanjavur – Chandra/Moon
  3. Swetharanyeswarar Temple, Mayiladuthurai – Budha/Mercury
  4. Agniswarar Temple, Thanjavur – Sukran/Venus
  5. Vaitheeswaran Koil, Mayiladuthurai – Angaragan/Mars
  6. Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Tiruvarur – Guru/Jupiter
  7. Tirunallar Dharbaranyeswarar Temple, Karaikkal – Shani/Saturn
  8. Tirunageswaram Naganathar Temple, Thanjavur – Rahu
  9. Naganatha Swamy Temple, Mayiladuthurai – Ketu

Now, you can read ahead to learn more about these unique temples and what to expect when you visit them. Don’t forget to check out our Navagraha Temple Tour Packages from Chennai when you’re done to book a tour package for you and your family.

1. Suryanar Kovil, Thanjavur

We’ll start this list as tradition requires by mentioning the one dedicated to Surya, the Sun. The concept of Navagraha Temples is to worship the nine heavenly bodies that neighbour our little planet, and the only one that can take the prime spot in this list is the Suryanar Kovil, one of the famous Navagraha Temples in Kumbakonam.

One more unique fact about this temple is that it is the only one among the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu that does not feature Lord Shiva as the presiding deity. This is because Surya himself is a major deity in Hinduism. The 11th-century temple is one of the few temples in South India not dedicated to either Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu.

If you book a trip through our Navagraha Temple Tour Packages from Chennai, this will be one of the first Navagraha Temples in Kumbakonam you will visit.

Suryanar Temple Timings

Mon-Sat: 07:00 AM – 12:30 PM; 04:00 PM – 08:30 PM

Sun: 06:00 AM – 08:30 PM

2. Kailasanathar Temple, Thanjavur

Just as important as the Sun is the Moon, the closest companion to our planet. Represented by the god Chandra, or Soma, as known in the other parts of the country, the Moon plays an essential role in maintaining the planet’s stability and represents the period of rest needed before starting a new day.

Another one of the Navagraha Temples in Kumbakonam, the Kailasanathar temple, is also known as the Chandiranaar temple. The temple is very popular before the harvest season as Chandra, also known as the god of vegetation, plays a vital role in pre-harvest rituals.

Kailasanathar Temple Timings

Tue-Thu: 07:00 AM – 01:00 PM; 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

Sat-Mon: 06:00 AM – 01:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

3. Swetharanyeswarar Temple, Mayiladuthurai

A pilgrimage to the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu can never be completed without visiting the iconic Thiruvenkadu Swetharanyeswarar Temple, which lends its name to the town in which it is situated. This is one of the bigger Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu despite also being one of the oldest.

The temple has a legend that lands it among one of the most visited temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that he had danced here before dancing in the temple in Chidambaram, leading to this temple also being called Adi Chidambaram.

As one of the largest and oldest Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu, you can spend a very long time exploring the temple complex and looking at the beautiful architecture of the early Chola period.

Swetharanyeswarar Temple Timings

Sun-Sat: 06:00 AM – 12:30 PM; 04:00 PM – 08:00 PM

4. Agniswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Sukran, or Venus, has a somewhat complicated position in Hindu mythology. Unlike most deities who continually stand on the side of the Devas, Sukran is one of the few who have never stayed firmly on one side. He is known as one of the gods of knowledge and has served as a teacher to both the Devas and the Asuras. Perhaps it is this complicated position that led to him not having a statue of his own in his temple.

Whatever the case, the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu are primarily a set of temples dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, and the Agniswarar temple does not stray away from that path. In fact, it is one of the 276 Paadal Petra Stalams, a group of temples revered by worshippers of Lord Shiva.

Agniswarar Temple Timings

Sun-Thu: 06:30 AM – 12:30 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

Fri: 06:30 AM – 02:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

Sat: 06:30 AM – 01:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

5. Vaitheeswaran Koil, Mayiladuthurai

The Vaitheeswaran Koil is not just one of the oldest Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu but also one of the oldest temples in South India. The 7th-century temple is incredibly popular due to its unique legend.

Unlike the other Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu, the Vaitheeswaran Temple is known less for its worship of Angaragan, or Mangala, as the planetary body of Mars is known in other parts of the country. The main reason this temple is famous has to do with the legend behind it, where Lord Shiva appeared as a doctor and cured his devotees in the past.

As is evident from the temple’s name, Vaitheeswaran Koil is known to cure all ailments and is popular with devotees looking to take respite from any long-standing illnesses. It is an incredibly popular pilgrimage destination, so be prepared to deal with many crowded areas.

Vaitheeswaran Kovil Timings

Sun-Sat: 06:00 AM – 01:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

6. Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Tiruvarur

The Apatsahayesvarar Temple, also known as Guru Stalam, is the only one among the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu not located in an area of historical significance. In fact, it is located in the town of Alangudi and is often called Alangudi Temple among devotees.

Despite the temple being located so far off, the deity that is worshipped is one of the major ones that is worshipped among the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu. Guru, more commonly known as Brihaspati, is the god of fire and the teacher of the Devas. Therefore, his position among the Navagrahas is very significant, making this a must-visit destination if you are going on a pilgrimage to Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu.

Apatsahayesvarar Temple Timings

Thu: 06:00 AM – 08:30 PM

Fri-Wed: 06:00 AM – 01:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 08:30 PM

7. Tirunallar Dharbaranyeswarar Temple, Karaikkal

This temple on the list is technically cheating, as the Tirunallar Dharbaranyeswarar Temple, also known as Tirunallar Saniswaran Temple, is not in Tamil Nadu per se. Located in the Union Territory of Puducherry, this temple is usually included in the list of Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu as it has been part of the set for centuries. Minor technicalities aside, this temple rightfully belongs on the list. Also, our Navagraha Temple Tour Packages from Chennai will bring you here for a visit, so there is no use complaining about technicalities.

Just like these technicalities, the deity this temple is dedicated to is also one of the least-liked ones, as Shani has been associated with bad luck and diseases. Most people will see this as an opportunity to offer bribes to keep bad luck away.

This temple is also famous for its role as one of the Saptha Vidangam, seven dance moves represented by seven temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Tirunallar Dharbaranyeswarar Temple Timings

Sun-Fri: 05:30 AM – 12:30 PM, 04:00 PM – 08:30 PM

Sat: 04:00 AM – 09:30 PM

8. Tirunageswaram Naganathar Temple, Thanjavur

Now, we come to the most famous one among the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu. Also known as Rahu Stalam, the Tirunageswaram Naganathar Temple is one of the most popular sites for pilgrimage through Tamil Nadu.

It is also the only one among the Navagraha Temples in Kumbakonam that is situated right inside the temple town of Tirunageswaram. As one of the more popular ones on this list, it is recommended to go there with an eye on the date if you want to avoid crowded areas.

This temple is also one of the Paadal Petra Stalams, so you will be visiting this temple even if you book a different temple tour package from Chennai.

Tirunageswaram Naganathar Temple Timings

Sun-Sat: 06:00 AM – 01:00 PM, 04:00 PM – 09:00 PM

9. Naganatha Swamy Temple, Mayiladuthurai

The Ketu Stalam, as the Naganatha Swamy Temple is popularly called, is the last of the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu we will cover in this article. As cliché as it is to say, last but not least, it matches well with the the Naganatha Swamy Temple as it is one of the most popular ones among the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu.

This temple holds a significant position among the devotees of Lord Shiva as this is where he appeared after drinking the poison Halahala and obtaining the title of Neelkhand.

The actual age of the temple is still undetermined, but it is said to have been mentioned in a 7th-century poem. However, it’s not the age of the temple that is important. It is one of the few temples in India that worship Ketu and hosts exclusive poojas and festivals dedicated to Ketu, especially during the new moon.

Naganatha Swamy Temple Timings

Sun-Sat: 06:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 03:30 PM – 08:00 PM

And there you have it, your complete guide on the Navagraha Temples in Tamil Nadu. As important as the worship of the Navagrahas is in Hinduism, there are a significantly low number of temples solely dedicated to them. Fortunately for you, this list will shed some light on where you need to go if you want to worship them in a temple.

As the best travel agency in Chennai, Madras Travels and Tours offers our own Navagraha Temple Tour Packages from Chennai, tailored specifically for a short 5-day pilgrimage. All you need to do is book a tour package and enjoy the ride, as we will take care of all your travel and accommodation needs. So go on and book one today so you can explore these magnificent temples personally!

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