Thirunageshwaram Sri Naganathaswamy Temple is situated 6 kms away from Kumbakonam on the southern banks of Cauvery in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The presiding Deity is Giri Gujambika Sametha Naganathaswamy. The Raaghu Sannathi (Nagaraja Shrine) is on the South-West direction of the second prakara.
Presiding deity Lord Sri Nageswarar is a swayambumurthi. While performing milk abishek to planet Raghu, the milk turns blue in colour. The three Mothers Girigujambikai, Maahalakshmi and Saraswathi grace from a single shrine in the temple. While planet Rahu appears in a snake form with human head in other temples, he appears in the temple in total human form.
Sri Nageswarar Temple, Tirunageswaram–612 204, Thanjavur district.
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Masi Maha Shivarathri in February-March, Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December–January, Panguni Uthiram in March–April, Karthikai Deepam and Brahmmotsavam in November–December, Rahu planet transition days, special poojas and Milk Abishek to Raghu planet between 4.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. on all Sundays, besides special pujas as desired by the devotees from time to time, are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
The Chola King Kandaraathithya (950AD–957AD) renovated this temple into a granite edifice. The inner Mantapa was built by Seikkizhar. Govinda Dikshitar (17th century A.D.) a minister to Acchuthappa nayak, constructed the outer mandapa. Sambumali, a King built the beautiful Surya Pushkarani. The roof and other renovation work were done by Arimalazham Annamalai Chettiar.
Legend has it that the serpents Aadi Seshan, Dakshan and Kaarkotakan worshiped Shiva here. Legend also has it that Nala worshiped Shiva here. Gowtama muni, Paraasarar and Bhageerata are also associated with legends related to this temple. Tirunageswaram, Raaghu is the king of snakes and since he worshiped lord Shiva the place was named as Thirunageshwaram.
Once Sugarma son of Susheela muni was bitten by a snake, the sage cursed the snake for hurting his son. Raghu Bhagavan got rid of his curse inflicted by Sushila Muni by worshiping Lord Shiva here. Hence Lord Shiva is also worshiped as 'Naganatha Swamy' here owing to the deliverance of Raaghu Bhagavan from his curse by His grace.
Offering worship at this Nageswarar temple in the morning, at noon and at in the evening on a given day is considered to be of special significance. Suryan, Vinayaga, Gautamar, Nalan, Parasarar, Pandavas, Vasishtar, Indran, Brahma, Bageerathan, Chandrasenan, Adiseshan, Kakkan Karkodagan, Sounagar, Nargunan have prayed and benefited at this sthala.
King Sambumali who had incurred the wrath of sage Kaalangiri, attained moksha after bathing in the temple tank and praying to the Lord and Ambal of this temple. Bringi Muni prayed only to Shiva. Girigujambikai is believed to have appeared before Bringi Muni along with Lakshmi and Saraswati in this sthala. Parvathy did penance for Ardhanareeshwara form. Shiva was pleased and shared half of his body with hers and appeared as Ardhanareeshawara here in this sthala.