NAVAPULIYUR   PILGRIMAGE

-Santhipriya-

: Foreword:

At the outset two personalities in the spiritual word need to be acknowledged and thanked for this article and additional due credits will certainly go to them if the reader’s response is warm.

Mrs. Geetha Ganesh, a Sri Vidya Upasani of Chennai was instrumental for the compilation of this article. Most of the temple inputs in this Navapuliyur pilgrimage was given by her and she is engaged in unearthing the lost prides of Hindu pilgrimages and other forgotten rituals practiced centuries ago and promote them silently interacting with several spiritual groups.

The other person to be acknowledged is Dr Venkatasubramanian Sankarkumar, Indian national, now settled in U.S as her citizen. Dr Sankarkumar, M.D. is in medical profession and in his pass time he translates articles in Tamil for Sri Shirdi Sai Baba site (https://shirdisaibabatamilstories.blogspot.com/). He helped to speed up the work on Navapuliyur pilgrimage by giving me the draft translation of the Navapuliyur temple 1-6 in English – Santhipriya

Navapuliyur pilgrimage: Some facts

It is unfortunate that the present generation is unaware of the significance of pilgrimages and other spiritual practices carried out several centuries ago by our ancestors for various purposes, especially the one like that of Navapuliyur pilgrimage. Few decades ago the Navapuliyur pilgrimage was very popular and undertaken by devotees to get rid of the ill and evil effects of karma disturbing their life due to sins (Karma) committed knowingly or unknowingly in their previous or even present life span. Secondly the elders above sixties in the bygone era always desired to attain moksha (freedom from cycles of birth and death) at the far end of their life and performed religious rights and undertaken other spiritual practices including pilgrimages in fulfillment of their wishes.

Several thousands of years ago Maharishis Vyagrapada and Pathanjali too undertook one such a journey praying Lord Shiva to attain moksha and to get rid of their karma which should not block their path to attain moksha. It was through those two Maharishis, the purpose and importance of undertaking the Navapuliyur pilgrimage came to light since they were enlightened on this pilgrimage by with the doctrines of none else than Lord Shiva himself who manifested before them after they witnessed the ever eternal cosmic dance of the Lord in Chidambaram.

Both Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali went to Chidambaram in Tamilnadu in their desire to witness the eternal and ecstasy dance of Lord Shiva and thereafter sought the grace of the Lord to attain moksha. Pleased with their prayer, Lord Shiva manifested before them and ensured that they witness his eternal dance of ecstasy and at the end of the dance when they prostrated before the Lord seeking his grace to attain moksha, they received sermon from Lord Shiva at the end of which he advised them to worship him in specific nine temples (it was not temple then, but was temple sites) where he had self-manifested in the form of Shiva Linga to first get rid of the ill effects of their Karma and thereafter worship Lord Brahma in Tirupattur and finally Lord Vishnu in Srirangam to attain moksha. Lord told them that once they complete the journey in Srirangam, (the last in the pilgrimage of Navapuliyur) they would be graced by Lord Ranganathar to attain moksha as amongst the Trinities, he was only empowered to grace so. However he would (Lord Shiva) himself remove all their karma upon reaching Srirangam so that the ill effects of the karma would not come in the way of them getting moksha.

What is the sanctity of visiting nine temples of Lord Shiva, before visiting the temple of Lord Brahma and that of Lord Vishnu in Navapuliyur pilgrimage? Nava in Sanskrit means nine. The nine represents the nine temples of Lord Shiva where the nine planets serving him has been empowered by Lord Shiva on his behalf to remove ill effects of the past and present karma of those devotees visiting there before they visit Lord Brahma to receive his grace as he is creator and finally to Lord Ranganathar to attain moksha. The destiny and fate leading to peaceful life depends upon the grace of the Navagrahas who remove the ill effects of karma on behalf of the prime divines.

The ill effects and evil effects causing mental disturbances and turbulence in ones’ life is directly related to the intensity of the sins committed in their past or even in the present life. The nature and extent of punishments for each of the sins vary in their intensity depending on the nature of sin committed. Based on the nature of sin committed, each Navagrahas have been entrusted with the task of punishing them suitably. Every Navagrahas has been assigned the task of pardoning specific sets of sins related to specific periods of time when the individuals will be under their influence. Therefore those afflicted with severe turbulence and disturbances in many forms in their life visit the Navagrahas temples to appease the Navagrahas and seeking their grace to tone down the intensity and nature of the punishments since the Brahman norm does not permit the punishments be totally pardoned. If the punishments are entirely condoned, then there will be no fear in committing sins by the mankind as the resultant karma can be nullified by the grace of Navagrahas. Therefore since the Navagrahas enjoin the power to condone the severity of the sins specific only to their periods of influence, the powers of the Navagrahas are also limited or sin specific.

The Navagrahas are generally seated in several temples in groups and also seated in separate temples specific to them, to perform their role in condoning the ill effects of karma to the extent the powers relegated to them. The devotees visit the temples on specific days of the week, specific to the Navagrahas and worship them seeking their grace to reduce the severity of the ill effects affecting their life. Similarly the same Navagrahas have also been found seated in certain temples where they themselves have got their own sins borne out of certain curses absolved by the Lord there. In gratitude they remain in the same temples serving the Lord (Titular deity) there. In turn pleased with their service the Lord of those temples have given the Navagrahas serving him there special powers to them to condone the specific sets of sins on each and every day they are worshiped and not limited to the period of their influence on them or specific days of the week. Thus the Navagrahas in such temples are more powerful than they are in other temples. This is where the Navapuliyur pilgrimage gains importance since the Navagrahas seated in those nine temples when worshiped in those temples along with the titular Lord, relieve the specific ill effects of karmas and no special ritual is required to be done to please the Navagrahas to get the relief. Thus the benefits accrued by undertaking this pilgrimage is not limited to attain moksha alone, but also enables one to get relief from the evil effects of karma in one go.

The learned pundits opine that in order to highlight this principle and philosophy, Lord Shiva had enacted a drama by getting Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali manifest in human forms and ensured that they undertake the Navapuliyur pilgrimage to those temple sites where he had already manifested in different forms with different attributes for the welfare of the mankind on earth.

The Navapuliyur pilgrimage covering nine important Lord Shiva temples representing the three world theory was very popular before 12th century, but lost its credence later because of the feud between Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Even then unmindful of the feud, some devotees continued to undertake the journey.

Those undertaking this pilgrimage must know who was Maharishi Pathanjali? Once cosmic serpent Adhishesha, the ocean bed for Lord Mahavishnu expressed his desire to see the eternal and ecstasy dance of Lord Shiva after hearing the experience of Lord Vishnu. At his request Lord Mahavishnu told him “Adhishesha, after witnessing the ecstasy dance of Lord Shiva, unable to contain surging happiness within me which cannot be explained in words or motions, I shared with you the vibrations of the dance and I do realize that those who hear the same will surely be tempted to witness it. Therefore it will be improper for me to stop you from witnessing the same. Go and manifest as human on earth at an appropriate time. You will take the form of half male and half serpent to be known as Pathanjali and get entire yogic knowledge transformed into you before you witness the ecstasy dance”.

Lord Vishnu continued “You may go to Chidambaram (then called Thillaivanam) through a hole which you may find in the midst of mountains in the world of Pathal (underworld below ocean) which is the land of serpents. In Thillaivanam you will see Maharishi Vyagrapada offering prayers to Lord Shiva, who has self-manifested there in the form of a Shiva Ling. He too desires to witness the ecstasy dance of Lord Shiva. You may also join him and perform Pooja along with him seeking the same grace from Lord Shiva”.

Lord Vishnu then blessed the cosmic serpent Adhishesha to manifest as Pathanjali and sent him to earth to witnesses the ever eternal ecstasy dance of Lord Shiva. Thus the Cosmic Serpent Adhishesha who manifested in the form of Pathanjali, along with Maharishi Vyagrapada, worshiped Lord Shiva in Chidambaram, got his vision in original form, witnessed the ecstasy dance besides getting doctrine from him in the company of Maharishi Vyagrapada. By then both had reached the end of their life span. As advised by Lord Shiva they performed the Navapuliyur pilgrimage to offer their prayers to the Lord in various appearances and attributes before ultimately attaining Moksha.

Who is Maharishi Vyagrapada? The legend states that Vyagrapada was a maharishi, son of great Maharishi Madhyanadhina, a Shaivite but who also held Lord Vishnu in great esteem. Once when Maharishi Vyagrapada requested his father Maharishi Madhyanadhina to guide him the best path to get freed of the of karma and attain moksha (free from birth and death), Maharishi Madhyanadhina advised him to seek the grace of Lord Shiva and get his wish fulfilled. Further he suggested that he should proceed to Thillaivanam and arduously pray Lord Shiva self-manifested there. If Lord manifest before him he should immediately seek his grace to witness the eternal ecstasy dance in Chidambaram which only those graced by Lord Shiva will be able to see.

Maharishi Vyagrapada earlier known as Bala Muni meaning young sage reached Chidambaram traveling through several places. On reaching the suggested location in Thillaivanam, he stayed under a banyan tree, took bath in the divine pond called Siva Gangai (Ganges on the head of Lord Shiva) and began offering prayers to Lord Shiva who had already self-manifested under the same tree in the form of a Shiva Ling. Thillai was the name of a tree and since the entire area was a forested land consisting of Thillai trees, it was called Thillaivanam, in which vanam meaning forest.

Vyagrapada used to pluck flowers climbing even the trees in the forest and performed daily chores and Pooja. While plucking the flowers, Vyagrapada would get hurt on account of thorns and the rough surface of the trees. As time passed his age restricted his energy and he could not climb trees easily to pluck flowers. Pleased with the sincerity in offering daily Pooja, Lord Shiva took pity on his disciple and blessed the sage with eyes, claws, and feet of a tiger thus ending the misery of the Maharishi in plucking flowers climbing trees. Thus he came to be called Maharishi Vyagrapada, the tiger-pawed saint, vyagra meaning tiger, pada the feet.

After witnessing the cosmic dance and doctrine from Lord Shiva both the aged Maharishis in their last leg of their life span traveled to all the nine temples of Lord Shiva in the same order as advised by Lord Shiva beginning from Chidambaram, ending at Bramhapureeswarar and Srirangam temples before attaining self-Samadhi followed by moksha. The pilgrimage thus undertaken by they came to be called Navapuliyur, in which Nava meaning nine and puliyur representing the temples visited by the tiger thawed Maharishi.

How should one undertake the Navapuliyur pilgrimage? Commencing the journey from Chidambaram temple, spend the whole day witnessing all three periods of pujas, proceed to Thirupathipuliyur next day morning and then from Thirupathipuliyur go to the temples at Erukkaththampuliyur, Omaampuliyur, Kaanaattampuliyur and then finally visit the temple at Sirupuliyur before night.

Next morning, after visiting the Athipuliyur, Thappalampuliyur and Perumpuliyur temples the devotees should visit Tirupattur Bramhapureeswarar and finally Srirangam shri Ranganathar temple. After worshiping the Lord in Srirangam, you have to straightaway proceed to your home without visiting any other temple.

During the pilgrimage, in between even if time permitted, the visit to other temple should be strictly avoided since the purpose and gain of Navapuliyur temple pilgrimage will be otherwise lost. All these temples are located in the small rural areas and in villages and are not frequented by many and also they remain open only for few hours. In light of this fact it would be better if the concerned temple priests are contacted well in advance and temples visited at per-arranged time and date.

Navapuliyur Temples –1- Perumpatrapuliyur

The temple in Chidambaram is known as Perumpatrapuliyur. This is the first temple of the nine puliyur [Navapuliyur] temples. After worshiping Lord Moolattaneshwar and Goddess Sivakamasunthari, and possibly witnessing the Arthajaama Pooja, the last in the night, one must witness the early morning ‘Thiruvanathal puja’ at the sunrise before proceeding to second Puliyur temple.

‘Chidambara Rahasya’ (Secret of Chidambaram) is the famous special ritual performed daily in the Chidambaram Nataraja temple. The small entrance leading to a closed room called ‘Citabha’ where the Lord reportedly abodes in no form is covered by a cloth screen. Inside the room hangs a golden garland depicting the vilva leaves. Lighted camphor will be shown to the golden garland when the screen is opened to allow the devotees view and worship Lord Siva who is believed to pervade that empty space in no form wearing the golden vilva garland hanging there. He is believed to be adoring the same in his neck. This form of worshiping formless Lord Shiva who is pervading the entire vast space of the universe is known as the secret of Chidambaram. Lord Siva appears as the ‘Dancing Siva’ [Natana Raja] in this temple and blessed Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali when they visited here. Legend says that the Lord brought along with him three thousand Brahmins, exponents in Veda from Kasi, and they are known as the Dikshithars of Chidambaram. Lord Sun serving the Lord grace the devotees in this temple to get rid of the ill effects (Karma) in their life.

Two important festivals, – one in the Tamil month of Margazhi [Dec 16 to Jan 13] on the auspicious star of Arudra [Arudra Darshan] and another in the Tamil month of Ani [June 16 to July 15] on the auspicious star of ‘Vuththiram’ [Ani Thirumanjanam] are celebrated annually with pomp and glory here.

This temple is reportedly 2000 years old and one of the places glorified by ‘Thevaram’. This temple is about 240 KM from Chennai.

Lord’s name: Kanakasabapathi, Nataraja and Ponnambala Kootthan
Name of Goddess: Thiru Moolattaana Umaiyammai
Temple tree: Thillai

Address:
Arulmigu Nataraja Temple
Chidambaram
Cuddalore Dt.
Pin 608 001

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 7 PM

Navapuliyur Temples – 2- Thirupathiripuliyur

Many of the important events in this universe are centered around Lord Shiva’s divine plays. Goddess Parvathi played important role in most of them. Once, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi were playing a game in Kailash mount. As Lord Shiva was winning in every game, Parvathi wanted to cheat him and closed his eyes with her hands. The whole universe plunged into darkness bringing entire action in the universe to standstill. Frightened Goddess Parvathi sought Lord Shiva’s pardon.

Since the mistake cannot be condoned, Lord Shiva ordered her to go and manifest on earth, continue worshiping him in all his abodes till she reaches a place where her left arm and left eye will twitch, and she will get the curse absolved in the same place. Therefore Goddess Parvathi manifested on earth, kept on visiting several abodes of Lord Siva and when she reached the present temple site her left eye and arm twitched! She stayed there worshiping formless Lord Siva for several decades and finally attained salvation. The seven celestial women called Saptha kannikas stayed there serving their mistress Goddess Parvathi.

During her penance she stayed under a divine tree called ‘Padhiri (Stereospermum xylocarpum), and the tree gave flowers from her body for performing her daily worship. Thus the place came to be called as Thirupathiripuliyur attaching the name of that tree with its name. When Goddess Parvathi in her formless was in penance, everywhere in the forest she saw several saints and sages praising Lord Shiva with their hymns. They continued it as ritual to get grace of Lord Shiva who was fond of music. Thus this temple was also called as ‘Padaleeshwar’ attributing the same to the Lord of lover of music or song. The Lord is self-manifested here and Lord Chandra serving the Lord graces the devotees in this temple to get rid of the ill effects (Karma) in their life.

This also falls in Cuddalore district, just 44 miles from Chidambaram. It is 1/2 km from Thirupathiripuliyur railway station and 1/2 km from Cuddalore bus stand.

Lord’s name: Thondra Thunai Nathar.
Goddess: Periyanayagi ammai, Kothainayagi
Temple tree: Padhiri
Sacred tank: Brahma Theertham

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Navapuliyur temples – 3 – Erukkaththampuliyur

Erukkaththampuliyur is 73 km from Thirupathipuliyur and 13 km from town Virudrachalam. The name of the village Erukkaththampuliyur is not widely known to everyone and therefore it is generally called Rajendrapattinam.

Long back, one Neelakantabanar was born in a musical family. Along with his wife he visited several temples of Lord Shiva and sang in praise of him by playing the musical instrument called Yaazh (a type of another musical instrument called Veena).

In those periods of times, the banar tribe could not enter into the temples due to caste discrimination. Therefore they used to worship Lord Shiva standing outside the precincts of the temple. At one such period of time, Neelakantabanar was singing the glory of lord with his instrument, standing outside the temple precincts. Moved by the melody of the music Lord Somasundharar appeared in dreams of his devotees and ordered them to build a separate entrance to enable Neelakantabanar along with his wife to enter into the temple to worship him from inside. He conveyed the same message in the dream of Neelakantabanar too.

As commanded by the Lord in their dreams, the devotees invited the couple to enter into the temple through a separate passage and to perform worship. The couple did not even notice that the floor was wet and sat on it and began to sing in praise of the lord with their instruments. Lord Siva moved by the melody of the music again ordered his devotees to place a plank for them to sit and continue singing and immediately a plank was placed as commanded by the Lord himself. Those assembled were thrilled at the play of the Lord.

Finally, the Banar with his wife entered into the divine light (Lord Shiva’s light) that appeared in Thirugnaana Sambandhar’s wedding to merge in Lord Shiva’s feet. The said day is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi [May-June] on the day of Star Moola. In this temple site Lord Shiva has graced many of his devotees for salvation and has also blessed childless King Rajaraja Chola get an offspring. Lord Muruga too was relieved of his curse to get back his speech in this temple. Lord Kethu, one of the Navagrahas planets relieve the sufferings of those who pray him here along with the prime divine Lord.

Lord’s name: Neelakanteswar
Goddess name: Neelamalarkanni
Temple tree: Erukku

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 7 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.  

Name of the Priest and Contact No: Ganesa Gurukkal (9487703524)

Navapuliyur temple – 4 – Omaampuliyur

This temple site is about 30 KM from Chidambaram and 18 KM from Kutralam which is in Mayiladuthurai to Kumbakonam Road. To  go to Omaampuliyur and Kaanaattampuliyur temples from Erukkaththampuliyur one has to first travel to  village Kaattumannar kovil and from there reach the temples. The distance between Omaampuliyur and Kaanaattampuliyur are hardly four kilometers from each other.

This place also has an interesting legend. Once upon a time, Lord Shiva was explaining the meaning and the power of the primordial sound [pranava mantra] OM to his consort Goddess Parvathi. Even though she was listening to the lecture attentively, in-between she lost her concentration for a fraction of a moment thinking about the earth. Lord Shiva got angry and cursed her though Goddess Parvathi immediately begged for pardon. But, Lord Shiva did not yield to her request and asked her to go to earth to do penance for her mistake when at an appropriate time he would manifest before her again to explain the meaning and intrinsic powers of OM in detail. Therefore Goddess Parvathi had to manifest on earth and sat in penance in the present temple site for a long time. Pleased with her penance Lord Shiva appeared before her in the form of Guru Dakshinamurthi and enlightened her with the meaning and intrinsic powers of Pranava mantra OM. Thus Goddess Parvathi gained absolute knowledge on OM. Signifying this great play where Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Guru Dakshinamurthi, the lord assumed the name of ‘Pranava Vyagrapureeswarar and since the primordial mantra OM was explained her, the place became to be called Omaampuliyur.

Significant feature of this temple is that in the hall in between the sanctorum of the Lord and that of his consort one can see Lord Guru Dakshinamurthi seated since it was he who explained the meaning of OM to Goddess Parvathi here. Even though Lord Shiva and the Lord Guru Dakshinamurthi are one and the same, here in this temple he appears in both the forms separately and therefore it is necessary to offer worship to both of them separately.

Lord Guru, one of the Navagrahas planets relieve the sufferings of those who pray him here along with the prime divine. Devotees come here to pray for knowledge and good education for their children.

Lord’s Name: Pranava Pureesvarar and Thuyar theertha Nathar
Goddess Name: Pushpalathambigai and Poongodi Nayagi
Temple Tree: Ilandhai [ziziphus jujuba]
Sacred water: Kollidam, Gowri Theertham

Temple address:
Sri Pranava Vyagyapureeswarar temple,
Omaampuliyur
Cuddalore Dt.
Pin: 608 306

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Name of the Priest and Contact No: Jagatheesa Gurukkal (04144-264845)

Navapuliyur temples – 5- Kanattamullur

Two stories illustrate the greatness of this temple. Once, the sages from Dandakaranya forests came here to worship Lord Shiva. When they arrived at this site, every bit of sand appeared as ‘Shiva Linga’, thus making it difficult to identify the original Shiva Linga and to walk. So, the sages prostrated from a distance and left the place. Thereafter it has become ritual for the devotees who come to this temple to take some sand as holy talisman believing it would bring them good luck.

The second story is on the cosmic serpent Adhishesha, the serpentine bed of Lord Vishnu. After the serpent manifested as Maharishi Pathanjali and witnessed the ecstasy of Lord Shiva in Chidambaram, he came to this temple and witnessed the Lord’s dance here too. When Lord Shiva inquired whether the Maharishi’s desire satiated, he replied that he desired to witness it every day. Pleased with the Maharishi, Lord Shiva allowed him to stay here for a long time and in honor of him he enshrined himself in this temple site in the name of Pathanjaleeswarar.

During the months of April and May, the sun rays fall directly on the ‘Shiva Linga’ for three days on each of those months. This is interpreted as Lord Sun himself comes here during those days to offer prayers to the Lord. Two other interesting and rare features can be seen in this temple. They are Lord Murugan’s consort Goddess Valli wearing a long earring [Called Pambadam in villages] as worn by elderly women folks and secondly, Lord Dakshinamurthi seen sitting without the customary Kallala tree hovering over his head. Lord Raghu, one of the Navagrahas planets relieve the sufferings of those who pray him here along with the prime divine.

To  go to Omaampuliyur and Kaanaattampuliyur temples from Erukkaththampuliyur one has to first travel to  village Kaattumannar kovil and from there reach the temples. The distance between Omaampuliyur and Kaanaattampuliyur are hardly four kilometers from each other.

Lord’s Name: Pathanjaleeswarar or Pathanjali Nathar or Somaskanthar
Goddess Name: Kolvalayambigai
Temple Tree: Vellaierukku [Calotropis gigantea]
Sacred Water: Soorya Pushkarani

Address:
Arulmigu Pathanjaleeswar temple
Kaanaattampuliyur
Muttam Post
Kattaumannaarkudi Taluk
Cuddalore District
Pin: 608 306

The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Name of the Priest and Contact No: Jayachandran Gurukkal (9790333377, 9894684269)

Navapuliyur temples – 6- Sirupuliyur

Although conflicting legends are associated with this temple, only stories around Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali are believed to be relevant. After witnessing Lord Shiva’s celestial dance at Chidambaram, Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali visited numerous other temples of Lord Shiva. They were slowly getting older and their strength began to diminish as days passed. Therefore when both of them prayed to Lord Shiva to grant them Moksha (liberation from life), Lord advised them to complete the worship of him in nine temples as indicated to them at Chidambaram and thereafter worship Lord Brahma in Tirupattur and finally Lord Vishnu in the form of Ranganathar in Srirangam where they will attain liberation. Since they became old, their eyesight partially impaired due to which they lost the route leading to Srirangam and took wrong route unknowingly. It was late night and unable to know how to proceed further, they prayed Lord Vishnu for guidance. Seeing their misery, Lord Shiva took pity on them and came down in the form of a human to guide them to travel in the correct route. Further he got himself enshrined in the same place in a small shrine in the name of ‘Vazhithunai Nathar’ meaning Guide in travel. Meanwhile Lord Sri Ranganathar of Srirangam also came in search of them and realizing that the two aged Maharishis cannot have his Darshan (vision) in his original huge form, he shrunk himself as small boy to manifest before them after which he also enshrined himself in another small shrine nearby the temple of Lord Shiva. Since Lord Shiva helped the Maharishis to get the vision of Lord Vishnu, indirectly implying that both he and Lord Vishnu are one and same, Sirupuliyur gains significance in this tour. Those who undertake tour of Navapuliyur pilgrimage must visit both these temples.

Sirupuliyur is situated 20 KM from Mayavaram in the village called ‘Naadaakkudi’. Lord Mercury (Lord Bhutan), one of the Navagrahas planets relieve the sufferings of those who pray him here along with the prime divine.

Lord’s Name: Vazhithunai Nathar and Marga Bantheeswarar
Name of Goddess:

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.

Name of the Priest and Contact No: Shankar Gurukkal (9791514671)

Navapuliyur temples: No-7- Athipuliyur

The seventh temple to be visited in the Navapuliyur pilgrimage is Athipuliyur. It is located 17 Kilometers west of Nagapattinam in the Nagapattinam – Thiruvarur highway. This temple can be seen on the northern bank of river Kadugai.

Much details on the history of this temple is not known. Lord Kalyanasundareswarar is seen behind the Shiva Ling in the sanctorum. It is believed that Lord Kalyanasundareswarar in the form of Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi has been moulaged (called shilasthapana) as rock image by greatest Sage Agastya himself with his divine power and after enshrining the deities, he stayed there for many days and worshiped Lord Shiva in the form of married couple. The legend is Sage Agastya traveled to south to witness the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvathi and pleased with his sincerity, Lord Shiva with his consort appeared before him in the same form of married couple in this temple site similar to the form in which he appeared before celestial in Himalayas where he married Goddess Parvathi. Even Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali reportedly witnessed the Lord in the form of married couple. This is perhaps the reason for the belief that those whose proposals for marriage failed frequently, should visit this temple on three Pradosha days and worship Lord Kalyanasundareswarar and before they undertake the visit on the third Pradosha, some good news on their marriage proposals would be heard.

Five water tanks are found around this temple. It is also believed that if one take bath in all the five water tanks and perform srartha ceremony (ceremony held every year for those dead) the sins accrued out of the non-performance of rituals to their demised ancestors would vanish.

One other unique feature of this temple is that the sanctorum of the Lord faces south while that of the Goddess towards West contrary to all other temples where the Lord has been enshrined facing west and Goddess facing south.

Name of Lord: Chithambareswar
Name of Goddess: Sivakamasunthari
Name of Theertham (water tanks):-

Temple Address:
Shri Chithambareswar temple
Kilvilur or Kivalur Block
Nagapattinam district
Pin :- 611 104

Temple times:
The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Name of the Priest:- Shri. Visvanatha Gurukkal (9751195622 or 9943596849)

Navapuliyur temples: No-8:- Thappalampuliyur

The eight of the temple in this pilgrimage is Thappalampuliyur which is five kilometers away from Thiruvarur in Nagapattinam district. The temple is believed to be 1000 year old temple and the self-manifested titular Lord, self-manifested several yugas ago and have been worshiped in all the four bygone Yugas when this site was known in different names. Some pundits mention that in Kretha Yuga this site was known as Tarparavanam, in Thretha Yuga it was known as Madhu Vanam, in Dwapara Yuga it was known as Deva Vanam and in Kali Yuga it was called Vyagrapuram.

Out of the nine temples in Navapuliyur pilgrimage this temple assumes more importance for many reasons. Besides Maharishi Vyagrapada, the greatest of the sages Manduga Muni has also worshiped the Lord in this temple along with Maharishi Vyagrapada. Manduk means frog which is pronounced as ‘thappalai’ in the villages. Maharishi Vyagrapada was tiger thawed (in Tamil it is called Pulikkaal i.e. leg of a tiger) Maharishi and since they have together stayed for a long period and worshiped the Lord here the temple has gained the name Thappalampuliyur attaching both their names. Thappalaa + Puliyur =Thappalampuliyur. Due to this mistakenly people believed that a frog and tiger worshiped the lord here which is why this temple was called Thappalampuliyur.

There is an interesting lore on the Goddess Parvathi enshrined in this temple. She is called Sri Nithya Kalyani meaning getting married with the lord daily (nithya meaning daily and Kalyani meaning the one who gets married).

In one of the four Yugas, a sage worshiped a Goddess in the form of a child, naming her Kalyani. Once while returning back after attending a marriage ceremony, he found that his daughter Kalyani was missing. Shattered by the absence of the child, he cried before Lord Shiva seeking grace to get the child back to him. Lord manifested before him to reveal that he had already married the child and from then on she would continue to stay with him in the same temple. Revealing so he disappeared. Thereafter the sage adapted the child Goddess as his Upasana deity and continued to worship her along with some more deities. Upasana means devotional worship adoring a specific divinity or a god with meditation and unifying one’s consciousness with the divine consciousness. After enshrining Goddess Nithya Kalyani in the same temple, he continued to worship here for many years before taking self-Samadhi. It is generally believed that those whose marriage proposals get hindered, if they visit this temple and prayed the Goddess here, they will get married. Similarly those who pray to beget children too are rewarded accordingly with the grace of the Goddess here. Once the greatest amongst the saints Kanchi Paramacharya visited this temple and commented that the Goddess enshrined here was Bogamokshapradayini.

Another unique feature in this temple is the sanctorum of Lord Saniswarar. He is also seen placed facing east adjacent to the sanctorum of titular Lord Shiva similar as seen only in few temples like Tirunallaaru, Thirukollikkaaval and Thirukollikkaadu. Therefore this temple is meant to relieve ill effects of Lord Saniswarar if one sincerely offer prayers to Lord Chithambareswar along with Lord Saniswarar.

Separate sanctorum for Lord Ekapatha Rudrar and three legged Lord Jwareshwarar can also be seen. By worshiping three legged Lord Jwareshwarar one’s bone related ailments especially the knee and joints pain gets cured so say the devotees who regularly visit this temple. The idols of Lord Shiva in dancing form- Nataraja- surrounded by several Rishis, Sages and Celestial are found in the form of Goshta Devathas (deities) chiselled on the wall built of rock.

It is believed that one has to visit the temple for seven weeks, offering seven unbroken sticks or balls of turmeric to the Goddess Nithya Kalyani, take them back home to make it into a paste to apply on their body or mix with water and drink it to would get their sincere prayers answered. Similarly those who reside outside the town can offer 21 sticks of unbroken ball or sticks of turmeric to the Goddess and follow the same ritual to get their sincere prayers answered. All these are done based on mere faith as has been expressed by many devotees visiting this temple to get their prayers fulfilled.

Name of Lord: Vyagrapureeswarar
Name of Goddess: Nithya Kalyani
Sacred Tank: Vyagrapada and Pathanjali Theertham
Temple Tree: – Kaattaathi and Vanni

Temple Address:
Shri Thappalampuliyur temple
Thiruvarur
Nagapattinam district
Pin: – 611 106

The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Name of the priest and contact No: – 9840036514 (T.P. Venkataraman) or 9942984901(Kalyanaraman) or 9786582271 (Swaminatha Gurukkal)

Navapuliyur temples: No-9:- Perumpuliyur

This temple is situated in a place called Thiruneithaanam in the Thiruvaiyaru to Kallanai route.

The estranged couples, couples in disputes, frequent fights between couples, those with disturbed family life and even those separated by divorce when visit this temple and offer worship to Lord Shiva and Uma Devi , their disputes gets amicably settled like a miracle and they re-join again is the firm belief here. Devotees claim that even those divorce cases under process of litigation ends well when the families offer prayers here. In short this temple is famous for reuniting and removing the misunderstandings of the estranged couples of many sorts. Those who are desirous to have feud free family life visit the temple and offer prayers, they are sure to be blessed so.

The unique feature in this temple is that unlike other temples where the Navagrahas are enshrined facing different directions, here all the Navagrahas are enshrined facing Sun God. When devotees worship Navagrahas Lord Mars here along with the titular Lord of the temple, the ill effects on account of Karmas gets relieved.

Name of Lord: Vyagrapureeswarar
Name of Goddess: Soundaryanayaki

Temple Address:
Shri Vyagrapureeswarar Tiru kovil
Perumpuliyur
Thillasthaanam post
Via Thiruvaiyaru, Tanjavur district
Pin: – 613 203

The temple remains open from 7 AM till 12 Noon and 5 PM till 9 PM. Even though the temple timings are mentioned in the temples, the temple timings are not strictly followed by the priests as the temples are situated in remote villages.  Therefore it is advisable to contact the priests beforehand to confirm the time of visiting the temples.   

Name of the Priest and contact No : – Suresh Gurukkal (9443447826)

Conclusion

Samadhi of Sage Vyagrapada is in Kasi Vishwanathar Temple in Tirupattur and that of Maharishi Pathanjali in Lord Bramhapureeswarar temple. Once the devotee complete their worship in the nineth temple, from there they have to proceed to Bramhapureeswarar temple in Tirupattur, offer prayers to Lord Brahma, then to offer prayers to Maharishi Pathanjali’s Samadhi, visit the Kailasanathar temple to offer prayers to Maharishi Vyagrapada Samadhi and finally go to Srirangam to offer prayers to Lord Mahavishnu in the form of Sri Ranganathar to seek his grace for moksha and then directly go back to their home without visiting any other temple on way. In Bramhapureeswarar temple Lord Brahma himself got his curse absolved by Lord Shiva who initially cursed him to lose the power of creation. After relieving Lord Brahma from the curse, Lord Shiva again bestowed on Lord Brahma the power of creation. Therefore those who carry the book of their own horoscope, place it at the feet of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma both and perform Pooja, they are sure to beget fresh lease of struggle free life, so goes the belief.

The pundits opine that if one remain on fast taking only vegetarian food and perform this Navapuliyur journey in sincerity, honesty and with utmost faith, their prayers for the removal of the ill effects in their life due to the past sins (karma) is sure to be wiped out with the grace of the Trinities and Navagrahas thereby paving way to attain moksha ultimately. One is sure to experience remarkable changes happening in their disturbed life after undertaking the Navapuliyur pilgrimage in the manner as explained above. They will experience mental peace and happiness engulfing them, those whose marriage proposals remained disturbed getting married, those childless couples blessed with child, improvements in financial status, ending of curses accrued out of several factors etc., etc. During the pilgrimage to Navapuliyur, the invisible souls of Maharishi Vyagrapada and Maharishi Pathanjali too reportedly travel with us guiding us from time to time for smooth performing the journey.