Thiruvaneshwarar Temple in Ranganathapuram – A Poorattadhi Nakshathira Temple

Next temple is the Thiruvaneshwarar Temple for the Poorattadhi Nakshathira people. People who are born on Poorattadhi Nakshathira are capable of understanding others and have a good physical fitness. They would like to lead a comfortable life.

The Thiruvaneshwarar Temple is located in the place named Ranganathapuram in Thanjavur Dist. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva and he faces East. The goddess is Kamakshi Amman and she graces her devotees by facing South. The temple was built by the King Kochengat Cholan and it is believed to be 1800 years old.

The King Kochengat Cholan is an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and is considered as one among the 63 Nayanmars. It is said that the king built at least 70 Shiva temples and all of them were built at some elevation in order to prevent the entry of the elephants. Many would wonder why the king has built the temples this way. As expected, there is surely an interesting story behind this. There is a place called Thiruvanaikaval near Trichy. This was once a BlackBerry (Jambu) Forest. There was a Shiva Lingam under one of the Jambu trees and that was worshipped by a spider and an elephant. Elephant used to bring water in its trunk from the Cauvery river and perform Abishekam to the Shiva Linga. The spider used to weave the web on the Linga in order to protect it from dust and dry leaves falling on it. The elephant used to consider the web as dirty and remove it every day. But the spider used to weave it again. Soon they fought and both of them died. It is said that the spider was reborn as  Kochengat Cholan. He remembered his previous birth and so he decided that he would build the temples that could not be accessed by the elephants. He considered this Holy work as “Yaanai Ira Thiruppani” (Holy work without Elephant!!). The first temple that he built was the Jambukeshwarar temple in Thiruvanaikaval and the second one is the Thiruvaneshwarar Temple in Ranganathapuram.

The temple’s main shrine is built on the top of the idol of an elephant. So Lord Shiva is also known as Gaja Aarohana Eshwar (Lord who rides on an elephant) and the elephant is considered as Lord Shiva’s Vehicle in this temple. The Vimana of the main shrine is known as the Gaja Kataksha Vimana. The water spring of the temple is called Indira Theertham. As per the Hindu Mythology, it said that Lord Indra’s vehicle Iravatham was in deep penance in this temple. Indra came in search of the elephant and was angry. So he used his Vajrayutham to attack the Iravatham. By the grace of Lord Shiva, the weapon fell to the ground harmlessly and water sprang out from that place. This Theertham is called Vajra Theertham. Later Indra repented for his mistake and sought the forgiveness of the Lord. This incident happened on the Poorattadhi Nakshathira day and on this day, Lord Shiva graced His blessings to Indra and the Iravatham. So it is strongly believed that the people who are born on Poorattadhi Nakshathira would get a trouble-free and happy life by visiting this temple on a Poorattadhi Star day or on their Birthdays.

Yet another special feature of this temple is that His Holiness Sri Chandrasekara Swamigal (Kanchi Periyava) who was one of the great spiritual leaders of 20th Century spent a week in meditation in this temple. A small mandapam was built in this temple in remembrance of this event.

Other deities of this temple include Lord Vinayaka as Valampuri Vinayaka, Lord Murugan with His consorts Valli and Deivanai, Goddess Gajalakshmi, Chandikeshwara, Goddess Mahalakshmi, Lord Brahma and the Navagrahas.

So, Poorattadhi starrers are advised to visit this temple as often as they could or at least once in a year. Worshipping the Lord and the Goddess on this day would surely help them in developing the mental stability and wisdom.

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