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The Navagragha Temples of Tamil Nadu, Shani

Shani or Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, and the second largest.

In Roman mythology, Saturn is the God of Agriculture. I n Greek mythology, he is the father of Jupiter and is the root of the English word ´Saturday´.

Saturn has been known since prehistoric times. It is popularly believed that Saturn casts an evil eye on events. But it is not true. It has the capacity to  bestow unlimited favours on the deserving. But is also punishes the evil.

One of his legs is said to be shorter than the other. Hence, he is said to walk with a slight limp. Shani walks slowly and is named Shaniswara. He is said to be dark and short. His Chariot is drawn by eight horses. In Tamil Nadu, his vehicle is said to be the crow.


This is the only temple that is dedicated to Lord Sani or Saturn. Tirunallar is about 50 km from Kumbakonam. The main deity is Adipurishhwara or Naleshwara. His consort is Pranambikai.

It is customary to first worship Shiva, then Ambal and lastly Shani. By praying at this temple, the unmarried will soon get married, the childless will have children, and the jobless will get jobs. Cure from major illness like epilepsy and leprosy is possible. As Shani is in charge of longevity and death, the devotee prays here for a long life. Alternatively, one can pray to Yama, the Death God, who is Shani´s elder brother.

Those unable to visit the temple, pray at home on Saturdays after lighting a lamp.

At the time of Sani Peyarchi when  Saturn transits between zodiac signs, literally millions throng this shrine. The legendary King Nala is said to have been relieved of his afflictions, which were due to the malefic influence of Saturn, after worship in this temple. The temple tank, the Nala theertam is believed to wash off all kinds of misfortune and afflictions. 


This temple is about one and half kilometers from Swamimalai and 5km from Kumbakonam.it is believed to have been built in the seventh century.

The presiding deity is Karpardeeshwarar. His consort is Perianayaki. The entrance gopuram is in five tiers. There is a very big shrine for Shiva as Bhairava. This temple is housed in about eight acres and has many smaller shrines. Shani is in a separate shrine facing Surya. Though not as popular as Tirunallar, Shani is equally powerful here.

Bathing in the Cauvery which flows nearby is said to wash away one´s sins.

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