Naganathaswamy Temple, Keezhperumpallam – Legends
Keezhperumpallam is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to shadow planet Ketu. Kethu is an Asura by birth, when he was young he was known as Swarnabanu. His grandfather was Kasiba munivar, his father was Vibarachithu and his mother was Simgigai. As his mother was Simgigai he was called as Simgikeyan. Both the Devas and Asuras wanted to get Amirtham from the Parkadal (Milk Ocean). Thirumal as in the shape of Mohini was distributing Amirtham to the Devas.
At that time Swarnabanu took divine shape sitting between the sun and moon received the Amirtham and ate it. This was informed to Mohini by the sun and moon. Mohini was keeping a long spoon in her hand and she hit the Asuras head heavily. The Asuras head and the body were separated. The head part goes to Lord Kethu. His Head became a dark colored snake as Kethu. Both Raghu and Kethu had Thapas and got the status of planets.
Formerly there were only seven planets. By adding Raghu and Kethu the Universe has nine planets and people worship them. As Kethu is red in color, Kethu is decorated with red flowers red colored dresses. In the Zodiac he does not act independently. Ketu is generally referred to as a “shadow” planet. He is considered as Tail of the Demon Snake. Kethu prayed to Naganathaswami and was blessed and rid of his sins by Lord Siva. It is rare to find Kethu with his head. At this sthala, he can be seen worshipping Lord Siva with his folded hands held high.
Vasuki performed penance seeking Lord Shiva pardon:
During the churning of the milk ocean, Vasuki the serpent used as the rope for the purpose got exhausted and split its venom. Devas ran to Lord Shiva for protection from the impact of the spreading poison. Lord swallowed the poison and protected the world. Vasuki felt that it had caused Lord Shiva to swallow its poison and performed penance seeking Lord’s pardon. Lord gave darshan to Vasuki and admired its sense of sacrifice. Vasuki begged Lord Shiva to stay in the place. Lord obliged Vasuki and stayed here named after the serpent – Naga – Naganathar.