Friday, March 18, 2016

Sri Naganathaswamy Temple (Rahu Stalam), Tirunageswaram – Temple Architecture

Sri Naganathaswamy Temple (Rahu Stalam), Tirunageswaram – Temple Architecture
The temple is located on the southern bank of the river Kaveri 7 km from Kumbakonam. The temple campus encompasses exclusive shrines for Naganatha Swamy (Shiva), Pirayani Amman (Parvathi), Giri-Gujambigai (Parvathi) and Rahu with his divine spouses. Goddess Girigujambal has a separate shrine inside the temple campus as it is believed that the goddess is in thavam kolam (mode of deep penance).

The temple covers an area of 630 ft. (190 m) South-North and 800 ft. (240 m) East-West with concentric sub lanes and four major streets around the four sides. There are four gateways along the four sides with entry towers (gopuram) and a surrounding compound wall. The temple structure begins at the Central Gopuram with a long Praharam (pathway) immediately thereafter. There is continuous Mandapam structure and in its South-West Corner there is Sri Rahu Bhagavan Sannathi.

In the broad pathway on the third precinct, there is a flower garden on the northern side. The Vinayaka shrine, Bali Peetam, Nandikeswara hall and flag post are located in the eastern entrance. This Ganapathy shrine is said to have been installed by the great saint Sadasiva Brahmendra along with a Ganapathy Yantra.

An inscription in the temple bears testimony to this fact. On the southern side there is the water head with four Mandapams on around with a 100 pillar Mandapam in a temple -car style. There are artistic features on its eastern wall. On remaining Area there is a big Car Parking available for the devotees.

The second precinct has a granite floor and enshrines the Rahu shrine in the north eastern corner. The path leading to the main shrine in the second precinct has a hall decorated with Nayak style pillars with yalis. The hall was constructed by Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of successive Nayak rulers, Achuthappa Nayak (1560–1614) and Raghunatha Nayak (1600–34). In the front hall on the eastern side, artistic pillar with "older and nine horses" design is found, while similar pillars are found on the southern side as well.

There is a hall in the northern side with pillars decorated with yalis used for staging idols during the festive occasions. The renovation work in the western walls was done during 1929 with artistic inscriptions. In the path way to main shrine, there are art works depicting Veda Nayakas, king Sambumali and penance pose of Ambal. The Dwarapalaka images on each side at the entrance of Naganathar shrine are made of Chunam clay.

The sculptures and arts of the temple reminds about the architecture of the Chola Kings and the Nayaka Kings.

Temple (Holy) Tree: 
Shenbaga Tree (Champak)
Sacred Tank (Theertham):
There are 12 Theerthams;
1. Surya
2. Yama
3. Brahma
4. Chandra
5. Agni
6. Durga
7. Gowthama
8. Paraasara
9. Indra
10. Bruhu
11. Kanva
12. Vashista

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