Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja ThirukkoilNagercoil, a peaceful and picturesque city located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is a neighbor of the bustling Kanyakumari and is situated close to the tip of the Indian Peninsula. Nagercoil is an interesting place to visit. Though, the city does not have too many (popular) places of interest to attract visitors. On the other hand, the whole city itself is a must-visit place as it has been endowed extravagantly by Mother Nature all around.
Must Read: Tourism in Nagercoil
Therefore, people who visit Kanyakumari make it a point to visit this scenic town which is like an instant relief for people from concrete jungles! The quiet city is an unmissable name among the pilgrims as Nagercoil is the proud home of the renowned Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja Thirukkoil. Legend has it that the city of Nagercoil gets its name from the Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja Thirukkoil, located in the city center.
Location and Significance of Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja ThirukkoilIt is a fact that a trip to the popular Kanyakumari will be incomplete without a layover in the calm city of Nagercoil, the administrative central office of the Kanyakumari district. Located just 19.9 km away from Kanyakumari (via NH47), Nagercoil is known for the famous Nagaraja Temple, which receives local, national and international visitors, throughout the year. Originally called as Kottar, the Nagercoil city got its name from the Nagaraja Temple while the former name slowly vanished.
There are no proper records or known history is found regarding the age of this temple. But then, the Mahendragiri mountain in the district is mentioned as the habitation of Nagas in the Valmiki Ramayana. Based on the literary acknowledgments, it can be assumed that the source of Naga connection of the region dates back to ancient times. As the name suggests, Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja Thirukkoil is a Hindu temple that is dedicated to the Lord Nagaraja - serpent king. Nagaraja, respectfully called as Sri Nagaraja Swami is a swayambu murthi (self-manifested) in this temple. The Nagercoil Nagaraja Temple is esteemed as an ideal place of worship for people who face inauspicious aspects of snake planets.
It is important to note that usually there are no dedicated temples built for mounts or vahanas like Nandi the bull - Lord Shiva, Garuda the eagle-like creature - Lord Vishnu, Mayil the peacock - Lord Muruga and Moonjuru the mouse - Lord Ganesha. Opposed to the beliefs, Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja Thirukkoil is a temple that is dedicated to the Nagas (serpent). The spiritual thought behind the worship of Nagas is that serpent move through the dirt and dust, but still nothing touches, hurts, sticks or stays on its body. It is believed that although we, the people exist among an atmosphere of family, loved ones, materials and so on and they should be uninfluenced by the outcomes of such spirit and should observe the act of avoiding emotional involvement and personal identity.
The main deity of the Nagercoil Nagaraja Temple is Nagaraja who offers his blessings from the sanctourm sanctorum with a graceful five headed posture. Darnendran (a male snake) and Padmavathi (a female snake) are the protections or doorkeepers (dwarapalakas) of this temple. As the securities of this temple are snakes, the garbha gruha of this temple is provided with thatched roof - house roof made with a plant material (as straw). Every year, during the Tamil month of Aadi, the thatched roof is renewed by the temple administration. Furthermore, the garbha gruha is a surface that is made of loose material consisting of grains of rock and consists of moisture and it is offered as prasadham to the devotees.
Lord Kasi Viswanathar, Kannimoola Ganapathi and Anantha krishnar are found in separate shrines here in this temple. It is unique to note that the 'Arthajama poojai' (last puja of the day) is performed to Lord Ananhakrishna and not to the presiding deity of Nagaraja. What is more, the kodimaram or dhavajastambha (the holy flag post) is dedicated to Sri anantha krishna only, with Nagaraja being the main deity! The temple also houses a beautiful garden which is full of mesmerizing Nagalinga flowers. There is a sannadhi for Goddess Durga and it is found amidst a holy natural spring and hence the goddess here is referred as 'Theertha Durgai'. Devotees facing difficulties due to the planetary positions of Rahu - Kethu, visit the temple every Tuesday to have goddess darshan during Raahu kalam slot. The goddess Theertha Durgai is fondly called as 'Ammachi Durga', with all respect.
It is believed that Arulmigu Sri Nagaraja Thirukkoil was earlier a Dravidian (Tamil) Jain site, which subsequently became a Hindu temple with Nagaraja as the presiding temple. This is supported by the fact that images of Lord Mahavira (Vardhamana), Tirthankaras and Lord Parshvanath are found on the columns here. Devotees can still see the idols of Lord Mahavira and Lord Parshvanath in the temple. The entranceway of this temple is reminds and resembles Chinese architecture. Some of the other deities of this temple include Nagamani Bhoothathan, Lord Balamuruga and so on.
Quick Facts:Location and Contact Details:
Sri Nagarajaswami temple, Nagercoil – 629 001, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu
Phone Number: +91-4652-232420, 9443992216
Primary Deity (Moolavar): Nagaraja Swamy
Goddess: Theertha Durgai
Temple Tree (Sthala Virutcham): Odavalli
Temple Tank (Theertham): Naga Theertham
Agamam (Pooja): Vaishnava and Saiva Procedures
4:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
People perform Abhishekam to the serpent lord by pouring milk and turmeric powder and they offer paal paayasam (milk porridge) as naivedyam. Devotees offer or install small Naga idols in the temple complex as a part of their prayers.