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Sri Agnishwarar Temple, Kanjanoor

Sri Agnishwarar Temple, Kanjanoor

The Agnishwarar Temple is also one of the sacred abodes of Mahadeva, a “Shivastalam” temple in the village of Kanjanoor, 18 kms north-east of Kumbakonam in the Thiruvidaimarudur Taluk of Thanjavur Dt, Tamilnadu, India. It is one of the temples under the hereditary trustee of Madhurai Adheenam.

The glory of this temple, much like all other Shivathalams, is unspeakable, commanding highest reverence. The temple is witness to many rare incidents of divine plays, and especially the constant presence of Shiva’s surrendered devotees. All these make the “Agnishwarar” temple a sacred rare energy field, a must visit space for all.

As Lord Brahma, the god of creation prostrated and prayed at this temple, getting his prayers fulfilled, it is called “Kanjanoor”, meaning Brahman.

Lord Shukra Bhagwan at Agnishwarar Temple of Madurai Aadheenam

Lord Shukra Bhagwan Sanctum (Garbha Mandir)

Kanjanoor is considered to be 36th in the series of the “Thevara Sthalams” located in Chola Nadu north of the river Kaveri. And is also one of the nine Navagraha sthalas i.e. temples linked to the 9 planets  in the Thanjavur area located in the Kaveri Delta region dedicated to planet Venus, called Sukra. Unlike other Navagraha temples, the main deity, “Agnishwarar” in the form of lingam (cylindrical column) depicts Lord Sukra (venus).

The Temple

The presiding deity is Sukra (venus). However, the main deity in the temple is that of “Agnishwarar” Lord Shiva. In concordance with the Saivite belief that Shiva is all-pervading, Sukra is believed to be located within the stomach of the idol of Shiva.

And His consort is Devi Karpagambal who is seated in her own sanctum. Her deity is charged with such radiant beauty that only can be experienced by having her direct vision (darshan).

Said to be 1400 years old this grand temple was built by the Medieval Cholas and renovated by the kings of the Vijayanagar empire. Located in a beautiful, serene hamlet embraced with ample beauty of mother nature and vast green fields, the temple stands as a lifeline for the village and surrounding places.

Devi Karpagamba, Epitome of All Beauty and Devotion

The temple has a 5-tier Rajagopuram (main gateway tower) surrounded by two prakarams (closed precincts of a temple). The temple is revered by the verses of Appar, one of 4 most prominent of the 63 Nayanmars (tamil saiva devotional saints) and hence referred as “Paadal Petra Sthalam”, marked by Lord Shiva.

The Legacies

Lord Brahma (the god of creation, one of the holy trinities of vedic gods) is said to have been blessed with a divine vision of Devi Parvati’s sacred marriage with Lord Shiva here. Also, Agni (the god of fire) is said to have worshiped Shiva here, hence the coined name “Agnishwarar”.

This shrine is also referred to as “Palaasavanam”, “Brahmapur” and “Agnisthalam”. There are also shrines to Maanakkanjaarar Nayanmar and Kalikkaamar here. Images of Agnishwarar and Karpagambal are also seen in the Varadarajar Temple at Kanjanoor.

Sri Agnishwarar, Presiding Deity worshiped by H.H Srila Sri Paramahamsa Nithyananda, 293rd pontiff

Several legends of events in the life of Haradatta Sivacharyar pertain to this shrine. Haradatta Sivacharyar of Vaishnava origins – originally known as Sudarshanar was born here and went through intense penance (tapas) to prove his unalloyed devotion for Lord Shiva to his fellow Vaishnavites (the followers of Lord Vishnu). Proving the power of his devotion, Haradatta seated himself on an iron stool in the middle of fire to prove Lord Siva as the Ultimate Almighty in this place. There is a separate sanctum dedicated to him in this temple and the linga (Shiva’s column) which he worshiped.  This sacred space radiates the intense energy of a surrendered devotee of Shiva, and bestows us the the ultimate blessing of “feeling connection” with Mahadeva.

A Wall Relief of "Dakshinamurti Scene Upadesha to Haridattar"

It is said that Haradatta Sivacharyar composed many authoritative Saiva Siddhanta works in Sanskrit here and established “Shivaparathva” here. And so, he has been befittingly praised with the name “Aradattar Periya Mahan”. The temple walls carry this history through the beautifully-hued images vividly showing the happenings of all the events.

Images that describe the stories relating to Haradatta Sivacharyar, inscriptions from the Chola and Vijayanagar periods, and stone images of Natarajar and Sivakami are etched wonderfully in this temple.

Another historical incident making this “Shivasthalam” so rare and unearthly is that Lord Shiva himself blessed Paraasara Muni, a great sage who is the author of Vishnu Purana, with a vision of His cosmic dance – “Mukti Tandavam (dance of liberation)” here. Paraasara Muni is also father of Srila Sri Veda Vyasa, who ascribed the great Indian epic Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagavatam.

Stone images of Natarajar (dancing Lord Shiva) and Sivakami are seen in this temple in the Nataraja Sabha referred to as the “Mukti Mandapam”. The Shiva Tandavam here is referred to as “Mukti Tandavam”.

Interesting Marvels

Wall Sculpture saying "Sri Haridattar Saiva Sthabanam"

One of the noticeable marvels of the temple is that the Vilva leaf (Bilwa Leaf) seen here is 5 leafs in number, which is quite unique; normally being 3 leafs.

Thiru Navakkuarasar (meaning king of divine speech) i.e. Appar sang hymns on Shiva here on his way to Tirukkodikka from Edirkolpaadi.

Arunagirinadhar sung Thirupugazh on Lord Murugan, the beloved son of Lord Shiva and Devi. The temple is adorned with such eye-locking wall murals art that show Lord Murugan’s life’s incidents along with Lord Shiva and other divine energies.


Richly hued wall mural displaying Lord Murugan

Temple Facts

Enchanting mural of Lord Shiva with Murugan playing on His lap

Location: Kanjanoor near Kumbhakonam (Chola-North of Kaveri)

Lord Shiva worshiped as : Agnishwarar

Ambal – Devi Karpagambal, the consort of Agnishwarar Shiva

Vrisksham (sacred tree)– Purasamaram

Teertham (sacred water body) – Agni Teertham, Kaveri

Pathikam (10 glorifying verses) by– Appar

 

Temple Festivals

A festival to honor Haradatta Sivacharyar is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai every year. Besides, Mahasivaratri, Aadi Pooram, Navaratri, and Arudra Darisanam are also celebrated with much importance.

Temple Timings

Temple is open for divine darshan from 6.00 am to 12.00 pm and 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm

How to reach Agnishwarar Temple, Kanjanoor

On the northern banks of Cauveri kingdom in the zone of Kumbaakonam, this Kanchanoor temple is very near to Thiruvavaduthurai and is located about 20 km from Mayiladuthurai in the vicinity of Tiruvaavaduturai, Suryanar Koyil and Tirumangalakkudi, near Tiruvidaimarydur and Kumbhakonam. Bus facilities are available from Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai. Aduthurai Railway Station is the nearest railway station.