Lord Shiva & Lord Shani

Temple History

Dharbharanyeswaraswamy or Dharbaranyeswarar temple at Thirunallar is dedicated to Saneeswaran or Saturn. Thirunallar in Karaikal, in the Union Territory of Pondichery, is one of the more famous and important navagraha temples. It is at a distance of 6 Kms from Karaikal town. This is one of the parivara sthalams.

Shri Darparanyeswarar Temple – ThirunallarThough the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, as Saturn is considered to be also graceful to his devotees, the temple is also famous for Sani worship. The Saturn shrine is in the north side of east Gopura side.. Thirunallar is also known as an important pilgrimage spot of Lord Saturn. The Saturn Shrine is always crowded. As he is the Lord of Makara (Capricorn) and Kumba houses in the Zodiac, their idols also find a place in the shrine. There is also a Golden Crow, the vehicle of Saturn in the shrine.

Though Saneeswaran here is very famous, the presiding deity is Dharbaranyeswarar. His Consort is Bogamartha Poon Mulayal or Praanaambikai. The lingam here is a self manifested Lingam or Swayambhu. The Sthala vruksham is Dharba or grass. This place was a forest of Dharba. Dharba is a type of grass and aranyam means forest and hence the name Dharbaranyeswaraswamy or Dharbaranyeswarar for the Lord. Even today you can see the impression of grass on the lingam here. Thirunallar is one of the “Saptha Vidanga Sthalam”. The idols in these temples depict Lord Shiva performing one of His seven dance forms. It is believed that Lord Shiva imparted the knowledge of the Vedas & Shastras to Brahma here. People pray to Swarna Ganapathy here to overcome financial problems.
Lord Surya was married to Usha or Light. Usha Devi was unable to bear the heat radiated from Surya and left her shadow or Chaya with Suryan while she herself stayed away. Saneeswaran is the son of Chaya Devi and Suryan. The very sigh tof Saneeswaran is dreaded and believed to be destructive. Suryan’s chariot is believed to have been destroyed when Saneeswaran as a baby first opened his eyes and looked at Suryan. Saneeswaran after intense penance on Lord Shiva attained the status of a celestial planet.
It is believed that Saneeswaran became lame when he was kicked by Lord Yama (Sani’s step brother – son of Surya & Usha) in a fit of anger. It is because of this that he is a slow moving planet, taking approximately two and a half years to move from one Zodiac Sign to another. Such a transit known as Sani peyarchi is very important and devotees from all over throng the temple to offer their prayers. Saneeswaran is believed to have a major influence on the course of ones life and also the most feared planet. The unique aspect here is that Saneeswaran is in standing posture with abhayahastha ie hand bestowing blessing.
Everyone experiences sade sati or ezharai sani in their life time. It occurs 2 to 3 three times in a life span as it recurs after approximately 30 years. Even the Lord himself is not exempt from the effect of ezharai sani. Once, Shiva hid himself in a remote cave to meditate and escape the effect of Sani. On his return he was informed by Sani that the Lord had went into hiding in the first place because of the influence of ezharai Sani. An astonished but pleased Shiva, declared to him to be Saneeswaran. No other planet has the tag eswaran to the name.
There is a saying in Tamil “Saniyaipol Koduppavanum illai, saniyaipol keduppavanum illai” which translates to “There is none like Saneeswaran who can give a good life or ruin a life”. Actually, even at the worst of times Saneeswaran only delays but never denies. The experience of going through the ezharai sani makes one mentally very strong. He does not test us more than we can handle. He affects a person based on his past deeds. He is supposed to be Just. Interestingly, the two sons of Suryan, judge us and give us the palan or results based on our karma or deeds. Saneeswaran does this during our lifetime and Yama does that after ones death.
According to a Legend, King Nala had not washed his feet properly while doing puja. Saneeswaran who was waiting for such an opportunity for about 12 years, immediately caught hold of him. This has probably prompted the tradition to wash our feet before entering the house. Getting back to the story of King Nala, under the influence of ezharai sani, he lost his kingdom, separated from his wife and children, had health problems and wandered around like a beggar. As per the advice of Bharadwaja muni he worshipped Dharbaranyeswarar at Thirunallar, after a dip in the holy tank here. It was then he was relieved of the effects of Sani. After this, Shiva asked Saneeswaran to be here and bless all his devotees.

Shri Darparanyeswarar Temple – ThirunallarA majority of devotees throng the temple for relief from the effects Saturn in their life. They take an oil bath in the Nalatheertham, offer prayers to Kalitheertha Vinayaka, break coconuts and worship Baghwan Sani the planet Saturn.
It is the staunch belief and experience too that those afflicted by the adverse effects of Saturn get a relief after praying to the Saturn in the Darbaranyeswarar temple. They also come here for repentance from sins, curing of diseases, getting oratory skills. They pray to Darbaranyeswarar for peaceful marriage alliances. Above all they get total mental peace.

Apart from daily worship services which are performed five times daily, Darbaranyeswarar Shani Temple hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. On Tamil New Year's day (Tamil Puthandu), (marked by the transition of the Sun from Pisces to Aries according to the Indian astrological system) Tyagaraja is taken in a procession. An eighteen day festival is performed in the Tamil month of Vaikashi (when the sun resides in the sign of Taurus). Festivals related to Nataraja (the Lord of Dance) are held during the month of Aani (Gemini). Several special services are performed to the Emerald Lingam on the full moon night in the month of Purattasi (Leo). Besides, Navaratri, Kartikai Deepam and Panguni Uthiram are also celebrated here with much devotion.

The great event in the temple is the Saturn Transit day festival. Saturn transit means his travel from one Rasi to the next in the Zodiac circle. The transit will be favourable to some and unfavourable to others depending on the position of Saturn in their respective horoscopes and the effects would be in accordance with this fact. The crowd naturally would be unmanageable on such an occasion. People throng in thousands to worship Sani Baghwan on this day.
The 18 day Brammotsavam beginning on the Uthiratadhi star day in the Tamil month Vaikasi (May-June) is an important festival. On the last day, there will be a programme known as the Lord gracing a darshan to a shephered. The Poornima festival in the Purattasi (September-October), each friday, Pradosha days (13th day either from new moon or full moon day) are very devotionally observed. The Tamil and English new year days, Karthika Deepa, Deepavali, Pongal are the days when special pujas are performed in the temple.


Additional Information

The temple board is organizing choulties and rooms on nominal price for the accommodation of the devotees. Private hotels and lodges are available in Karaikal.

Another famous Kumbakonam temple is just 55.8 km from here.

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Pondicherry Road Transport Development Corporation and other private buses are available. Taxis, Auto-rickshaws and Local buses are also available for Local transportation.

Karaikal Bus Station and Karaikal Railway Stations are just 5.8 km away from the temple.

Tiruchirapalli International Airport is 145 km and Chennai International Airport is 285 kms.
  • Morning: 6.00am to 1.00pm Evening: 4.00pm to 8.00pm
  • Contact Person: Executive Officer
  • Contact Number: +91 ( 04368 ) 236530, 236504