Nandeeswarar Temple, Thirunanthikarai, Kanyakumari
|Architectural style:||Dravidian architecture|
Legend / Local stories
A bull in the region was threatening the residents. All prayed to Lord Shiva to contain its violence and the Lord obliged. While pulling, the bull fell in a pit and could not come out. It became the Nandhi of the temple. The installation is designed as if it is in the pit. As the Lord Himself installed it, the place is called Tirunandeeswaram. The symbols of the bull foot and the rope are still visible in the temple.
Nandhi growing in Size:
There is a statue of Nandi which is placed in front Lord Siva. Local fables describe that the bull came from the rock near the temple and took place in front of the Lord. They believe that the bull is growing as the years pass.
Sage Vyakarapadhar worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Sage Vyakarapadhar visited this place and worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Sage Parasurama got relieved of his sin of killing his mother here:
Sage Parasurama sought relief from the sin of killing his own mother by worshipping Lord Nandeeswarar.
The temple is believed to have been built by King Rajaraja Chola. The place is called Thirunanthikarai in honour of an ascetic named Veeranandi, who carved the rock cut cave temple.
The significance of the temple lies in its Nakshatra Mandapam (hall of stars). There are 27 holes called Ganadwaras representing the 27 star regions. Though the temple is the abode of the Lord Shiva, a shrine of Lord Vishnu is also present in the temple facing Lord Shiva. There are shrines for Ganapathy, Vishnu, Sastha and Nagar in the corridor (prakara) of the temple. The temple is built based on Kerala architectural style.
The Vimanam(roof) of the sanctum is conical and tiled. There is pond near by the temple and a garden with varieties of vegetation. There is an ancient rock-cut cave temple situated towards the northern side of this temple. The ancient rock cut cave temple belonging to Jains, where later a Shivalingam was installed is next to this shrine. This temple has inscriptions of the king Varaguna Pandiya (9th century ACE) and Rajaraja Chozhan (11th century ACE).
Temple Opening Time
The temple remains open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Tiruvadhirai in Margazhi (December-January) and Mahasivarathri in Masi (February-March) are the important festivals celebrated in the temple besides special pujas on Mondays (Somavaram) and Pradosha days. The temple is a part of the famed Shivalaya Ottam conducted during Mahasivarathri. On the Mahasivarathri day, devotees run from one Shiva temple to the other. The distance between the temples is 100 km. Even today, this practice is followed by the people in Thirunanthikarai.
As the Nandhi in the temple had been installed by Lord Shiva Himself, it is said that this is choice temple for worship on Pradosha days (the 13th day either from New Moon or full moon days). This is an ideal temple for those seeking to mend their wicked mind with sins of serious crimes as murder committed knowingly or unknowingly. Devotees pay their gratitude to the Lord and Mother by performing abishek and offering vastras – clothes. Generally, devotees go around the Prakaras thrice in the temples. But it is said that even a single round blesses the devotee in this temple with the huge benefit of doing so throughout the year.
How to Reach:
The Temple is located on Marthandam to Pechiparai road at a walkable distance from Thirunanthikarai Bus Stop. Thirunanthikarai is located at about 4 Kms from Kulasekharam, 6 Kms from Pechiparai, 7 Kms from Thirparappu, 9 Kms from Thiruvattaru, 15 Kms from Marthandam, 20 Kms from Kuzhithurai, 20 Kms from Thuckalay, 23 Kms from Eraniel, 21 Kms from Padmanabhapuram, 30 Kms from Colachel, 32 Kms from Nagercoil, 57 Kms from Kanyakumari and 60 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kuzhithurai and Eraniel. Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram.