Nageswara (also spelt as Nageshwara) temple, a Shivastalam
located in the temple town of Kumbakonam is known for its sculptural work,
Vimanams and Mandapams.
It is believed that Surya is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here to regain his lost splendour and hence the temple tank is named after Lord Surya. Also known as "Vilvavanam", it is believed that a Vilva leaf from the pot carrying the celestial nectar (associated with the Kumbheswara temple) had drifted away and landed here. Aadi Seshan is said to have worshipped here and Lord Shiva is said to have blessed him with the might to bear the weight of the earth, here.
About The Temple
Possibly the oldest in Kumbakonam, the Nageshwara temple, one of the finest early Chola temples, noted for the quality of its sculpture. This temple is believed to have been completed during the reign of Parantaka I (907-c.940). Though the temple is small but it is known for its marvellous architecture that exceeds many of the other Chola temples. The Nritta Sabha, or the dance hall, has an elevated Mandapam with a flight of steps. The 12 zodiac signs, 2 mammoth horses, 4 elephants all in stone adorn the Nataraja shrine
The principal shrine to Lord Shiva, standing in a country is connected to a Mandapam (also spelt as Mandapa). The main niches on the sanctum wall contain sculptures; on the north, "Dakshinamurti" ("South-Facing" Shiva as teacher), on the west Ardhanarishvara (male Shiva and female Shakti in one figure) and Brahma on the south. Joining them are high-relief near-life-size sculptures of unidentified figures, perhaps worshippers, donors or royalty. Within the courtyard, a shrine to Nataraja features rearing horses and wheels, with tiny figures as spokes.
The Nataraja shrine here is shaped in the form of a chariot, and the shrine dedicated to the Sun God is of great sculptural significance. So imposing is the shrine to Nataraja, that the hymns of Appar are addressed to Aadalvallar of Kudandai Keezhkottam in awe.
The Sun's rays fall on Nageswara in the sanctum on the 11th through the 13th day of the Tamil month Chithirai (Aries). Lord Shiva here is also known as "Paataala Beejanathar". One can see other shrines dedicated to Pralayakaala Rudrar and Kaali (also spelt as Kali) in the temple complex.
Services And Festivities
The deity is offered five worship services everyday. The annual Brahmotsavam is observed in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April).
Air: The nearest airport is at
Rail: Kumbakonam is on the Chennai-Tiruchi line.
Road: Kumbakonam is one of the important pilgrim centres of Tamil Nadu. It is well connected by road with the major cities and towns the state. For local transportation taxis and auto rickshaws are also available.
Accommodation is available at the economy class hotels and choultries in Kumbakonam.