Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Temple (or) Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Thirunallar in Karaikal district of Pondicherry. Thirunallar Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Temple is popularly known as ‘Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple’. This temple is considered as one of the Navagraha temples, and also dedicated to God Saneeswarar (Saturn). Navagraha temples are the nine temples dedicated to Navagrahas (nine planets or nine celestial bodies).
The Navagrahas are believed to be the transmitters of Universal, quintessential energy or power. The Navagrahas are closely associated with the fixed stars in the Zodiac. Each Navagraha temples are located at different places in and around Kumbakonam sector. The Navagraha temples are considered to be the best destination to get rid of from the influence of planets. And most of these Navagraha temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva is worshipped as the main deity. The only Navagraha temple dedicated to one of the Grahas (celestial bodies) is Suryanaar temple. The Navagraha Temples are:
- Suryanar Kovil (or) Sun Temple – Surya (Sun)
- Agneeswarar Temple, Kanjanur – Shukra (Venus)
- Kailasanathar Temple, Thingalur – Chandra (Moon)
- Vaitheeswaran Temple – Mangala (Mars)
- Thirunageswaram Naganatha Swamy Temple – Rahu
- Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Temple,Thirunallar – Sani (Saturn)
- Naganathaswamy Temple, Keezhaperumpallam – Kethu
- Abathsahayeswarar Temple, Alangudi – Guru (Jupiter)
- Sri Swetharanyeswara Swamy Temple, Thiruvengadu Budhan Sthalam – Budha (Mercury)
The presiding deity of Thirunallar Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Temple is Lord Shiva, worshiped by the name Lord Dharbaranyeswarar. The deity Lord Dharbaranyeswarar is believed to be made of dharba grass. The center icon of the temple Lord Saturn is considered as the door keeper of the temple. The Thirunallar Saneeswaran Temple is revered as Paadal Petra Stalam and hymns were sung by Appar, Sundarar, and Thirugnana Sambanthar(a young Saiva poet-saint of Tamil Nadu who lived around the 7th century CE).
According to the epics and legends the planet Saturn colonize in each Zodiac sign for seven and half years and this is considered as a troublesome time which adds a lot of challenges for the individual who going through it. The resentful planet Saturn is worshiped first by the devotees before worshiping the presiding deity Lord Shiva. Saturday is considered to be the most sacred day for Lord Saneeswaran.
The temple remains open in the morning from 06.00 AM to 01.00 PM and in the evening from 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM.
- Brahmotsavam Festival – May or June
- Poornima Festival – September or October
- Karthikai Festival – November or December
- Diwali Festival – October or November
- Pongal Festival – January
Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Pondicherry Tourism & Transport Development Corporation and other private buses are available. Karaikal is connected directly from Chidambaram, Mayiladurai, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Thiruchirappalli, Thiruvarur, Velankanni, and Nagappattinam.
The nearest Railway Station is Nagore, which is about 10 Km away.
The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli which is about168 Km.
- Brihadeeswarar Temple
- Naganathaswamy Temple
- Apatsahayesvarar Temple
- Swamimalai Murugan Temple
- Kethu Temple
- Thingalur Temple
- Vellai Pillaiyar Temple