THE TEMPLE AND THE HOLY TANK
Since the principal deity Darbharanyeswara (Lord Siva) his consort Praneswari (Shri Ambal), Shaniswar and the several other gods and goddesses enshrined here have the power to offer benedictions to the devotees, hundreds of them visit this temple daily. There is the additional attraction of several sacred tanks which exist here and which are said to, possess healing powers literally as well as metaboically.
A beautiful Rajagopuram in five tiers resing to the sky and adorned with an abundance of terracotta sculpture as we approach the temple. As one enters and perambulates round the eircumambulatory path this shirne of Kalathinathar and Karpakavinayakar are seen which are readily worshipped. The images of the four great Shive Saint besides those of the 63 – Nayanmars are represented at the turn of the southeren Prakara of the temple, and noteworthy feature here is the image of Nala house in a separate shrine at the end of the gallery of the 63 – Nayanmars.
The image of Lord Shaniswara is seen in a graceful standing pose housed in niche on the left side of the Lord’s Sannithi. He is shedding benevolence as he is wearing the aspect of Anugrahamum and a Perennial stream of Bhaktas throng here to worship Him and obtain His grace throughout the year on important festival days.
According to legends, Shani is the son of the Sun [the Chief of the solar system] by Chhaya, the shadow of Samine his wife. He was ordered by his father to take his pace amongst the planets and engage himself in meeting out joys and sorrows to mortals in proportion to the merits and demerits earned by them in their past lives.
Shaniswara is very much sought after by countless millions of devotees on the day when the Planet Saturn [worshipped as Shaniswara] transits front one zoditical sign to another. This day is great occasion here and abhishekas, archhnas, poojas, aradhanas and naivedyas are offered to the Lord continuously the whoe day for mitigation of the scorching effects his influence produces on those to pass through Shani Dasa in their lives.
There are several tanks here which are considered highly sanctified. They are respectively Brahma Tirtha, Vani Tirtha, Hamsa Tirtha, Agasthia Tirtha, Nala Tirtha, etc., The Sthala Vriksha here is the Darbha plant [Kusa grass].
The Lord Darbharanyeswara is offered pujas six times a day and Lord Shaniswara five times a day.
Shaniswara has also other names such as Mandam [dullard Pangu[lame] Kartam [biack man] etc. Since the takes nearly three decadeo complete one orbit round the sun he is reckoned as a very slow moving planet. The name Sanaichara means slow moving. And his vehicle is the crow the familiar black brid. The colour of his graments is also black.
According to astrology, Saturn is the Lord of the houses. Makhara[Capricorn] and Kumbha [Aquarius]. He is exalted in the house Thula[Libra] and is Ayurkaraka or in other words, governs our life span, Sesame or the gingelli is his favourite seed and cooked rice mixed with sesame is the favourite naivedana.
The Siloatatnakara mentions the eagle as his vehicle. It is also said that lamps fed with gingelly oil and lighted before him reduces the intensity of his malelife and saturday being his day in the week the offerings on that day of gingelly oil fed lamps and gingelly-rice bring to the devotee great virtues besides getting the saturnine influence mitigated if they happen to be affiliated by it.
Saturn as well known as one of the 9 planets and Is the biggest in the solar system next only to Jupiter. Its diameter is 71,500 miles and is of a lighter density than the earth. It orbits the sun taking about 29.5 years to take one full round, passing through the 12 sign of the zodiac in its stride. It is 886 million miles away from the Sun. And it takes 10.15 hours to make in rotation on its own axis.