27 March 2012

Pongu Saneeswarar - Agneeswarar Temple - Thirukollikadu

We had planned two days stay in Mannargudi [16th and 17th of March, 2012] and these two days turned out to be very hectic - visiting a few temples in and around Mannargudi. Our first priority was to attend the Mandabhishekam of our "Kula Deivam temple- Sri Kamakshi Amman of Kunniyur " and then we had planned to go to Patteeswaram Temple, which we completed the first day[16th]. Besides these two temples, we thought we could squeeze in some precious time to visit a few other temples nearby.   

I should also mention here that we owe our thanks to the hired tourist cab driver, R. Vivek Vivekanandan [ Mobile: 76394 13191]  who was very kind enough to take us to these temples in record time. Being a good driver,  he made us feel so full of ease and it was a pleasure to be with him during these two days of our temple visit in Mannargudi.  It was Vivek [cab driver], who suggested the "Pongu Saneewaran temple.  And since we had some free time in the early morning hours, we were on our way in no time!  For all those who wish to travel in comfort and ease, you may hire this taxi driver.  He is sure to make you trip fruitful and enjoyable.

Being saturday, and expecting a huge crowd, we started early in the morning and headed for this sacred temple dedicated to Saneeswarar.  The temple situated very near Mannargudi, Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, is perpetually crowded especially on saturdays, and you can find the pilgrims from all over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, throng this temple, standing in long queues, extending over a kilometre, waiting for the temple to open.  Numerous devotees are seen to throng this temple during the festivals to offer their prayers to the deity- Lord Saneeswarar. 

This is purely a shrine dedicated for Saturn [Saneeswarar].  
The serenity has an aura of spirituality at Thirukollikadu, a sleepy hamlet on the Mannargudi -Thiruthuraipoondi road in the agrarian heartland of Tamilnadu.

When we reached the temple, there was not that much crowd - though you could find the devotees slowly finding their way into the temple.  The temple priest was good enough to let us have darshan of the Lord at very close quarters.  After having had good darshan of the Lord at very close quarters, we emerged from the temple with a sense of sheer satisfaction....and being saturday, it was all the more fulfilling for having gone to this temple in Thirukollikadu. 

Here is a small re-cap of our visit to this ancient temple.  

About the Temple: 

Pongu Sanneeswarar Sannadhi in
Left Corner -Thirukollikadu
Agneeswarar temple at Thirukkollikadu or Kallikadu is more commonly known as Pongu Saneeswaran Temple.  The Presiding deity of this temple, Agneeswarar,  is also known as Thirukollikadar or Theevanna Nathar. " Thee"  means fire and vanna means colour in Tamil.  True to the name, the Lingam here is slightly reddish in colour. The Lingam here is one of the 64 Swayambhu [self-manifested] Lingams.  His consort is Mirudupaadanayagi or Menthiruvadiamman or Panjinmelladiaal.  All the
names of the Goddess here mean – the one with soft feet. 

Thirukollikadu Temple-Front View
This is a padal petra sthalam and Thirugnana Sambandar has sung in praise of Thirukollikadar.  The sthala vruksham at this temple is Vanni.

Another View of the Temple

Agni was under the grip of ezharai sani when he had lost some of his power due to the following reasons.  Agni had taken part in the yaga conducted by Dakshan [Lord Shiva’s father-in-law], whose primary intention of conducting the yaga was to insult Shiva. Agni had also been afflicted with dosha when the wax palace was burnt with the intent to kill the Pandavas.  Agni prayed to Lord Shiva here to get back his power.  Lord Shiva obliged him here and is hence known as Agneeswarar.

Pongu Sanni in Agneeswarar Temple-
There is a story behind how this temple is so important for Saneeswaran worship.  Saneeswaran is actually a just planet that has effects on the person according to his karmas [deeds]. However, people misunderstood and dreaded the very mention of the name.  Ezharai Sani or the seven and a half years period when the planet casts its malefic effect on the native of the horoscope is a dreaded period.  Similarly ashtama Sani is also feared.  Saneeswaran did not like this and he appealed to the Lord that he should not be blamed or held responsible for doing his assigned task.  Lord Shiva was pleased with Saneeswaran and conferred him the title Saneeswaran here.  No other planet has the tag Easwaran attached.    He directed Saneeswaran to stay back at this temple as Pongu Sani and bless the devotees.
Agni Theerthan - Thirukollikadu
After he was relieved of the Sani dosham at Thirunallar, Nalan came here and sought the blessing of the Lord.  He was re-united with his family and got back his royal status after worshipping here. King Harichandra is also said to have bathed at this sthalam and was finally relieved of his dohsam by the grace of Kollikadu Sani Bhagavan. The river where he bathed is still named after him.

Saneeswaran is present here seated on his vehicle – the crow, as anugraha murthy [one showering his blessings] with his lower right hand showing abhaya hastham.  He holds a plough in his upper right hand.   He is holding a flag with crow embossed on it, in his left hand.  Opposite to Pongu Saneeswarar is Bhairavar, who is Saneeswaran’s guru.  There is a shrine for Lakshmi next to Pongu Saneeswarar.  Murugan is present here with his consorts Valli and Deivayanai.  He holds a bow in his hands instead of the Vel [spear]. The Navagrahas are usually seen as Vakramurthys, ie they face different directions. The Navagrahas here are uniquely placed.  They form a shape └┘here.

Saturn is called Pongu Sani and Mangala Sani as he blesses the devotees abundantly.

Thiru-Chitramballam Part-I in
Thirukollikadu Temple

Thiru-Chitramballam-Part-II in 
Thirukollikadu Temple
Only on Saturdays, the temple remains open even in the afternoon. It is widely believed that worshiping in this temple will improve one’s social status. There is a belief that the  devotees will earn through legal and righteous means and will also regain any property or wealth that was earlier lost due to deceit. 

There are inscriptions in this temple which suggest that this ancient temple which was once built out of bricks, got its present granite structure during the medieval period of Chola reign, about 1500 years ago.

Saneeswara Moola Mantra:

Aum pram prim praum sah shanaisharaya namah.

Saneeswara Gayathri:

Pangupadhaya vidmahe Surya putraaya dheemahi, thanno Mandha prachodayath


This temple is located about 25 kms from Tiruvarur.  On Tiruvarur Thirutharaipoondi road take a right turn at Kachanam.  This temple is about 8 kms from Kachanam.

The nearest towns are Tiruvarur and Mannargudi, where there are quite a few options available to suit various budgets.  This is a very small village and no facility is available here.

Nearby Temples:

  • Thirunellika
  • Thirukuvalai
  • Thiruthengoore
  • Kaichinam

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Agneeswarar Alayam
Thiruthangur Thirunellikaval [P.O] Tiruvarur [Dist] – 610 205 

Contact Phone No: 04369 237454.

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