Presiding deity : Sivasuriyan
Related planet: Sun
Goddess: Ushadevi – also Chayadevi
Vinayaka : Koletheertha Vinayakar
Holy tree : Vellerukku
Holy spring : Surya Theertham
Place : Suryanarkoil
District : Thanjavur
Sun planet enjoys the first rank among the planets, hence devotees throng in huge numbers here. They pray for relief from the various problems they face in life.
Those facing problems due to the Seven and Half Year Saturn effect, and the effect of Saturn while transiting in the 8th house of the horoscope of the individual and problems due to the effects of other planets should stay in the temple for 12 Sundays. They have to stay in Suriyanar Koil for about 78 days covering 12 Sundays. Each day they must have a dip in the nine springs, undertake a fasting, worship Thirumangalakudi Prananathar and Mangalanayaki and do remedial pujas. This will protect them from the adverse effects. Those facing trouble due to Sun main period or Sun sub-period or aspects of Sun according to their horoscopes should visit this temple for total relief and reduce the intensity of the effects. The worship in the temple offers solutions and prevents obstacle coming in the way of endeavours.
Nadi Pariharam is one followed in the temple and Homas to the Nine Planets. Archanas are offered to Sun. He is bathed with sugar pudding (Sarkarai Pongal). People also offer Wheat, Jaggery, harvested grains to the Lord equal to their weight (Thulabaram). Devotees tie up cradles to get children. Annadhanam (feeding the visiting devotees) is also undertaken by devotees.
Sun God grants darshan to the devotees from the Sanctum Sanctorum facing eastward with his consorts Ushadevi and Pradhyusha Devi also known as Chaya Devi. Sun also holds two lotus flowers in his hands. As it would be hard to face the heat of the Sun, Jupiter is just opposite to Sun to reduce the degree of his heat. The Horse, the vehicle of Sun is also before him. As Nandi is in the shrines of Siva, the Horse in Sun shrine.
It may be recalled that the Uchikizhan Kottam near Poompuhar was destroyed by a tsunami during the Sangam Age. But Suriyanarkoil escaped this disaster and is standing as an outstanding example of ancient Tamil history. Suriyanarkoil gains its significance with its divine power, graceful blessings open to the devotees and the faith of the people in Sun God.
There are only two temples for Sun God in India, the Konark in North and Suriyanarkoil in South. There is no idol worship in Konark as in the southern temple.
The devotee can worship all the planets in this temple and the Navagrahas – the nine planets – are the main deities in the temple. Lord Sun appears with his two consorts. He is not hot as expected to be but calm and graceful. All the planets here act only with a blessingful mind. The temple belongs to Thiruvavaduthurai Aadeenam.
The temple administration can be contacted on telephone No. 91-435-2472349. Suriyanarkoil is 17 Kms from Kumbakonam and 22 from Mayiladuthurai.
Devotees visiting Suriyanarkoil may stay in lodges in Kumbakonam.
Charges vary from Rs. 150 to Rs. 600. Also they can stay in lodges in Thanjavur, the capital of the district.
Hotel Tamilnadu – tel no. 21421 -21024 and 21325
Hotel Ganesh – 22789
Hotel Sangam – 24895
Hotel Parisuddham – 212466
Hotel Oriental Towers – 31467
Charges start from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2000
Bus facilities are available from Mayiladuthurai, Aduthurai, Anaikarai and Thirupananthal. The pilgrim should get down at the Thirumangalakudi Kaliamman bus stop and has to walk two furlongs eastward to reach Suriyanarkoil. NearestRailway stations are Aduthurai, Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai. Nearest Airport Trichy.
Rathasapthami (the turning of the Rath of Sun from south towards north in the Tamil month of Thai – January-February marking the six months called Utharayana) on the 10day of Thai is an important festival in the temple. Special pujas are performed on all Sundays to Sivasuriyanar. This is known as Maha Abishek.
Also the transit days of Saturn and Jupiter are celebrated very devotionally in the temple.
Muni Kalava was suffering from leprosy. He prayed to the nine planets for the cure which was granted to him. Brahmma the creator was angry. He told the planets that their duty was to subject all beings to suffer or enjoy life based on their bad or good deeds and they had no permission to grant boons which was a violation of the norms of their appointments. Therefore, they also should suffer from leprosy, he cursed. They performed severe penance on Lord Shiva in this place, once a dense Vellerukku forest. Lord Shiva appeared before them, lauded their penance and said they should do all good to those praying them.