Sunday, June 24, 2012


Nagercoil Nagaraja temple is an ancient Snake temple which is situated at Nagercoil, in the heart of the town.This temple and place  is now situated  in Tamil Nadu State, which  was under the rule of Travancore Maharajah till the formation of Kerala State in 1956.The pooja rituals followed in this temple is Kerala style now also even though the temple administration is by Tamil Nadu Devaswom Board.The 'Chief Priest'(Thantri) of this temple is from 'Pambumekkatu Mana'
of 'Mala, Trissur,Kerala'.
It is difficult to trace out when was this temple established but it is believed that a Nampoothiri 
Priest who was the elder member  of 'Pambumekkatt Mana' consecrated the deity of this temple.
The story regarding the vision of 'Vasuki' the Serpent God  by  the 'Nampoothiri' who was the  head of the family of Pambumekkat Mana and consecration of Nagaraja at their residence   was spread every where and also

it was known to the public  that skin ailments and diseases caused by 'sarpadosham'(Problems caused due
to the curses of snakes) would be cured by the Nampoothiri.
During that period one Pandya King (Believed the  King of Kalakkadi) was suffering from Leprosy and he sought help of Pambumekkattu Nampoothiri.Nampoothiri  went to the Palace and stayed there for some days and by the powers bestowed on him with   the blessings of Nagaraja he cured the disease of the King.
While he was returning back to Kerala,  when the Nampoothiri and his aides of 5 men reached the place
where Nagercoil temple is now  existing,   he heard the loud cry of a woman who was cutting
grass from that place.That part of the land was uninhabited and  was like a forest with wild trees,bushes and grass grown everywhere.When Nampoothiri and his men  approached  the 
woman to find the cause of her being  panic it was understood that her sickle had  made a cut into 
the  head part of a five headed serpent idol lying there.Blood was oozing out of the idol so that she was frightened.  Nampoothiri
was confirmed that the five headed serpent idol was of  Nagaraja and possessed extreme powers.He summoned the people residing  nearby and consecrated the idol at the same place where it was found.People
cleared off the trees and bushes in that area  and they started to worship the deity.A temporary shed
was made as the temple and roof was of coconut leaves and of bamboo sticks.Nampoothiri 
afterwards made a new Sanctum sanctorum near to it for  consecrating the deity from the existing marshy land to the newly made building.On the day before the consecration, Nampoothiri had a vision of Nagaraja in his dream  and he told that the idol  should not be moved from 
the existed place and that he did not need a new sanctum but the existed one  to be continued in the same manner.
In the newly constructed Sanctum sanctorum Lord Shiva and Vishnu was consecrated.
Every year in the Malayalam month of 'Karkadakam' the roof of the sanctum sanctorum
is newly thatched with coconut leaves and bamboo sticks.The walls are of mud there.
                                                         The place name became Nagercoil when the name and fame 
of the temple was widely spread very soon.Devotees from far and near throng in very large numbers so that the place also developed as a town.This place name  was known as 'Kottar' earlier.A small portion of the corner  place is still known as Kottar.
The Thantric rites vested with Pambinmekkattu Mana was later handed over by them to Thiruvalla Parambur Illam.From
there on several problems aroused at the Pambinmekkattu Mana and they understood that
it was due to the anger  of Nagercoil Nagaraja  deity.They again took back the Thanthric rites but
received it for alternative years only.The system such as one year for Thiruvalla Illam and next year for Pambumekkattu Illam is followed at present.
The Main temple priests in this temple are also from Kerala since Kerala style pooja rituals are
followed here.
The sand from the ground of the sanctum sanctorum of the Nagaraja is distributed as 'Prasadam' to the devotees.The soil there is  red in  color and said that it happened by the blood shed of the deity when it got injured by the sickle.Daily a large mass of soil is required to distribute to the devotees but the amazing fact is that the amount of soil scooped out will
be  back in position the next day.The amount of soil is not diminishing year after year and
for centuries.The soil which is received as 'Prasadam'  is having medicinal properties and  used to cure skin ailments of the devotees .Another stunning fact is that there are several cobras in and around the temple
premises but no one is harmed or bite by snakes there.In the nearby area of the temple 
also no snake bite had been reported in the past.
Nagercoil  Nagaraja is believed by devotees as a deity who redeem the misery of childless
couples.By worshiping the deity here several childless couples are blessed to have children.
He is also a deity who grants prosperity and good health to the devotees.
There are several snake idols and a Ganapathy idol placed on the basement of a peepul tree in the temple compound  
and it is auspicious to circumambulate those idols( that peepul tree) to get remove our 'sarpadosham' , sins due to the harm 
done to the snakes previously,Curses of snakes  etc.
Offering  small images of serpents made of  silver to be placed in the temple,offering 'Noorum palum'(a pooja ritual)
etc can be done to get  relieve our sins and to get the bliss.Those who are suffering from the bad effects of 'Rahu' and 'Kethu' according to astrology will be relieved  by doing worship in this temple.
There were  some arguments that this  temple belonged to Jains previously but was taken
over by Hindus.
'Mahendragiri' near Kanyakumari is referred as the abode of Nagas in the Valmiki Ramayana.There is no epigraph to find the chronology of the temple.Images of Jain Theerthankaras 'Parsavanth and Mahavira' are carved on the pillars of 'arthamandapa' in this temple.The main gateway of this temple known as 'Mahamerumaligai' resembles 
Budhist monastery.Deities of Lord Shiva and Anathakrishna are enshrined here.It has
to be assumed that this temple is simply an embodiment of the four creeds Saivam,Vaishnavam,Jainism and Budhism and it is a very ancient 'Nagaraja Temple'.
Every year in the Malayalam month of 'Thulam'(Sep-Oct) 12 days special pooja will be done including 'Ayilyam Star day' by the Thantri of Pambimekkattu Illam.
Ayilyam star day  on every month is auspicious here and all Sundays are also auspicious.Annual festival is in the month of 'Makaram'  for 10 days and 'Arattu' will be on
'Ayilyam star day of Makaram'(Jan-Feb).Ratholsavam(pulling temple car) is an attraction during  the festival.
Transport Facilities
Trivandrum Int'l Airport is only 58 km away.From Trivandrum it is accessible by train,car 
bus etc.From Nagercoil,  bus services to all parts of Tamil Nadu are  available.Kanya Kumari is only 28 km from Nagercoil.

1 comment:

  1. The Nagaraja Temple in Kanyakumari district after which the town Nagercoil got its name was believed to be a Jain temple. Recently unearthed inscriptions establish that it was indeed a Jain temple until the mid 16th century A.D. It was slowly transformed into a Hindu temple.

    An inscription in Palli states that two Jain monks — Guna Vira Panditha and Kamala Vahana Panditha — received donations (Palli Chantham) to perform daily poojas to Nagar and Nagaraja. Nagar is the deity enshrined under the thatched ‘karpagraha’.