I still remember the first time I visited this temple about twenty years ago. I stumbled on this temple while I was on my way to Suryanar temple from Kuthalam, when I just took this right turn by mistake. Almost immediately I realized that this was not Suryanar temple. Just as I was about to turn back I saw the temple gopuram and decided to visit the temple. It was around 11.30 in the morning and the temple was closed. After enquiry at the only shop there I went to the temple priest’s house and requested him to open the temple. He obliged and told me that this was Sukra sthalam. What a change from then and now!!!
Kanjanur is the sthalam for Sukran. At this Shiva temple Agneeswarar is the presiding deity and his consort is Karpagambal. Agni is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here and hence the name Agneeswarar. There are quite a few Shivalingams in the praharam, including one supposedly installed by Kamsa.
There are quite a few stories associated with this temple as follows;
When Lord Vishnu asked Bali for 3 steps of land in Vamana Avataram, Sukracharya tried to dissuade Bali from granting the boon. He took the form of a bee and blocked the mouth of the Kamandalam (a type of Jar, usually carried by rishis) from which Bali would pour water to signify the grant of the boon. Vishnu used a dharba to clear the blockage in the Kamandalam and in the process blinded Sukracharya in one eye. Vamana then took the Vishwaroopam and covered the whole universe in two steps. The 3rd step was placed on Bali. An angry Sukracharya, cursed Vishnu. After severe penance to Shiva here, Vishnu was relieved of his curse.
An interesting connection between Valleeswarar Koil in Mylapore and this story is as follows. Sukran after being blinded in one eye undertook a pilgrimage of Shivalayams to get back his sight. It was at Valleeswarar temple in Mylapore that he got back his sight. Offer prayers to Shiva at Valleeswarar Koil in Mylapore to get rid of eye ailments and to be blessed with good eyesight.
There is another story of how Vishnu incurred Sukracharya’s wrath. Sukracharya was the son of Brigu Maharishi. Once during a war between the devas and asuras, Brigu Maharishi’s wife, was accidentally beheaded by Vishnu’s chakram (discus). An angry Sukracharya cursed Vishnu. As a result of the curse, He was born as Sudarsanar to Vasudeva, a Vaishnava Brahmin. Sudarsanar was a staunch Shiva devotee and was popularly known as Haradatta Shivacharyar. There are stories of the ordeals undergone by Haradatta to prove his devotion for Shiva. Images pertaining to these are seen in this temple and also in the Vishnu temple in the village. Haradatta used to spend much of his time meditating before the Dakshinamurthy.
Dakshinamurthy is always seen with a demon being crushed under his feet. The demon signifies ignorance. It means that Dakshinamurthy leads us from ignorance to the knowledge of self. Instead; you can find the image of Haradatta worshipping Dakshinamurthy, which is a unique feature of this temple.
There is an interesting story associated with the Nandi here. A poor Brahmin was afflicted by pasu dosham because a calf had expired when he threw a bundle of grass at it. The Brahmin as advised by Haradatta offered a clump of grass to the stone Nandi. To everybody’s astonishment, the stone Nandi is supposed to have consumed the grass. It is said that since this Nandi is eating the grass the tongue is not seen hanging outside.
Sukracharyar was imparted the knowledge of Amirtha Sanjeevini Mantra by Lord Shiva. This Mantra can bring the dead back to life. Sukracharya used this mantra in one of the deva-asura wars and revived the slain asuras. One being approached by devas for help, Lord Shiva is said to have swallowed Sukracharya in a fit of rage. Sukracharyar meditated on Shiva inside His stomach. Karpagambal prevailed on Shiva to let Sukracharyar out. Hence Sukran is very devoted to the Ambal and is Her favourite. Shiva also conferred on Sukracharya the status of a celestial planet here. There is no idol for Sukran here. Shiva blesses those who come with their prayers to Sukran.
Brahma is said to have been blessed with the vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvati.
He is the second most beneficial planet after Guru. If Sukran is favourably placed in a person’s horoscope, the inmate will be blessed with prosperity, beautiful wife, own house, vehicle, fame & marriage. The person will also be very influential. An unfavourably positioned Sukran in ones horoscope causes eye ailments, indigestion, and impotency, loss of appetite and skin problems. Lord Sukran is offered white Lotus, white cloth, mochai kottai (common bean) and aththi (fig) to alleviate problems caused by Sukra dosham. Friday is the day of Sukran and worship on Fridays is considered very special. Sukran is also Ambal’s favourite and the special day for Ambal is Friday as well.
Recite the following Mantras facing South-East
Sukra Moola Mantra: Aum dram drim draum sah shukraya namah
Shukra gayatri: om rajathapaya vidmahae Bhrigu suthaya dheemahi tanno shukra: prachodayaath
Other Sukra Sthalam:
Velleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai.
Velleeswarar Temple at Mangadu, Chennai
Other Temples nearby:
Sri Sarabeswarar Temple at Thiruvhuvanam,
Sri Kalyanasundara Swamy Temple at Thirumanancheri
Kanjanur is 18 Kms from Kumbakonam and 26 Kms from Mayiladudurai. It is just 3 Kms from Suryanar Kovil and 5 Kms from Adudurai. There are bus services to this place from Mayavaram, Aduthurai, Thiruvidaimarudhur etc.
Boarding & Lodging:
This is a very small village and do not expect any facility here. It is best to stay at Mayavaram or Kumbakonam. If hungry, as usual, the temple prasadam is a good option.
Temple timings: 6 A.M. to 12.00 P.M. and 4 P.M. to 9 P.M.
Arulmigu Agneeswarar Alayam
Phone Number: 0435 247 3737