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The Navagragha Temples of Tamil Nadu, Chandra

India has got a hot tropical climate.

Hence the sight of the moon in a clear cool night sky is a most welcome sight. The moon is the earth´s closest neighbor is looked upon as a gentle and beautiful God. Traditional Indians seem keep track of the waxing and the waning of the moon. Some of the very orthodox Indians still observe the Full Moon Pournami and the New Moon Amawasya.

Chandra is present in Shiva´s matted hair. Hence, anyone praying to Shiva would be praying to Chandra also. Many tales for children have been written about Chandra

This powerful planet is next only to Shiva in its strength and power to bestow favours on its worshippers. He is Shiva´s left eye, Surya being the right eye. Chandra grants comfortable long life and fame. He cures eye ailments, especially those of the left eye. He also cures skin ailments and removes stress and sorrows. People with mental ailments are also brought to him for a cure.

Chandra is believed to control the well being of one´s mother and he is the one to pray to for her good health. He is also said to end family friction.


In ancient days, this town was called Keeloor. Ever since Chandra prayed here, it has come to be known as Thingaloor. In Tamil, Thingal means Moon, and Oor means town.

Thingaloor is 22 km from Kumbakonam.It is half a kilometer off the main Tanjore-Kumbakonam  Road.The temple is a small one with just one outer wall. It is set in very beautiful surroundings with green paddy fields, plantain trees and coconut trees in the background with a little pond just outside the temple wall.

The principal deity is Shiva and Parvati in the avatars of Kailasanathar and Periya Nayaki respectively. There is a separate compact shrine for Chandra. The other shrines are dedicated to Surya with his consorts Usha Devi  and Chaya Devi, the Nabagrahas with the Sun in the centre.

Shiva is depicted as a yogi in this temple and is therefore called Shiva-Yogi. The physical placement of the Shiva Lingam in the sanctum sanctorium gives rise to a unique phenomenon. On the full moon day in the month of Panguni,the sun´s rays fall directly on the Lingam, as though worshipping it. The very next evening, the rays of the moon falls on the Lingam.

Historians are not sure when this temple was built, though they are positive that it must have been in existence since the seventh century AD. This temple is dedicated to the Moon, which is supposed to be the planet that removes stress and sorrow. People throng this temple to grant them a comfortable and long life. One prays for one´s mother´s health here. The devotee is said to be bestowed with fame and is cured of skin and eye problems. There is also a belief that near-fatal snake bites are cured if one visits here and prays.

The temple is open from 7am to 12pm, 4.30pm to 8pm from Tuesday to Sunday. On Mondays, it is open from 6.30am to 1 pm, 4.30pm to 8pm.


The Tiruvisayanallar-Nandan Koil is an important Chandra  Temple. It is 11 km from Kumbakonam. This temple is said to have been constructed in the seventh century AD. Little of the original temple remains. Only the main shrine remains. The temple has two entrances one at the front and one at the back.

The area surrounding the temple is said to have been a forest of herbs. At one time, it was full of medicinal plants. The importance of the medical element at this temple is obvious here with the belief that Dhanvantari, the God of medicine, resides here. Shiva himself is believed to have immense healing powers. A Chola King is said to have been cured of a terrible illness after praying to the Goddess at this temple. In gratitude, the cured king built another shrine for the Goddess and gave her the name Arumarundunayaki-the goddess of extraordinary healing powers.

Legend has it that Parvati turned herself into a golden crab and worshipped Shiva here everyday.

The temple is open every day between 7amto 12pm, 5pm to 8pm.

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