Sri Sanishwaran Temple Thuckley
The South of India is abundantly filled with beautiful temples, many of which are centuries old. Undeniably, much of these temples are very unique compared to the rest of the country because of their magnificent architecture. Sri SanishwaranTemple, located at Marthandum in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu is one among the plenty of temples of the state, with the distinctive Dravidian structural design.
The ‘Gopuram’ or the Gateway to the charming little temple is the typical conical steep of striking sculptures that are very typical to Tamil Nadu temple architecture.The Sanishwaran temple is one of the shrines clustered inside a beautiful compound which is laced with lush green gardens and a charming little temple pond. The main deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu, who is fondly referred to as the “Perummal of Thuckley”. The temple has several small shrines for other Hindu Gods too. Lord Ganesha, Lord Ayyappa or Sashta, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Bhuweneshwari, and Naga Raja- the Serpent King, are the other prominent deities of the temple. The striking temple pond radiates a beguiling charm for its moss covered walls, green waters and its crooked stone steps- all invariably adding a mythical beauty to the temple. Adjoining the temple pond is a small grove of banana trees and a vegetable garden grown by the temple trustee members.
The Sanishwaran shrine in Thuckley is supposedly the second of such temples that was built exclusively for Lord Saturn in South India after the famous Thirunallar temple in Tamil Nadu. Usually the shrines for Lord Sanishwaran have the idols of six celestial planets and the two grahas- the intersection points between the Sun and the Moon. The nine holy celestials, The Sun (Surya, father of Lord Saturn), The Moon (Chandra), Mars (Mangal), Mercury (Buddha), Jupiter (Guru), Venus (Sukhra) and the two Grahas, Rahu and Ketu together are called the “Navagrahas”.In almost all places across India, the “Navagrahas” have a single sacrosanct temple built for them.
The Significance of Lord Saturn
Lord Sani is the son of the Sun God and his wife Chaya. He is prominently figured as the black God seen driving his chariot across the skies, eagerly dropping on gods and human beings to purify them of their karmic dues. Sani is often portrayed with his weapons: the sword, the bow, the quiver of arrows, the axe and sometimes the trident.He is also imagined as the celestial god riding on his bird vehicle, ‘the crow’ or at times, ‘the vulture’. However, for the troublemaker he is and more for the angry god as he is very often described, Lord Sani does bestow bountiful of blessings upon his victims after he cleanses them of their backlog of karmic effects. As per the ancient Hindu scripture, the “Surya Siddhanta”, Sani did penance to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva. Lord Sani asked Lord Shiva to grant him the power to bestow appropriate punishment on people for their misdeeds and rewards accordingly afterwards, be it the Gods or the mortals.
There is a fascinating story associated with what made Lord Saturn do the heavy, intense penance, when he was just a child. When Lord Sani’s mother, Goddess Chaya, was pregnant with him, she did penance in order to please Lord Shiva and therein never took care of her health. Due to this, it seems Lord Sani was born black and very weak. His father was repulsed at the sight of him and soon abandoned both mother and son. Lord Saturn was downright humiliated at his father’s injustice and therefore he did penance to invoke Lord Shiva in order to gain powers at par with his father.
The Sun God understood the mistake he made and wanted to make peace with his son and wife. However, Lord Saturn did not relent. The Sun God asked Lord Hanuman to help him in lieu of the Guru Dakshina or the teacher’s fee, which the Monkey God owed him. Lord Hanuman approached Sani with the message from his father. But Lord Sani was blinded by pride that he ridiculed the Monkey God, without even waiting to hear to what he had to say. Lord Hanuman known for his antics, decided to teach Lord Sani a lesson. He tightly tied Lord Saturn with his tail. Sani writhed in pain from the tight binding. He soon realized his mistake and asked Hanuman to pardon him and said he will forgive his father and go back to him. Hanuman released Sani, however, he was still reeling in great pain. Hanuman brought til seeds and oil to cure Lord Saturn of his pains. Devotees offer til and oil every Saturday to Lord Sani.Devotees pray to Hanuman to plead on behalf of them to Lord Sani for some relief from his tests.