Nagaraja Temple is a Hindu temple worshipping Nagaraja (the serpent king Vasuki), situated at Nagercoil town of Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. The presiding god of this temple is the five-headed Naga God and is visited by hordes of devotees. The temple has innumerable statues of serpents. The temple main deity is Nagaraja. The upadevathas are Shiva, Subrahmanya Swami, Ganesha, Devi and Dwarapalaka.
History of Nagercoil Nagaraja Temple is that Nagas are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among prominent nagas are Manasa, Sesha, and Vasuki and Nagaraja. Devotees believe that Nagaraja Temple was earlier a Jain temple because of the images of Jain Tirthankaras, Mahavira and Parswanatha on the pillars of the temple.
However, there is no authentic epigraph to help us understand its chronology. The mountain Mahendragiri in the Kanyakumari district is also popular as the abode of Nagas in the Ramayana of Valmiki. From this, one can presume that the origin of Naga influence in the area goes back to legendary times.
According to folk tales and legends, once a village girl was cutting paddy. Suddenly she cut her hand and blood began to spurt out. Soon she saw that the sickle had cut into a five headed serpent. The girl was afraid and went to the village. She then told the villagers about this miracle. So, they all came to see this peculiar event and they cleared the space allotting it to the Lord.
The architecture of the temple is quite simple with scores of sculptures and images of different snakes adorning the walls, trees and pond around. The main sanctum enshrines the deity and is guarded by two huge statues of five-headed serpents. Inside the temple premises, Shivlinga and idol of Vishnu in Anant Shayana position. The main sanctum of the temple still has mud walls and thatched roof with the small stone idol of Nagaraja placed on the soil. The soil underneath the idol remains wet as it is believed that the blood is still oozing out of the deity till date. It is believed that this soil holds special powers and can cure any skin ailments; the soil is also given as prasadam to the visitors of the temple.
Festivals celebrated at Nagercoil Nagaraja Temple
Some of the festivals celebrated at Nagercoil nagaraja Temple are:
- Thai Brahmmotsavam in January-February; Aavani Sundays
- Aavani Aslesha (Aayilyam) star day
- Krishna Jayanthi in August-September.
- Navarathri in September-October
- Tirukarthikai in November-December are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
How to reach Nagercoil?
Here’s how to reach Nagercoil Nagaraja Temple:
Nearby airport is Madurai, Thiruvanathapuram.
Nagercoil junction is the nearby railway station. One can easily take trains from here.
The temple is 1km far from Nagercoil Vadaseri and from Meenakshipuram bus stand. Adequate road facilities are available to reach Nagercoil from all parts of the state.