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Thirukollikadu - Pongu Sani

      Thiru Kollikaadu in Tiruvarur district is a little known but a very divine temple for Saturn or Saniswaran. Agni Bhagavan is said to have worshipped lord Siva here and hence the name Agneeswarar and the place came to be known as Agnipuri. Thirugnana Sambandar has sung the praise of Agneeswarar. Thirugnana Sambandar called the Lord Kollikaadar, kolli in Tamil meaning fire.

Agni Theertham Pond

The Saniswaran here is called as ‘pongu sani’. Legend says that Saniswaran took a holy dip in the Agni Theertham and prayed to Agneeswarar ( the name of Lord Siva at Thirukollikaadu) to grant him the wish so everyone would worship him too. Lord Siva gave him darshan and asked him to reside in the temple as Pongu Sani.It is believed that whoever worships here get rid of their difficult period and are blessed by Pongu Sani. Nala Maharaja who was rid of his Sani dosham worshiping Lord Saniswara at Tirunallaru, is said to have got back his wife, children, kingdom and all wealth after worshipping at this place. King Harichandra is also said to have relieved of his dohsam by the grace of Kollikadu Sani Bhagavan.

According to the temple priest and other inscriptions we come to know that this temple was constructed some 1500 years ago and used to be a brick structure. This temple was reconstructed in granite by Raja raja Cholan I. Presiding deities are Agneeswarar or Thirukollikadar, a slightly reddish lingam believed to be red because , red signifies fire, and this was worshipped by Agni himself and Mirudupaadanayagi or Panjinmelladiaal.

Pongu Sani

The sannadhi for Sani Bhagavan is in the South west corner. The idol is seen with a plough in his right hand and a crow in his left hand. Offer of Oomatham (datura flower) to Lord Sani here is said to cure mentally afflicted devotees. People who are said to be under the seven and a half years 'ezharai nattu Sani' (seven and half years under Saturn's influence) will surely benefit worshiping him here. Other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lord Subramanya, Mahalakshmi,Durga, Dakshinamurthy and a few other deities.There are sannadhis in the main praharam for Bairavar and navagrahams. The navagrahams are positioned differently here in an open formation all facing the main deity .

The sthala vriksham ( the divine tree of the place) is the Vanni tree. This ancient temple was built as a granite structure by the Chola kings. Inscriptions of Raja Raja Chola, Rajendra Chola and Rajadiraja Chola I are seen in the temple. There is no Raja gopuram.

Timings The temple is open from 9 to 11 am and 5 to 8pm. Only on Saturdays, the temple remains open even in the afternoon.
How to reach? It is 25 kms from Mannargudi .In Mannargudi there are buses for Vikkirapandiyam From the main road it is 2 kms by walk. There are limited buses, a very few in the morning around 9.30 and in evenings at 4.30, 5.30. Auto rickshaws available for around Rs 300. If you drive by your car, a word of caution;the approach road to the temple is in very poor condition.
Where to stay? The best place is Mannargudi. You have some average hotels there. Mannargudi is also famous for the very ancient Rajagopalaswamy temple.

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