An important pilgrimage centre for Indians, Rameshwaram island, situated at the very tip of the Indian peninsula, was the place from where lord Rama built the bridge across the sea to rescue his wife Sita who had been abducted by Ravana the king of Lanka, besides performing the sacrifice to lord Shiva as an act of seeking purgation due to the killing of Ravana. About 70 kilometers from Rameshwaram is the ancient Thilakeshwar Temple, popularly known as the Navagraha Temple at Devipattinam, a coastal village.
Gods and Goddesses Worshipped
The Thilakeshwar Temple is dedicated to the worship of lord Shiva and Parvati who is also known as Durga. Shiva is known as Thilakeshwar, with Parvati his consort known as Soundaryanayaki. Only with nine varieties, including tila or Gingelly seeds, paddy and pulses are the eight armed Durga with weapons worshipped here. This brings people from across the globe to offer ‘Tarpan’ or reverential chants to their ancestors here.
The Legend Behind The Navagraha Temple of Devipattinam
People are of the belief that it was here that lord Rama, son of Dasaratha the king of Ayodhya; during his fourteen yearlong exile, worshipped the Navagrahas or Nine planets at Devipattinam before he began the expedition to Lanka. Rama having placed nine stones to represent the nine planets, led to the place being called Navapaashanam or Navabashana. It is believed that on being disturbed by waves, near the Thilakeshwar Temple, the nine stones can be seen in the water close to the beach, as they had been placed there by Rama seeking divine guidance and blessings before he embarked upon the perilous journey to bring his wife back from the clutches of Ravana. This was based on the Hindu notions that the planets play a pivotal role in governing our lives as the planetary positions are said to be directly affecting our existence. The worship of the celestial bodies is said to diminish the impact of misfortune that may come our way.
Legend goes that the rocks that were used by Rama’s army of monkeys, floated up to the surface so as to form a connecting bridge, now called Raman Bridge, joining Rameshwaram and Lanka.
Why do people frequent Thilakeshwar Temple?
Due to the common Hindu belief structure that the planets and their positions directly impact the lives of the human beings, people from across the globe travel to the Thilakeshwar temple in Devipattinam in Tamil Nadu so as to seek forgiveness for their sins and also to pray for help in adverse situations alike Rama who sought for divine assistance here. Religious rituals and holy rites are performed by Hindus in honour of their forefathers at this spot as it was also where the Devi Durga brought an end to the demon Mahishasura.
Thilakeshwar is recognised as one of the sacred pilgrimage spots in the country and it witnesses a large crowd throughout the year due to the legend of Rama that adds to its merit as a holy spot. A visit to this temple at Devipattinam is sure to rejuvenate the mind and yield a fulfilling spiritual experience.