Aslesha temple or Karkateswarar temple is at Thirundudevankudi, Tiruvidaimaruthhur taluk in Thanjavur district. It is quite a large temple and is encircled by a moat. Paddy fields surround it on all sides. This temple has been praised in the Thevaram hymns of the Shaivite saint-poet, Thirugnanasampandhar.
Legend says that Lord Indraworshipped the Shiva Lingam here with 108 lotuses daily. Varuna, the god of rain, had the task of creating the flowers in the moat. One day, Indra found one flower missing during the Pooja. When he asked Varuna, the latter replied that he had created all the 108 flowers. But the same thing happened for the next few days, and so Indra decided to investigate the matter One day, he saw one of the lotuses moving. It left the water and entered the sanctum sanctorum of the temple through the drain and climbed on top of the Shiva Lingam. When he examined it closely, he realized that the flower had been moved by a golden crab. He was about to strike the crab when it made a hole in the Lingam and vanished into it.
Since then, the deity here came to be called Karkateswarar, as Karkata means crab. One can see the golden crab’s image as well as the hole it made on the Lingam during the Abishekam rituals. the name Thirundudevankudi may relate to the story of Indra rectifying his mistake of committing sins and not paying heed to his Guru’s advice. It was at this place that he did penance to correct his mistake. Thirundu means ‘to correct’, and Devan refers to Indra. But most locals call this temple Nandu Koil.
Another legend says that the golden crab was a Yaksha who mocked the hot-tempered sage, Durvasa, by imitating his walk and comparing it to the crawl of a crab. The sage cursed the Yaksha to become a crab. The Yaksha realized his folly and apologized to the sage, and so the latter told him to worship Lord Shiva at this temple for relief from the curse.
Long ago, this place was a forest teeming with medicinal plants. The deity here was originally called Aushadeswarar. It is said that Shiva and Parvati, in the guise of an old couple, cured a Chola king of paralysis. The grateful king wanted them to become his royal doctors, but the couple refused. When the king offered to give them whatever they wanted, they brought him to this place and requested him to build a Shiva temple and merged with the Shiva Lingam there. The king realized that the couple was Shiva and Parvati. Lord Shivain this temple came to be called Arumarundu Devar, or the Lord of Medicine and Healing. It is said that those who worship Shiva here can be cured of illness. Saint Thirugnanasampandhar too refers to Shiva as a healer in his hymns.
Goddess Ambal has two shrines here, as Arumarundu Nayaki and Apoorva Nayaki. The former’s idol was stolen once but was recovered a day after it was replaced by another. Hence the name Apoorva Nayaki was given to the original idol. The moat around the temple is called Tirumaruvum Poikai.
This temple is dedicated to Kataka or Karkata Rasi or Moon sign and Ashlesha/Ayilya Nakshatram/star/constellation. Each of the 12 Moon signs/Rasis and each of the 27 Nakshatras or Birth stars has a temple dedicated to it. People born under Karkata rasi and Ashlesha Nakshatra visit this temple regularly and do Poojas to get divine blessings.
People born under Ashlesha star or Karkata Rasi should light Nallennai vilakku or Sesame/Gingelly oil lamp and pray to Shiva on Ashtami (8th day from New moon or Full moon), Tuesdays, Saturdays, and New moon days and also on Ashlesha Nakshatram Thithis and their birthdays. If they do so regularly, they will be blessed with good health, prosperity, peace of mind, and happiness. Others can also worship here on these days if they are seeking a cure for chronic illness. This is also the temple sought after for remedies for Punarvasu/Punarpoosam, Pushya/Poosam, star borns coming under the Cancer sign in the zodiac.
Importance of Janma Nakshatra and Rasi
Every constellation or Nakshatra has a unique personality. It is associated with certain natural instincts, likes, and dislikes and does certain things better than others. All Nakshatras have good as well as bad qualities.
Each star or Nakshatra has 3 key parts: a symbol, a deity, and a planet that rules it.
For example, Kritika birth star’s symbol is a knife, blade, or sharp object. Hence, the person born under this star has a razor-sharp mind and talks to the point. The ruling planet of this star is the Sun, so the person will have Sun-like traits - leadership, pride, spirituality, harshness, goal-oriented, etc. Agni is the Devata, so they are hot-tempered and transformative. They may have either strong Jathar Agni, which is responsible for digestion (so they may be heavy eaters), or strong Bhuta Agni (essential for spiritual progress).
Worshipping the Devata of the Janma Nakshatra gives clarity to the mind during difficult times. Also, Moon being the karaka for the concept of Nakshatras, Janma Nakshatra is very important for the health and overall well-being of a person.
Like Nakshatra, Birth Rasi or the sign in which the Moon is placed at the time of birth is also important. It is required for making predictions about the life of a person. The ascendant chart, birth Rasi chart, and Navamsa chart are the 3 main charts prepared to check the strength of the planets.
Find your Rasi and Birth Nakshatra online with Astroved’s Rasi Finderand Nakshatra Calculator.