The temple to visit for Kettai Nakshatra is Sri Varadarajaperumal Temple that is based in the place for Pasupathikovil in the district of Thanjavur or Tanjore. The Moolavar or the main deity of the temple is Varadarajaperumal, and the Goddess is Perundevi.
Temple to visit for Kettai Nakshatra – Sri Varadarajaperumal Temple, based at Pasupathikovil, in Tanjore District
Kettai is a combination of three stars. Kettai nakshatra is also called Jyestha, which translates into the elder one or the seniors. The symbol of Kettai Nakshatra is the round Talisman, which is known to ward off evil. Hence, the nakshatra is often looked upon as divine protection. It is with this reason that an umbrella is also considered one of the representations of Kettai Nakshatra – it is an umbrella’s job to protect from the forces of nature.
The main deity of the nakshatra is Indiran, the Lord of the Devas. The importance of Indiran lies in his powers of protection against invasions, and also in his role as the Rain God. Just as rain is unpredictable and beyond the control of artificial measures, the functioning of Kettai is also fraught in many occult phenomena. It is often said that people belonging to Kettai Nakshatra tend to get prosperity and happiness through occult means, just as Lord Indiran does – as he gets his powers through penance and other occult means. Some of the other characteristics of people born in the Nakshatra include imprints of Indiran again – jealousy, lustfulness, and also a sense of responsibility.
The temple’s history traces back to Sri Ramanuja, his growing popularity, and the way the Chola King mistook Ramanuja’s associates for Ramanuja himself and blinded them. It was an era of differences between disciples based on who was better and more powerful between Lord Shiva and Vishnu. The Chola King, in line with these differences and to put Ramanuja in place and to control his growing popularity, decided to confront him.
It was Ramanuja’s associates – Koorathazhwar and Peria Nambigal – who offered to be taken under custody to protect Ramanuja. The king ordered them to give in writing that it was his religion and his way of worship that was better than those of the Vaishnavites – which they refused to do. And they were blinded. It is after they were brought to the temple by Ramanuja’s other disciples that Varadaraja Perumal gave them Darshan. The two disciples attained salvation after that.
Prayers at the Temple:
The temple is particularly important for those born in Kettai Nakshatra, and they are advised to visit the temple at least on the day of the nakshatra. Of the two disciples who were blinded and then attained salvation, Peria Nambigal was born on the day of Kettai Nakshatra. It is one of the major festivities of the temple. People who have problems with their eyes could also visit the temple and pray to Koorathazhwar for relief. Devotees could offer white vastras or clothes, or light lamps in the temple.
Pasupathikovil is located at a distance of over 12 km from Thanjavur on the way to Kumbakonam.