Nagannathaswamy Temple

Shiva & Ketu



The Naganatha Swamy Temple or Kethu Sthalam is a Hindu temple in the village of Keezhaperumpallam, 2 kilometres from Poompuhar. The presiding deity is Ketu, a shadow planet. However, the main idol in the temple is that of “Naganatha Swamy” or Shiva. Naganathaswamy Temple was constructed by Chola Kings. It has a 2-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakaram (closed precincts of a temple). In this Kethu temple, Lord Kethu faces west in the north praharam. Lord Ketu appears with the body in divine form, his head as a five-headed snake and the folded hands worshipping Lord Shiva.

The story, when amirtham emerged after churning of the Paarkadal by the devas and the asuras, Lord Vishnu in the guise of Mohini was distributing the amirtham only to the devas. Realising this, Rahu (an asura) with the help of Sukrachariyar, took the form of a deva and consumed the nectar. Suryan and Chandran who noticed this, complained to Lord Narayana. In anger, Lord Narayana hit Rahu on the head with the spoon in his hand. The head was cut off and fell on the ground. But because he had consumed amirtham, his head and body continued to live. The body of the snake got attached to the head to become Ketu.

During the churning of the milk ocean, Vasuki the serpent used as the rope for the purpose got exhausted and split its venom. Devas ran to Lord Shiva for protection from the impact of the spreading poison. Lord swallowed the poison and protected the world. Vasuki felt that it had caused Lord Shiva to swallow its poison and performed penance seeking Lord’s pardon. Lord gave darshan to Vasuki and admired its sense of sacrifice. Vasuki begged Lord Shiva to stay in the place. Lord obliged Vasuki and stayed here named after the serpent-Naga – Naganathar.

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