Shukran, the Sanskrit for “clear, pure” or “brightness, clearness”, is the name the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus . He presides over ‘Shukra-var’ or Friday. He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth,pleasure and reproduction.
He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.
In Astrology, there is a dasha or planetary period known as Shukra Dasha which remains active in a person’s horoscope for 20 years. This dasha is believed to give more wealth, fortune and luxury to one’s living if a person has Shukra positioned well in his horoscope as well as Shukra being an important benefic planet in his/her horoscope.
The Agniswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in the village of Kanjanur, 18 kilometres north-east ofKumbakonam. The presiding deity is Sukra (Venus). However, the main idol in the temple is that of “Agniswarar” or Shiva. In concordance with the Saivite belief that Shiva is all-pervading, Sukra is believed to be located within the stomach of the idol of Shiva.
The temple was built by the Medieval Cholas and renovated by the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple has a 5-tier rajagopuram surrounded by two prakarams(closed precincts of a temple). The temple is revered by the verses of Appar and hence referred as Padal petra stalam.
Legend is that Siva blessed Parasara muni(sage) here with cosmic dance.
Kanjanur is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Venus, called Sukra. Unlike other Navagraha temples, the main deity, Agniswarar in the form of lingam depicts LordSukra.
Description: This Shivastalam is associated with Sukran – representing the plant Venus and is – regarded one of the nine temples in the Thanjavur area linked with the Navagrahams. Maintained by the Madurai Adhinam, it is located in a quiet hamlet in the vicinity of Tiruvaavaduturai, Suryanar Koyil andTirumangalakkudi, near Tiruvidaimarudur and Kumbhakonam. This shrine is also referred to as Palaasavanam, Bhrammapuri and Agnistalam. Kanjanur is considered to be the 36th in the series of the Tevara Stalams located in Chola Nadu north of the river Kaveri.
Legends: Bhramma is said to have been blessed with a vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvati here. Agni is said to have worshipped Shiva here, hence the name Agneeswarar.
Haradatta Sivacharyar of Vaishnava origins – originally known as Sudarshanar is said to have undergone ordeals to prove the tenacity of his devotion for Shiva to fellow Vaishnavites. Images of Agneeswarar and Karpagambal are also seen in the Varadarajar Temple at Kanjanur. Several legends pertaining to events in the life of Haradatta Sivacharyar pertain to this shrine.
The Temple: This temple with a two prakarams has a five tiered Rajagopuram at its entrance. Haradatta Sivacharyar is said to have composed many works in sanskrit here. Images depicting legends related to Haradatta Sivacharyar are seen in this temple. There are also shrines to Maanakkanjaarar Nayanmaar and kalikkaamr here.
Stone images of Natarajar and Sivakami are seen in this temple in the Nataraja Sabha referred to as the Mukti Mandapam. The Shivatandavam here is referred to as Mukti Tandavam. Legend has it that Shiva blessed Paraasara muni with a vision of the cosmic dance – Mukti tandavam here.
Inscriptions from the Chola and Vijayanagar periods are seen in this temple. Appar is said to have visited Kanjanur on his way toTirukkodikka from Edirkolpaadi.
Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here. A festival commemorating Haradatta Sivacharyar is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai each year. Mahasivaratri, Arudra Darisanam, Navaratri and Aadi Pooram are celebrated here.