Sri Apathsahayeswaraswamy Temple, Navagraha Kshetra for Guru Bhagawan, is located at Alangudi near Needamangalam in Tiruvarur district. ‘Guru peyarchi' festival is celebrated in a grand manner in this temple every year.
This year, ‘Guru peyarchi' takes place on November 21. Guru Bhagawan moves from Kumba rasi to Meena rasi. Special ‘homams' begin in the temple from Saturday. Special ‘abishekam,' ‘alankaram,' and ‘aarthis' will be performed on Sunday.
The temple derives its name from Apathsahayeswarar, who, according to legend, consumed poison and saved the ‘Devas' when ‘Parkadal' was churned by ‘Devas' and ‘Asuras.' As he saved the Devas from danger - ‘apathu' in Tamil - he was called Apathsahayeswararswamy. His consort is Elavarkuzhali.
There is a Vinaykar, who killed an Asura and saved the Devas. He is called "Kalankamal Katha Vinayakar."
The sprawling temple has Guru Dakshinamurthy on the southern side.
Guru Bhagawan is the Lord of Dhanusu rasi and Meena rasi. Tharai and Sangini are his consorts.
The ‘vahana' for Guru Bhagawan is elephant. The Lord is worshipped by offering ‘kadalai' as ‘prasadam' and white ‘mullai' flowers. ‘Pushparagam' is the stone meant for Guru Bhagawan. Rice mixed with black gram is also offered to Him.
According to legend, Viswamithirar, Thirumal, Brahma, Garuda, Asthathikka Balagas, Veerabadrar, Sundarar offered worship in this temple.
Tiruvarur Collector M. Chandrasekaran has said that elaborate arrangements had been made for the festival. Additional buses would be operated and the local panchayat had made arrangements for providing drinking water and setting up toilet facilities.
As thousands of people are expected to throng the temple, elaborate sanitary and health arrangements had been made.
The Primary Health Centre at Alangudi had been geared up and all doctors had been put on duty. Drugs had been stocked in sufficient quantity at the PHC and mobile medical units would be pressed into service.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements in view of the festival, Mr. Chandrasekaran said.
While the ‘homams' would start from Saturday, ‘laksharchanai' would begin from December 2.
All ‘Navagraha Kshetras' are located in Thanjavur district and the Karaikal region of the Union Territory of Puducherry.
They are Suryanarkoil near Kumbakonam for the Sun God; Thingalur for the Moon God; Vaitheeswarankoil for Angarahan; Alangudi for Guru Bhagawan; Thirunageswaram for Rahu'; Keelaperumpallam for Kethu; Thirunallar for Sani Bhagawan (saturn); Kanjanur for Sukra; and Thiruvenkadu for Chevvai (mars).
Guru Peyarchi is also celebrated at Sri Vashisteswaraswamy Temple at Thittai near Thanjavur. Laksharchana at the Guru sannidhi at the Thittai Temple began on Thursday.
Elaborate arrangements have also been made at Thittai for the benefit of the devotees who are expected for the Guru Peyarchi on Sunday.