Nagapattinam (Tamil Nadu)
Nagapattinam, a port town, is situated 83 kms away from Tanjore or Thanjavur. Nagapattinam has the shrine of Saundaryaraja Perumal and is considered as an important Vaishnava shrine. According to the legend, it was at this place that goddess Parvati got back her original Saundarya (beauty) after worshipping Vishnu. Another rarity of this place is the idol of Ashtabhuja Narasimha (Narasimha with eight arms). There is also a separate temple for Nagaraja. There are many worth visiting places in and around Nagapattinam.
Nagore: Nagore is situated 6 kms from Nagapattinam. Popularly known as the Mecca of South India, it is a holy place not only for Muslims but also for Hindus and Christians. The tomb of the Sufi Saint Shahul Hamid or Saint Miran Sahib of the 16th century is situated here. There are five minarets over the tomb, one of which is 30 metres high and can be seen from a long distance. Every year, a grand festival called Kanduri is celebrated which lasts for a fortnight, when thousands of devotees assemble here and pay their respect to the saint without any distinction of caste or creed.
Karaikal: Situated almost 12 kms away from Nagore, Karaikal was once a French settlement and a trading centre. The place has become famous due to the situation of the temple for the saint Karaikal Ammayar. The real name of the saint was Puithavathiar (which means a lady of merit). She grew up as a great devotee of Shiva and gave a masterly exposition of the Shaivite philosophy by composing several splendid hymns in Tamil. She has been immortalised as one of the Nayanars. The life of Ammmayar is depicted during the Mangavi festival at Karaikal every year in the Tamil month of Ani.
Tirunallaru: 5 kms from Karaikal, this small town has become very famous due to the existence of a rare temple for God Saturn. Although Saturn is only represented as one of the Navagrahas, a separate shrine has been constructed for this deity at this place as he is considered as a god granting the wishes of the devotee. Pilgrims flock to this place during the Shani Peyarchi festival. This place is also referred to a Nalleswaram as king Nala worshipped the Saturn at this place. Devotees burn gingerly oil lamps and offer heaps of gingerly oil seeds.
Vedaranyam: Only 38 kms from Nagapattinam is situated Vedaranyam, a popular Shaivite pilgrim centre with an ancient temple. According to local tradition, it is believed that the divine couple of Shiva and Parvati appeared before sage Agastya in the bridal form as desired by him. The Kalyana Utsava is celebrated here on a grand scale during the Tamil month of Thai and Adi.
Kodikarai (Point Calimere): 10 kms from Vedaranyam, this coastal wildlife sanctuary is the home of migratory birds particularly water fowl and flamingos. Popular among the bird watchers and photographers, this place is visited by many such enthusiasts during November to January. Like other wildlife sanctuaries, black buck and wild ass can also be seen in this area.
How to reach Nagapattinam
Nagapattinam is connected by rail and by road. All the places of tourist interest can be approached by frequently running buses. There are very good lodges in the city and a few rest house.