Kalyanasundaresar Temple, Nallur – Worship & Religious Practises
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Shaiva community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 5:30 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises four steps: Abhisheka (sacred bath), Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Kalyanasundaresar and Girisundari. The worship is held amidst music with nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred texts) read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast.
There are weekly rituals like Somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like Pradosham and monthly festivals like Amavasai (new moon day), Kiruthigai, Pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi. Shivrathri in February–March and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December–January are the major yearly festivals celebrated in the temple.
During Masi Magam festival, the Somaskanda Murthy is taken in procession around the temple. Pregnant women conduct bangle ceremony in the temple, praying to the central deity of the temple and Kali for smooth delivery. Tonsure ceremony for getting children shaved for the first time to promote proper growth is a very common worship practice. Shiva is believed to have shown his feet to saint Thirunavukarasar and hence the practice of blessing with Sadari, which is otherwise practiced in Vishnu temples, is followed in the temple.