Nageswaran Temple Kumbakonam
One of the most ancient temples in Kumbakonam, the small Nageswara Swami - Shiva temple, one of the finest early Chola temples, is noted for the quality of its sculpture, thought to have been completed a few years into the reign of Parantaka I (907 - 940).
Adisesha and Surya had worshipped Sri Nageswara here. When Adisesha was groaning under the weight of the world, he came to Kuvinvanam, the present Nageswara temple and did penance. Siva and Parvati appeared before Adisesha and blessed him with enough strength. A well in the temple is called Naga Theertham.
Standing in a courtyard, the principal shrine to Shiva is connected to a columned mandapa. Both share a base carved with scenes from the epics and lotus petals. The main niches on the sanctum wall contain sculptures - on the north, Dakshinamurti ("south-facing" Shiva as teacher), on the west Ardhanarishvara (male Shiva and female Shakti in one figure) and Brahma on the south. Joining them are high-relief near-life-size sculptures of unidentified figures, perhaps worshippers, donors or royalty. Within the courtyard, a shrine to Nataraja features rearing horses and wheels, with tiny figures as spokes.
The sun's rays fall on the lingam in the central shrine through an opening in the eastern tower for 3 days in a year - on the 11th, 12th and 13th days in the month of Chithrai (April / May).