Jambugeswarar Temple, Sembakkam – Legends
Story behind the name Sembakkam:
According to the legend, when Lord Muruga killed Soorapadman (Soora Samharam) the head of the demon is believed to have fallen here and hence the place was known as Sirampakkam (Siram means Head in Thamizh). It is said that the name Sirampakkam got changed as Sembakkam down the generations. Even today, the flag hoisting ceremony of Thiruporur Sri Kandhaswamy temple (for Lord Muruga) is done by the people of Sembakkam.
Vasuki clearing her sin of spitting poison during churning of Milk Ocean:
When snake Vasuki was used as a rope during the churning of milky ocean, unable to withstand the pressure she spit out poison and Shiva swallowed it to protect everyone. In order to get cleared of that sin Vasuki prayed to Shiva and Shiva answered her that he is present as Jala Swayambu in the water ditch of a naval (fruit) forest which is to the east of the place where Goddess Parvathi came as the Kamadhenu (cow) and poured milk on Shiva (Thiru Idai Churam). By worshipping him (present in water) here, Vasuki will get the salvation for mixing the poison in water (milky ocean) and so did Vasuki. The sculpture depicting this is present in the Jambugeswarar shrine.
Indra worshipping Shiva here:
Another story has it that Sage Naradha was explaining the sanctity of Sri Uthara Jambugeswarar to Lord Indra who didn’t pay much attention in listening to the sage. Because of this, Indra got into difficulties and came personally and worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Ko Chenganan blessed with Child by praying Shiva here:
As per Sthalapuranam, the king Ko Chenganan who was childless was traveling across the country worshipping Lord Shiva at various places. When he reached Sembakkam the axle of his Chariot broke down here and he was resting at this place. Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams and directed him to build a temple here, where he would be called Sri Jambugeswarar along with Goddess Sri Azhagaambigai. The king built this temple for Lord Shiva and was blessed with a child.
People worshipped Shiva here:
As per Sthalapuranam of the temple, Indiran, Naradar, Agasthiyar, Navagrahangal, Naga Kings like Aadhisesan, Anandan, Vasuki, Karkodagan, 32 Naga Kannigal and Siddhargal (Saints) came here and worshipped Lord Jambugeswarar and other Deities. Therefore, the Lord Jambugeswarar is very, very powerful not only in the ancient period but also now and solve any problem of day-to-day life of the devotees on their visit to this Temple and got blessings and salvation for their sins or get out of the curse of the God/saints. It is believed that many Siddhars gather here on Pournami days to offer their prayers.
Speciality of this Place:
The place once had 32 streets, 32 Vinayagar temples and 32 ponds but now has about 23 streets, 23 Vinayagar temples and 7 or 8 ponds. Generally temple will be there in the midst of a village/Town but here temple is present in every street and in fact two Vinayagar temples opposite to each other are present in the same street. In addition there are many other temples and thus this place is considered a divinely blessed one with abundant resources of water, fertile land and spiritual people. The Sembakkam people have the special privilege of making the rope for the Flag hoisting ceremony of the Thiruporur Murugan temple during the annual Brahmotsavam festival.
Sages secretly worshipping Shiva here:
In those days, a sect of sages used to go around for Shiva worship by walk and they apply holy ash all over the body in front of Gurus or Lord Shiva only in holy places and do the worship. They will not do it in any ordinary place. Once they were looking out for such a place in this region and a holy voice directed them here. There is a belief that these sages are worshipping the Lord here daily. The pooja sound is heard during the midnights even now but only to select sacred people.