Manathunai Nathar Temple, Valivalam – Legends
Black Sparrow Valiyan attained Salvation here:
A man though noted for his high characters, committed some sins. As a result, he was born as a Karikuruvi-black sparrow in his next birth. This small bird had to face the harassment of its big counterparts. In one such attack, it was bleeding. It flew and took shelter in the hole of a tree. A Sivayogi was teaching his disciples under the tree. The sparrow listened carefully. The yogi was telling his disciples, “Of all Shiva Sthalas (places) Madurai is great. Of the sacred springs, Pottramarai in the temple is great. Of Shiva Murthis, Chokkanatha is great. There is none to equal Madurai.
Lord Somasundara-Chokkanathar is all merciful granting boons to his devotees.” The sparrow heard the advice of the Yogi with all attention. It also gained wisdom and enlightenment and understood the cause of its birth as a sparrow. The bird few to Madurai and circumambulated the temple and had a dip in the Pottramarai tank in the temple. It very sincerely prayed to Lord Somasundara for three days continuously. Pleased Lord called the bird and taught the Mrutyunjaya Mantra. The bird was further enlightened.
It appealed to Shiva to protect it from the attack of bigger birds as it was too tiny in size and prayed for strength to face such incidents. Lord said that it would be stronger than all bigger birds. The sparrow begged the boon for all sparrow species. It got the name Valian - strong. This black sparrow (Valiyan) is said to have circumambulated the shrine, hence the name Valivalam. Valiyan worshipped Manathunai Nathar and attained salvation.
People who worshipped Shiva here:
Surya is said to have worshipped here and the wheels of his chariot are believed to have created the Chakra Theertham moat. Sun, Valian, Sage Karanamamunivar, Pandavas, Kochengatacholan and saint Arunagiriar had worshipped Lord in this temple.