Neelamegha Perumal Temple, Thirukannapuram – Legends
One day, the Rangabhatta an ardent devotee and priest of the temple gave the garland used in the Perumal puja to his sweet heart. It so happened quite unexpectedly the king came to the temple, but the priest had no puja garland to receive the king. He simply used the second hand garland he presented to his lover. The king noticed a hair and enquired the priest how it came there. The priest replied that it was the hair of Perumal.
When demanded to show it, the priest assured the king to show it the next day. The king agreed but warned him of punishment if he failed. The priest fell at the feet of Lord to protect him. When the king came the next day, Perumal gave him darshan with hair. Thus, he became Sowrirarjan Perumal. Sowri means hair. Devotees can see this Thirumudi (hair) darshan only during the procession on new moon day.
Lord Vishnu accepting Garuda as his Vahanam:
Garuda was returning from the milk ocean (Parkadal in Tamil and Ksheera Samudra in Sanskrit) with nectar to free his mother. While flying over this temple, he proudly thought he was carrying the nectar which others cannot do. He lost his energy and fell on the sea. Realizing his folly, Garuda sat on a rock in the sea and performed penance on Lord Vishnu to pardon him. Lord not only pardoned Garuda and accepted him as his Vahanam. This event is celebrated on the full moon day in Masi-February-March.
The region was once under the rule of chieftain named Munayodharan, a staunch Vishnu devotee. He used to have his food only after worshipping Lord. He spent all his earnings in the service of Lord and became poor. He could not remit the taxes to his king and was arrested for default of payments. Lord appeared in king’s dream and ordered release of chieftain immediately. The king obeyed. When he returned home, his wife gave him Pongal made of rice, a little dal and salt. Munayodharan worshipped Lord in his mind, offered the Pongal as nivedhana and ate it then. When the priest opened the doors of the temple the next day, he found Pongal sticking to mouth of Perumal and informed the matter to king and others. They understood that Lord had accepted the Pongal nivedhana submitted by Munayodharan. Since that day, Pongal nivedhana is offered to Lord at the night puja known as a Munayodharan Pongal.
All Rivers cleanse their Sins here:
During the Utharayana period covering six months from January-February to June-July, it is believed that all rivers join here for a dip to cleanse their own sins.
Kulasekhara Azhwar kept Child Rama in his Lap:
Saint Kulasekhara Azhwar saw the Lord as Child Rama and experienced the pleasure of keeping him on his lap and sung the Thalelo song - a melodious soft song to make the child sleep comfortably.
Vishnu granting Darshan to Sage Garudathandaga:
Perumal granted darshan to sage Garudathandaga in this place.
Uparisaravasu encounter with Lord Vishnu:
Many years ago, sages performed penance on Lord Vishnu relinquishing food and sleep and thus were physically reduced as thin as paddy stalks. Almost they lost human form. A king Uparisaravasu by name blessed with the Ashtakshara Mantra Upadesa from Lord himself was passing through this place with his men. As they were hungry, they began to cut the sages for food mistaking them as paddy stalks. Lord rushed to their rescue in the guise of a small boy and defeated the king and his men.
As his army could not resist the boy, he finally applied the Ashtakshara Mantra to win over him. The Mantra simply surrendered at Boy’s feet. Realizing that the boy was none other than Lord himself, the king fell at his feet and begged his pardon. Lord pardoned the king and appeared before him as Neelamegha Perumal. The king built this temple with the help of Vishwakarma the divine sculptor. Perumal agreed to stay here at the request of the king.
Lord Vishnu in receiving posture:
The Lord here is in the receiving posture and not in the abhaya Hastha signifying he will receive all our troubles.
There is no Swarga vasal as this land is considered Swargam on bhumi.
Lord Vishnu taught Ashtakshara Mandhiram to Thirumangai Azhwar:
"Om Namo Narayana" is the Thirumandiram and Thirumangai Azhwar was taught by Lord Neelamegha perumal itself. This sacred Mandiram consists of eight syllables and here Sriman Narayanan is said to live in each syllable and hence this place is also called "Srimathasthakshara Maha Manthira Siddhi Kshetram".
The temple tank is called as Nithya Pushkarani (Nithya -daily). Unlike other Pushkaranis where you are blessed if you dip on signified days, you can bath all days and be blessed hence the name. Bathing during the Amavasai days (new moon days) and performing karmas for the Pitrus (deceased ancestors) is equivalent of doing it in Gaya.
Fishermen Community conducting Special Poojas:
Neelamegha Perumal or Vishnu married the princes Padmavathi of the fishermen community. Once a year, a special pooja is conducted by all the fisherman of this area.
Walking Beauty of the Lord:
This is the temple where the Lord showed Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana, his walking beauty. After seeing the sleeping beauty of Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam, Vibheeshana wanted to see the walking beauty of the Lord, upon which he was directed by the Lord to his “Keezh (akku) Veedu’ (Eastern Gateway of the Lord). Lord Vishnu displayed his ‘walking beauty’ to Vibheeshana here on the new moon day. To mark this event, on every Amavasya day at 12noon, Lord Sowrirarjan comes out of his sanctum and provides darshan to Vibheeshana.
Lord Narayana in 3 forms:
On the 7th day of Vaikasi, Lord Narayana provides darshan in all his 3 forms (Trimurthy Swaroopam) - Maha Vishnu in the day, Brahma in the night at around 11 pm and Lord Shiva early next morning.