Panchavateeswarar Temple, Anandha Thandava Puram, Mayiladuthurai – Legends
Story of Mankkanjara Nayanar & Kalikkama Nayanar:
Staunch Shiva devotee Mankkanjara Nayanar was also the commander of the forces of his king. He saw more happiness in taking care of Shiva devotees. Yet, he had his own sorrow. He had no child. He and his wife were praying to Lord seeking child boon. The time too came to make him happier when his wife delivered a girl baby on an auspicious day. They named the child Punniya Vardhini. She grew with all charm and long shining hair and attained the marriageable age. Mankkanjarar chose Kalikammar who too was a staunch Shiva devotee as the bridegroom for his daughter. It was an alliance between two devotee families. People of the place were happy of this relationship.
Lord Shiva cannot afford to be absent on the occasion. He arrived a day earlier in his saffron belonging to Ma Viradhiar sect of the devotees wearing the sacred thread made of hair. On seeing bride Punniavardhini and her long hair, he said it would be very useful for his sacred thread. Without any hesitation, Manakkanjarar simply cut his daughter’s hair, whose marriage was to take place the next day, and offered to the Shiva devotee. While the public were blaming both the devotee and the father of the bride, Lord Shiva appeared, granted Darshan to the couple holding the hair in a hand. Meantime, the long hair also adored the head of the bride.
Bridegroom Kalikkamar also came running to the place not for the loss of the hair of his would be wife, but for the darshan of Lord, he had miserably missed. He said that he would have offered the hair himself to the Lord after the marriage when she would be his wife legally. He shed tears saying he had lost the opportunity. He became Kalikkama Nayanar later. Both father-in-law and son-in-law are among the 63 Nayanmars worshipped with equal respect as Lord himself.
Shiva gave his Anandathandava Darshan to Ananda Maha Muni:
Once, a Rishi known as Ananda Maha Muni lived in Rameswaram. He used to visit daily the temple of Lord Nataraja at Chidambaram during Arthajama (night 10 pm) by his yogic power through the sky. One day there was a heavy rain at that time; he could not reach Chidambaram and landed at this place. He decided to commit suicide as he could not get the Dharsan of Lord Nataraja. Lord gave his Dharsan in the posture of Anandathandava and saved him. Anandathandava is a unique posture, keeping the left leg thump in line with the nose. The Nataraja of this temple is in the Anandathandava posture.
As per the Sthala puranam the present Anandathandava Puram was known as Panchavadi and the main deity was known as Panchavateeswarar.