Vanamutti Perumal Temple, Kozhikuthi, Mayiladuthurai – Legends
Story of Pippala Maharshi:
A king called Nirmalan once suffered from a skin disease. While passing through a forest, he came across a sage playing veena very sweetly. He fell at the feet of the sage and sought his blessings for relief from the disease. Merciful rishi taught a mantra to the king and advised him to say the mantra daily. As per the rishi’s advice king began to chant. Suddenly he heard some voice and the voice said, “This is the voice of Lord Vishnu. You are affected by an intense dosha. Start your pilgrimage through the banks of Cauvery. Moovalur Lord Marga Sahayeswarar (Lord Shiva) will guide you. Bathe in all the holy places on the way. You stop and stay at a place where your body becomes clear of the disease”.
The king stopped the journey at the place as directed by the voice and was happy to see him quite healthy free of the disease. He prayed to Lord Vishnu with all gratitude. A tall Athi tree appeared from where God granted darshan to the king, with Mother Mahalakshmi on his chest. As all the sins of the king were washed off here, the place came to be known as Koti Hathi meaning the place freeing the devotee from crores of doshas. In the days that followed, the name changed as Kozhi Kuthi. The king, surrendering at the feet of Lord, began penance and became Pippala Maharshi. The Maharshi began his penance on the banks of Cauvery. Now there is a Mandapam in this place and the Cauvery flowing nearby is called Pippala Theertha.
Later King Sarabhoji approached the sage Pippalar to give solution for coming out of the sin done by him during war times. Pippalar advised him to worship Lord Sri Srinivasa Perumal and take bath in the Pushkarani for 48 days. King Sarabhoji was astonished by the beauty of Lord Sri Srinivasa and constructed a beautiful temple having 7 Praharams.
Place to cure Skin Diseases:
The famous “Pippalar Maharishi Theertham” where a holy dip is claimed to cure skin diseases is located here. There is a Pippalar Sannathi in the Margasagayeswarar temple at Moovalur.
As Pippalar was liberated from Kodi Hathi Dosham, this place came to be referred to as Kodi Hathi Papa Vimochana puram which in course of time became Kozhi Kuthi, the name by which this place is referred to now.