Iravatheeswarar Temple, Thirukottaram – Legends
Airavatam visit to this place:
Airavatam is the elephant vehicle of Lord Indra at the heavens. It is with white skin and four tusks. Once, Sage Durvasa brought a lotus flower that adorned the Shivalingam consecrated by the Sage at Kasi. He presented that flower to Lord Indra who was coming in his ceremonial procession. The arrogant Indra received the flower with one hand without any reverence and placed it on the head of the elephant. The elephant removed the flower with its trunk, threw it on the floor and stamped the flower with its leg.
The angry Durvasa cursed both Lord Indra and the elephant. Accordingly, Airavatam became a wild elephant and for one hundred years went to several holy places, worshipped the deities and finally got its original form at Madurai. This is the legend narrated in the Tiruvilayadal Puranam. Tirukkottaaru is one of the holy places worshipped by Airavatam as a wild elephant.
Subha Maharishi worshipped Shiva in the form of Bee:
Subha Maharishi paid his obeisances to this Lord every day. One day the temple doors were closed because he was late. Seeing this Subha Maharishi took the form of a bee, went into the sanctum and worshipped the Lord. From then on he remained there. From that time onwards, the beehive remains in the sanctum of the Prime Deity. The devotees who go there to worship should stand away from the hive and offer their prayers. It is said that honey is extracted annually from this hive and is adorned the Lord with that honey. The hive once again thrives. The image of this Subha Maharishi is seen in the rear side of the outer round.
Agasthiyar and Subha Maharishi established the Lingam:
It is believed that both Sage Agasthiyar and Subha Maharishi established this imposing Lingam and worshipped.
This place is called ‘Kóttaaru’ as it is in the banks of Vaaňciyaaru. This is ‘Kóttaaru’ because Airavatam, the white elephant worshipped the deity, after hitting the clouds and making the waters pour down like a river.
People worshipped Shiva here:
Here the renowned sages like Agasthiyar, Subha Munivar, and Kumaarabhuvana Thevar worshipped the Lord and received his benedictions.