Vekkali Amman Temple, Woraiyur – Legends
Vekkali Amman saved people from fire rain created by Lord Shiva fury:
A Chola King was ruling the region then. His Guru Sarama Munivar was a staunch Shiva devotee. He created a garden for Thayumanaswamigal in Trichy Fort growing flowers for puja to the Lord. The garden has lot of flowers of various varieties. But the king was taking those flowers for his wife. His men took the flowers. Sarama Munivar told the king that he was doing wrong but the king not only humiliated the Acharya and proudly said that only flowers remaining there would be allowed for his puja. The Guru appealed to Lord Shiva.
Infuriated Lord Thayumanavar turned west and opened his forehead eye. Woraiyur was reduced to ashes with the fire rain from the Lord’s forehead. King’s fort was destroyed. People began to run for safety. The only place that was not affected by the Lord’s fire was the open ground where Vekkali Amman stayed. People surrendered to her. Responding to the prayers of the people to get back their homes, Mother Vekkali took the form of a full moon and appeared before the Lord to quench his fury. Lord calmed. The fire rain stopped.
Queen Bhuvanamadevi was also caught in the fire rain. She was pregnant then and it was in an advanced stage. Unable to bear the fury of the flames she jumped into the Cauvery and was drawn by its current. A Brahmin saved her at Utamacherry and took care of her. She delivered Karikal Peruvalathan in his house. She was a staunch devotee of Vekkali Amman whose mercy protected her and the Chola dynasty survived. Woraiyur people are very grateful to Vekkali Amman and continue to worship her as their protector Goddess for generations.
Tying Prayer Papers:
Annai Vekkali (Mother Vekkali) relieves the devotees of their distress and blesses everyone impartially with her protecting hands. The devotees, who write their problems in “Prayer papers” that are sold at the temple, place them at the glorious feet of Goddess Vekkali and hang them in the Trishul, which is in front of the Goddess. Once a devotee does this he is sure of his problems being solved. This Holy place is the most ancient, Glorious and extraordinary “Sakthi Sthalam” in Tamilnadu. That those who worship Annai Vekkali need not fear the evil effects of planets is an everyday experience.
Vekkaliamman without a roof:
In another story, narrated by the renowned Tamil poet Ottakkoothar, it is said that Lord Shiva created a sand storm. The storm stopped but the people of the city had lost their homes in the storm and now had no shelter. The people prayed to the Goddess and she too decided to live in a temple without a roof, until everyone in the city had built a shelter for themselves. From then till today, Vekkaliamman Temple does not have a roof. The Moolavar, or the reigning deity is open to the sky, be it rain or shine.
Legend says that many people have tried to build a roof for this temple on numerous occasions but in vain. Even today, the main deity of Vekkaliamman does not have a roof over her. Since then, the people of Woraiyur have been grateful and loyal to Vekkali Amman and continue to worship her as their protector Goddess for many generations. This historic temple and the kings of those days prayed to the goddess for valor and strength. A visit to this temple and propitiating the goddess before going to the battlefield was a common occurrence.