Nachiyar Koil (Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple) – Legends
Lord Vishnu marriage with Mahalakshmi:
As per Hindu legend, the sage Medhavi was doing penance at this place. While taking a bath in the river, he found an image of Chakrathaazhwar entwined with Yoga Narasimha. A divine voice asked him to install the image in his hermitage and worship it. Sage Medhavi was a staunch Perumal - Vishnu devotee. He wanted to have Lord as his son-in-law. He performed penance sitting under the Vanjula tree to have Mother Mahalakshmi as his daughter.
Mother appeared before the sage as a little pretty girl before him on the Uthiram star day in Panguni (March-April). The sage named her Vanjuladevi and brought her up in his hermitage. Lord Mahavishnu came to earth in five forms as Sangarshanan, Pradyumnan, Anirudhan, Purushothaman and Vaasudevan to find Mahalakshmi and marry her.
Each searched for Mother in different directions. Garuda Bhagwan, who accompanied the Lord, spotted Mother in the Sage’s ashram and informed the Lord. Perumal expressed his desire to the sage to marry his daughter.
Happily, saint Medhavi accepted for marriage. But before that he asked 3 Boons from Mahavishnu
1. He should attain life beyond birth and death (i.e.) he should attain eternity.
2. All the living beings in Narayur which gave the Lord food and wife, should also attain salvation and
3. His daughter should be given the first place in all the aspects.
Perumal agreed to the condition and had the hands of Mother. Hence from that day, this place is called as Naachiyar Kovil, (i.e.) temple of Mahavishnu wife. As Madurai stands in the name of Lordess Meenakshi, the wife of Lord Shiva, Naachiyar Kovil stands in the name of Lord Vishnu's wife.
Lord told Garuda that he should have his place here blessing the devotees as he had to be under the influence of wife. Thus Garuda Bhagwan became prominent in the temple. Named after Mother-Nachiar in Vaishnavite terms, the place came to be known as Nachiarkoil.
Prayers of King Kochengat Cholan:
There is another local legend that King Kochengat Cholan was once defeated and he was advocated to seek the blessings of Vishnu, which he obliged.
Legends of Temple Pond:
There is huge tank of 648 feet length and 225 feet breadth in front of the temple; it has a number of steps in the 3 sides. This tank is like a big pond and so it is called as "Mani Muthaaru".
There is a beautiful tale behind the name of this pond. Once, king of the birds, Garuda, took a Diamond Head ornament to Narayur Nambi from Tiruparkadal. A diamond (Mani) accidentally fell from the ornaments into this pond. As the precious stone fell into the pond degrading its status equivalent to ordinary pearl (Muthu) this tank is known as Mani + Muthi + Aaru (tank or pond).