Pushpavaneswarar Temple (Poovananathar Temple), Thirupuvanam, Sivaganga – Legends
Ponnaiyal nail impression on procession deity:
There lived in Tirupuvanam a dancer woman Ponnaiyal by name. As a staunch devotee, she spent all her earnings from the dancing programmes in feeding Shiva devotees. She had a desire to sculpt Lord Poovananathar in pure gold. To fulfill her desire, Lord came in the guise of a siddha and advised her to melt all the brass, lead and copper articles in the house at night which will turn into gold.
The dancer followed the advice of the Siddha and her joy knew no bounds to see adequate gold to make the idol of the Lord. With the gold she got through the alchemy miracle, the dancer made out a beautiful idol of the Lord and in her ecstasy, she embraced the idol and kissed it on the cheek. The nail symbol of Ponnaiyal is visible on the procession deity.
Thirupuvanam holier than Kasi:
During the Puranic Age, one Darma Yagnan was carrying his father’s ashes – asthi to Rameswaram from Kasi-now Varanasi. He stayed in this place for a while for rest. His friend accompanying him opened the pot containing the asthi but was surprised to find flowers in the pot and not asthi. But he did not reveal the truth to his friend. Reaching Rameswaram, while opening the pot, they found only asthi and not the flower. Now, the friend told Darmayagna what he found earlier.
They returned back with the pot to Tirupuvanam and found the flower when they opened the pot. As what was simply asthi-ash in Kasi turned into a flower in Tirupuvanam, the place is considered 16 times holier than Kasi. The proverb here goes “it is a veesam more than Kasi” claiming greater reputation than Kasi. Those unable to go to Kasi to immerse the ashes of the departed ones in River Ganga do it here in Vaigai River and light the Moksha Deepa.
Nandhi moving away to allow Tirugnanasambandar to have darshan of Lord Shiva:
When saint Tirugnanasambandar visited this place, he saw Shivalingas in every particle of river sand and could not walk on the banks to reach the other side of the river. He prayed to the Lord singing his praise from where he was. Nandhi, the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva was hiding the Lord from Gnanasambandar. Lord Shiva asked the Nandhi to move by the side to grant his darshan to the saint. We see Nandhi in the temple a little away on the side representing this event.
Parvathi penance on Lord Shiva:
Goddess Parvati, to expiate from her sin of arguing with Shiva to attend her father’s Yagna, sat under the Parijata tree here for Penance. A Shiva linga emerged from beneath the tree and dispelled the sin of Mother Parvathi and it is the main deity being worshipped. The place is called Pushpavanam in the epics.
Mention in Thiruvilayadal Puranam:
Paranjothi Munivar in his Thiruvilayadal Puranam said that the Siva Lingam in Thirupuvanam is in the compressed form of the whole Universe.
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Surya, Chandra, Dharumanjan, Thiranasanan, Goddess Lakshmi, Brahma, Perumal, Sage Naradhar, King Nalan, Chera, Chola and Pandiya kings worshipped Somaskandar here.