Koneswarar Temple, Kudavasal – Legends
Mouth of the Kumbha fell at this place:
During the Great Floods-Pralaya, Lord Brahmma placed the Vedas in a nectar pot which too was washed by the floods and came to south. To create the world again, Lord Shiva shot on the pot in the guise of a hunter. The pieces fell at different places where Lord appeared as Swayambu Linga. The mouth part of the pot fell at this place where too Lord appeared as a Swayambumurthy. This was later covered by an ant-hill.
Garuda’s mission on protecting his mother:
As per another legend, Garuda, the eagle of Hindu god Vishnu worshipped Shiva at this place. The mother of Garuda, Vinatha, was a slave of a demon king named Kathru. Garuda wanted to rescue his mother from the demon and he brought a pot of nectar from the abode of Brahma. A demon snatched the pot from Garuda and placed it on an ant hill. Garuda defeated the demon in a battle that followed and while trying to rescue the pot, he found that it was covered by the anthill. He dug the anthill with his beak and found a Linga under the anthill. He prayed to Shiva, explaining his venture; Shiva was pleased and helped Garuda rescue his mom from the clutches. The scar on the image of the Shiva in the form of Lingam is believed to have been caused by Garuda. So Garuda is seen in the compound walls of the temple as usually seen in Vishnu temples.
Kochengat Chola was a Chola king and one of the 63 Nayanmars (Saivite saints) of Saivism. He is believed to have attained spiritual rebirth of a spider that fought with an elephant in its previous birth over the worship of the Hindu god Shiva. He had red eyes during birth as he remained in his mother’s womb a little longer. His mother, looking into the babies red eyes said Kochenganan (in Tamil Ko=king, cheng=red, Kan=eyes), which literally means king with red eyes and hence he was named Kochengat Cholan. After becoming a king, he followed Saivism and built seventy Maadakovils, temples with elevated structure where elephants cannot reach the sanctum, in the Chola Empire. The temple is counted as one of the seventy temples built by him.
Shiva is said to have appeared out of a pot (Kudam) and relieved Drinabandu Munivar of his leprosy and hence the name Kudavasal.
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
Garuda, Bhrigu Maharishi, Jatayu, Agni, Sutha Maharishi and Thaalappiyar worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Vishnu floated in Earthen Vessel:
It is believed that when the great deluge submerged the earth, Vishnu remained afloat in an earthen vessel that stretched from Kudavasal to Kumbakonam.
Bathing in Temple Tank:
It is also believed that a part of the celestial nectar Amritam dropped here; hence a bath in the temple tank here is considered sacred during the Mahamagam festival at Kumbakonam.