Muppandhal Avvaiyar Amman Temple, Aralvaimozhi – Legends
In Tamil literature, there are many poetesses with the name Avvaiyar. One of them lived during the Sangam period and was a close friend of the Kings, Pari and Athiyaman. She wrote 59 poems in Purananuru. The other Avvaiyar was a contemporary of Kampan and Ottakkoothar. She was the elderly figure most familiar to Tamil people. There is a traditional story that Avvaiyar had arranged for a marriage or the daughters of Sangavai and Angavai, daughters of King Pari near Aralvaimozhi to which she invited the sovereigns of the Chera, Chola and Pandya kingdoms. The kings erected pandals in the respective places allotted to them and this event led to the place being called Muppandhal.
Mother Esakki appeared in the dreams of an Old Devotee:
In a place called Panagudi of Tirunelveli district a lady devotee was greatly suffering due to unbearable stomach ache. Though she consulted many doctors nobody was able to cure it. Then she thought of her clan Goddess and shouted crying “Amma (mother)”. That night in her dream her clan God Esakki Amman came, sat neat her and massaged her stomach and asked her, “I am now below a cactus plant. Can you not build a thatched shed for me?” and then vanished. The pain of the lady vanished and she ran to the temple of her Clan Goddess and she saw the mother Goddess in the Idol form made of stone below a cactus plant. The villagers immediately built a thatched shed for the Goddess immediately. Fame of the Temple reached to several devotees and devotees improved the thatched temple to a stone built Temple.
Story of incarnation of Lady Prostitute to take revenge on a Priest:
There was an ancient temple of Lord Shiva in a nearby village called Pazhavur. Priest of the Temple developed relation with a Prostitute of the village. She being a great devotee of Lord Shiva, protected her virtue by being faithful to only the priest. When the priest lost all his wealth, the other prostitutes were trying to get her separated from the priest. The priest who was interested in getting back all his wealth murdered the Lady Prostitute, near a cactus bush. The lady’s elder brother who saw her dead also died there itself and the priest who tried to escape was bitten by a snake and he also died.
The Prostitute girl and her brother to take revenge were born as a Yaksha boy and girl called Neelan and Neeli and lived in Chozha kingdom. When the people found out that they were not human beings, they ran away from their residence and reached a Cactus bush. The brother turned in to a neem tree and the girl lived under that neem tree. The priest was born as a merchant and when he came once near the cactus bush, she created a baby, followed him and told people that he had cheated her and when he came back with her, she killed him near the cactus bush.
During that time Avvaiyar told her that her mission is over, she can stay near the cactus bush itself. When Lord Shiva, the friend of Yakshas took pity on Neeli and requested Goddess Parvathi to help her, the Goddess gave her the great power called Veera Shakthi. From that time Neeli was known as Esakki started protecting the villages nearby. Cactus shrub and Neem Tree can be still see even today. People call that place as Adhi Moola Sthanam (The ancient sanctum). There is a goddess statue made of baked clay is still there. People who want to be blessed with children keep cradles at the mandapam at the Aadhi Moola Sthanam.