Friday, November 10, 2017

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – Legends

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – Legends
Surya penance on Lord Shiva:
The legend is that Dakshan (father of Goddess Parvathi) once performed a yagna where he invited all the devas (celestial gods) but intentionally left out Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was angered by this slight and all the devas who attended the yagna and consumed the yagna-food (avirbhaagam), became the object of his fury. Lord Shiva instructed Aghora Veerabhadrar to go to Dakshan’s yagna-hall and punish all the devas.
Agora Veerabhadrar carried out the lord’s instruction and as a result the Sun God (Suryan) who was one of the attendee lost his eye sight and lustre. To seek Lord Shiva’s forgiveness, Suryan went to several holy places and offered his prayers. It was finally at this place (Puravaar Panangkattur) that Suryan’s eye sight and his brightness were restored. Hence, Lord Shiva is also praised here as “Kan parithu aruliya kadavul” (the God who took and later restored the eye sight).
As Suryan got back his brightness at this temple, it is believed that every year, he worships Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi for a period of seven days from the 1st day of the Tamil New year by illuminating the idols in the two sanctums i.e directly on the lord as well as the Ambal bathing them from top to bottom as he transits from morning to evening. So, all sannidhis of the temple face east.
King Sibi's sacrifice:
One day, Indra and Agni wanted to test him and appeared before him in the form of a vulture and dove. When the vulture chased down its prey to eat it, the dove sought refuge in the lap of King Sibi. Sibi requested the vulture to let go of the dove. The vulture refused as he was hungry and asked the King to let go of his rightful meal. The King asked the vulture if he would be satisfied with flesh equal to the weight of the dove to let go of it. The vulture accepted. The King asked for a pair of scales, and without hesitation, sliced a portion of his thigh and placed it on the scales to equal the weight of the dove. 
It is believed that Goddess Parvati (Satyambigai) was pleased with King Sibi's sacrifice and righteousness and gave him moksha at this palm grove (Panangadu in Tamil) which is why it was called " Puravar Panangattur" in ancient times. The later Cholas are said to be descendants of King Sibi which was why they assumed the title of "Sembian" and rightfully they have built a beautiful temple at the spot associated with King Sibi.
Puravaar Panangaatoor:
To distinguish it from the other holy places, this was named ‘Puravaar Panangattur’ since it was surrounded by thick woods (puravu: grove, wood / forest). As this holy place was enclosed by the woods of Mullai region, the place is called ‘Puravaar Panangaatoor’.