Nootreteeswarar Temple, Chinnakavanam – Legends
Two Presiding Deities:
In olden days this place was called Chathurvethapuram and the main deity is called Chadurvedeeswarar with Goddess Sivagami Ammai. On his way to Kasi, Sage Agasthya came here to worship Chadurvedeeswarar when he got the divine message that worshipping a Shivalingam under the Eranzhil tree here for 108 days will be equivalent to going to Kasi. So, he created a lingam every day with the sand of the nearby Brahma Aranya river and worshipped them for 108 days.
But on the final day, all the 108 lingams merged themselves into a single Vinayaka idol for the simple reason that he did not start the worship with Vinayaka as per custom. Then Lord Shiva gave Dharshan to Agasthya in the form of Vinayaka. The 108 lingams which got merged into a Vinayaka are present under the Eranjil tree in the name of Ankola Ganapathy. In spite of many hundreds of years of exposure to nature’s elements the sand made Vinayakar is still looking fine.
Since all his 108 lingams got merged into a Vinayaka, Agasthya then installed another lingam called Nootreteeswarar which is considered equivalent to the original 108 lingams. In the sanctum sanctorum we can see both Nootreteeswarar and Chadurvedeeswarar in the form of lingams in separate shrines. Also, there are two Nandhis for the two lingams.
Sage Agastya built 108 temples on the banks of Kuchasthalai River:
As per another legend, the sage Agastya emptied the oceans to reveal the demons lead by Vritrasura. It enabled the Devas to find and kill them. However, a lot of living beings in the ocean lost their lives without water. Due to this sin, the sage got severe stomach pain. He approached Lord Subramanya in the site called Thiruthani. He advised the sage to construct 108 temples for Lord Shiva to get rid of his pain. He created a river called Kuchasthalai river and built 108 temples on the banks of that river. It is said that Nootreteeswarar temple in Chinnakavanam is the 108th temple.