Sampangi Pitchaaleeswarar Temple, Arani – Legends
This temple has an interesting legend attached to it. It is said that this village had lots of Sampangi (flower) plants all over. A man who owned many cows in this village, saw one of his cows going alone in the bushes and pouring milk by its own. Surprised by this act of his cow, the man and few villagers curiously went and cut the bushes off including a Sampangi plant to see what’s under bush. To his surprise, he saw a beautiful Shiva Lingam in the ground which was bleeding as the Axe had hit while cutting off the Sampangi plants.
Guilty of his act, the man cut his own hand off as he felt he had done an irreversible sin. The man’s wife pleaded to Lord Shiva and with his blessings the man got back his hand. Since the Lord evolved from the Sampangi bush and gave the man’s hand as Bhiksha (alm), He came to be known as Sampangi Pitchaaleeswarar.
Pancha Brahma Sthalams:
The river Brahma Aranya was believed to have been created by Lord Brahma. Once when he churned the Arani wood (Arani means fire) to create fire to start the Yagna for Sage Romesa, fire came out initially but on churning further, water came out of it and flown as a river. Since this was created by Lord Brahma from the Arani wood, this is called Brahma Aranya river.
The Brahma Aranya river flows from Andhra Pradesh and merges with sea at Pazhaverkadu. Many sages have meditated at the banks of this river and created many temples. Out of these, in five places they have contained all their meditative powers into Shivalingams and built temples. They are called Pancha Brahma Sthalams, representing the five faces of Lord Shiva and they are:
1. Ramagiri alias Thirukaarikarai in Andhra near Surutapalli/ Nagalapuram representing Ishana face of Lord Shiva
2. Pallikondeswaram alias Surutapalli representing Tatpurusha face
3. Vamadhevapuram alias Arani near Periyapalayam (not North Arcot) representing Vamadeva face.
4. Varamoorthy Kshetram alias Ariyathurai representing Satyojatha face.
5. South Gokarnam alias Chinthamaneeswaram – Kattur near Minjur, the place where Brahma Aranya river merges with sea representing Aghora face of Lord Shiva.
All these temples are many thousand years old and since they have been created by Sages, the base of the lingam (Avudayar) will be in square shape.
The place Arani got its name as it lies on the banks of Arani river which was known as Brahmaranya River in ancient days.
Rishis worshipped with Sampangi Flowers:
Rishis worshipped with Sampangi flowers and attained their wishes.