Vaaleeswarar Temple, Ramagiri – Legends
There is an interesting story behind this temple. In Ramayana, after defeating Ravana, Rama reached Rameswaram, on his way to Ayodhya. As he killed Ravana, he was caught by Brahmahatti Dhosham. One will suffer from this Dhosham, if he kills a Brahmin. Ravana, though being a demon king, was a Brahmin as he was born to a Rishi. Rama was advised by his Guru Sage Vasishtar to get a Shiva Lingam from Kasi (Varanasi) and perform poojas to Lord Shiva to get relieved from the Dhosham, so that he can proceed to Ayodhya to take charge as the king. Rama took his Guru’s advice and sent Anjaneya (Hanuman) to bring a Shiva Lingam from Kasi Kshethra.
At the behest of Rama, Anjaneya was making his way by air with a Shivalingam taken from Kasi to Rameswaram to be installed there. He was surprisingly confronted by strange and dry weather and scorching sun premeditated by Lord Kala Bhairava, who wanted the Linga to be installed right here at his place. Unaware of this and driven by thirst Lord Anjaneya went on screening the whole area for water until finally found a beautiful calm cool pond. As the Linga was not to be placed anywhere before Rameswaram he looked for someone to keep the Linga while he drank water.
Lord Kala Bhairava in the form of a small boy came by and consented to hold the Linga. While Anjaneya was quenching his thirst, the boy told Anjaneya, that the Shiva Lingam was too heavy for him to hold anymore and kept it on the ground and went off. Anjaneya came back and saw the Shiva Lingam on the ground. He tried lifting it but he couldn’t. He roped around the Shiva Lingam with his lengthy tail and tried to pull it up using all his strength. The Shiva Lingam tilted a bit but never came off the ground. Anjaneya understood the trick and he cursed the pond to become a hill.
The pond became the hill here, on which a Murugan Temple is situated now. As Anjaneya brought the Shiva Lingam here, which was meant for Rama, the place came to be known as Ramagiri. The Shiva Lingam which was brought by Lord Anjaneyar is situated in the temple at the foot hill. Since Anjaneya tried to pull the Shiva Lingam with his tail, the Lord here is called as Vaaleeswarar (Vaal means Tail in Tamil). As the Shiva Linga here is brought by Anjaneyar from Kasi, it is said that by worshipping Vaaleeswarar here, one gets the benefit of worshipping Lord Shiva of Kasi.
Association with Vanara Kinga Vaali:
Another myth is connected with Vanara king ‘Vaali’ who used to follow ablution in the evening while submerging into the nearby ocean water. Appeased Lord Shiva appeared as a Swayambu Linga there. Vaali’s devotion wanted to enshrine it in his capital ‘Kishkinda’. Therefore, he tried to pull it with all his might but failed and fell weak on the ground. Realizing the sin, he committed, he pled to god for seeking pardon of the sacrilege he did. The sea of compassion lord Shiva came into vision with his consort as a gypsy with dogs. He constructed the water tank to empower the strength that Vaali had lost earlier. Since then, holy dip in that pious water tank is assumed to be curative.
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.