Agneeswarar Temple, Neyveli – Legends
In 2004, when two Shiva devotes visited Oondreeswarar temple at Poondi village. After their visit there, a village boy appeared and directed them to visit a nearby Shiva lingam at Neyveli village and disappeared. In the village, they found no Shiva lingam / temple and after persistent search, the villagers showed them a mound of thorny shrubs and wild weeds which they said is the only place which they had not explored due to the movement of snakes. On clearing the place, they found a beautiful, shining Shiva lingam with only the top (Rudhra) portion exposed under the clutches of the massive roots of a big Kallala tree (banyan without the hanging roots).
The lingam was present very fresh as if daily poojas were taking place. Kallala tree is the one under which Lord Dhakshinamoorthy sits. The two people then heard about Vadapalani Ramamoorthy who is doing the temple related services for more than 3 decades and informed him the details about this Lingam. Then, Sri Ramamoorthy, Sri Muragashram Swamigal and Dr. Sathyamoorthy ex-director of ASI and the current chief patron of REACH foundation visited the place and they had a terrific experience. When they tried to enter the sanctum hutment, a whirlwind dust storm supported by heavy rain started without any warning all of a sudden. They had to go and embrace the nearby trees in order not to be thrown away freely.
The Kallala tree started swinging wildly and an army of beetles flew all over the place and chased the people away. All these happened within that very small area of few 100 meters radius. Even the nearby villagers did not believe it when they arrived at the village in shambles fully wet. Later it was told in the Deiva prasannam that Siddhars were in the middle of their worship and since it got disturbed, they got into all these problems. It was then decided that this is not a normal place and had to be handled very carefully. Then, Deiva prasannam was conducted by two eminent experts, one from Chennai and the other, a Namboodri from Kerala.
Without one knowing what the other said, surprisingly both gave more than 90% matching information such as: the main deity is Agneeswarar. It is believed that the 18 siddha purushas among whom the two most prominent duo Karur Devar and Nerur Sadhasiva Brahmendra worship this deity in Sukshuma Roopa even today during midnights. There is also pond called Agni Theertham on the north-eastern part of this temple, which is believed to have spurted from the third eye of Lord Shiva. A dip in this pond will eliminate any kind of Sarpa Dosha.
The Kallala tree without hanging roots is the adobe of Vana Durga (Mother Kali, Goddess of forests) and 9 rishis are penancing below this tree. It was revealed during prasannam that the Adivasis who lived here have worshipped this Kali as their main deity in ancient days and the divine presence of Kali is still felt even today in this tree. It is believed a Siddhar in the form of Snake, lives in this tree make occasional appearances during Pradhosha Kaala poojas even today.
The Poondi area is historically a place where the ancient stone age people lived – remember they lived near the water bodies. The Gudiyam caves near Poondi has pre-history caves where stone age people lived. On the way to Neyveli from Poondi, the vast area on the right side has been fenced and being protected by Archeological Survey of India. There is a permanent museum of the finds of the stone age people discovered from these areas.