Alanthurai Nathar Temple, Thirpullamangai – Legends
Saptha Mangai Sthalams:
This is one of the seven temples (Saptha Mangai Sthalams) and also praised in the hymns of saint Tirugnanasambandar who lived in the seventh century. Thiruchakkarapalli is the first in this series. These seven temples were worshipped by the Sapthamadhas – Ariamangai, Chakkara Mangai, Shoola Mangai, Nandhi Mangai, Pasu Mangai (Pasupathi temple), Thazha Mangai and Pulla Mangai and also the Saptha Rishis (seven sages).
Shiva is said to have consumed the poison that emanated from the churning of the milky ocean here – hence he is called as Alanthurai Nathar.
It is also believed that Parvathi Devi is said to have taken the form of a Chakravaha bird and worshipped Shiva here, hence the name Pullamangai. Some sources say that the name Pullamangai is sourced from the Kites that live in the Temple Tower.
Naga Shakti Shrine:
This temple is so special that the eight Ashta Naga Devas offered 300 million Nagalinga flowers in worship here on a Shivaratri night. So, it is at this Naga Shakti shrine that the Mother Goddess got the darshan of Shiva with the divine snakes sporting on his neck.
Kamadenu worshipped Lord Shiva here:
This temple was worshipped by the Divine Cow Kamadenu. This is depicted in a sculpture.
A Chola king, Kochengat Cholan was a spider in his previous birth, spun webs on the Shivalinga and worshipped Lord Shiva. The spider spun the webs to prevent birds spitting on the Linga and falling of stale leaves in the Lord. Knowing not the Bhakthi of the spider, an elephant, also a Shiva devotee performed abishek to the Lord with water from Cauvery, thus removing the spider web. The spider entered into the ears of the elephant. Unable to bear this torture, the elephant struck the ground strongly with its tusk and died killing the spider too. Both reached the Feet of Lord Shiva simultaneously.
The spider begged the Lord to grant him a royal birth and was born as Kochengat Cholan and built temple which elephants could not climb. These temples are called Mada temples. Based on this story and the services of Kochengat Cholan, these events are sculpted in the temple tower in small size. Scientifically too, these Mada Temples are considered a means to protect people of Cauvery delta villages from heavy floods.
As the site is located on the banks of Kudamurutti river with the banyan tree as the Sthala Vruksha, it was called as 'Alanthurai' in the olden days. 'Aalam' means banyan and 'Thurai' means 'river banks'.
Brahma got rid of his curse in this temple; hence, Lord Shiva is also called as Brahmapureeswarar here.