Agastheeswarar Temple, Villivakkam – Legends
Agasthya connection with this Temple:
There are many Shiva Temples called as Agastheeswarar Temple in and around Chennai. Most of those temples have legends related to vision Shiva's divine marriage and the sage's travel towards the southern direction. However, this temple of Agastheeswarar has a different legend. There were two Asura brothers namely Villavan and Vatapi who were troubling the sages. Agastya killed both of them. As one of those Asuras namely Villavan was killed in this site, this locality obtained the name Villavanpakkam, which later became Villivakkam. The sage was affected by Brahmahatya after killing the Asura. He installed Shiva Linga in this site and performed poojas to him to get rid of his sin.
As the sage Agastya worshiped Shiva in this temple, Shiva is called as Agastheeswarar. Lord Shiva ordered Veerabhadra to help Agastya by ensuring no one disturbed his pooja. Bhadra also relieved the sage from Brahmahatya. It should be noted that there is a big shrine for Bhadra outside the temple complex. Later, Lord Shiva appeared to the sage. Uma, who was found along with Shiva, was wearing golden ornaments. Hence, she is called as Swarnambikai (Swarna means gold). This Sthalam is one of the 108 Sakthi Sthalam.
According to legend, two demons, Villavan and Vatapi, who were born to Sage Dhruva and Aswamukhi, tortured the entire world and killed many innocent people. One of the demons used to take the shape of a fruit and the other used to offer it to some innocent passerby and after he consumed it, the demon would come out by tearing his stomach. One day, the brothers tried the same trick with Agasthya.
Agasthya consumed the fruit and simply rubbed his stomach saying Vathapi Jeer No bhava; literally may Vathapi be digested, while the other demon tries to bring his brother to life, but in vain. Maharishi Agastya plainly informed the demon that his brother has been digested and could no longer be brought back to life, and eventually bringing their treachery to end. It was here that the slaying of the demons took place and as a result the place came to be known as Konnur in times of yore.
It got the name of Villivakkam much later which has its own bearing - that Sage Agasthya planted a Vilvam plant (which has got medicinal and spiritual healing power) and hence the name. The Shiva temple in Villivakkam has a very old Vilvam tree which the priests consider sacred and use its leaves for the daily puja.
The place was earlier called Vilvavanam (forest of Vilvam trees) and later came to be known as Villivakkam.
One of the Navagrahas Angaraka (Mars – Tuesday) was afflicted with the curse, in order to get rid of the terrible consequences; he arrived on this sacred place and created a pond Angaraka Theertham. He underwent severe austerities and worshipped Lord Shiva to clear off his Dosham. So, taking a bath in the temple tank on a Tuesday is considered very sacred.