Pushparatheswarar Temple, Gnayiru Gramam – Legends
Sanjana Devi, the wife of Sun God is the daughter of Vishwakarma. Though she was happy with her husband, at one stage she felt that she couldn’t bear his heat any longer. So, she left him after leaving her duplicate in her place whom she created from her own shadow. When Sun God realized the truth, he prayed to Lord Siva at the Arunachaleswarar Temple to unite him again with his wife. While circumambulating the shrine he saw a light which fell on him by way of blessings and then moved away.
Intrigued, he followed the light till it reached the village of Gnayiru where it fell on a Linga and vanished. Surya was pleased at the happening and for Shiva's (Lord Pushparatheswarar) blessings, after which Surya returned to his wife. Since the Sun God is said to have bathed in the pond, it became known as Surya Theertham and there is also a Surya Shrine in the Temple.
Scar on Shiva Linga:
There are a few interesting legends behind this temple. A Chola King was returning after successfully waging a war on a kingdom in Andhra Pradesh. He camped at Cholavaram. He was a staunch Shiva devotee and went in search of lotus to perform his daily pooja. During his search he saw a pond full of lotuses. One of the flowers was taller, bigger and more beautiful than the rest. The King wanted this flower for the pooja and tried to reach the flower. As the King neared the flower it moved away and was elusive. After several futile attempts, the King was very angry and threw his sword at the flower.
The sword broke into pieces. One of the pieces fell on a Lingam which was in the pond. The pond turned red in no time because of the blood that was oozing from the Lingam. This scar can still be seen on this Shiva Lingam. The King fainted there. His horse fled from the scene before fainting. Lord Shiva then appeared before the King and blessed him. The King apologized to the Lord. Lord Shiva asked the King to build a temple for the Lingam that was found in the pond.
Here is the story on why this place got the name Gnayiru Gramam. A Chola King was on a Pilgrimage to Kasi and was passing through this village. He saw the beautiful lotus in the pond and as he tried to pluck the same he was blinded. He prayed to the Lord that he would build a temple here on his way back from Kasi. Immediately, his eyesight was restored in one eye. As promised he came to the village on his way back. Lord Shiva appeared to the King and shone brightly on the lotus as Suryan.
The King then built a temple as instructed by the Lord and got back his eyesight in the other eye as well. Since then, this place is known as Gnayiru Gramam and came to be known as a Surya Sthalam. People come here to get themselves cured of eye related ailments. People visit the Pushparatheswarar Temple in the hope that they will be cured of eye related disorders and ailments, relief of pains and that the Lord will shower prosperity on them.
Named after the Sun God, the village has an interesting Sthalapuranam. Surya or the Sun had been cursed by Lord Brahma. To cure himself of the malady caused by the curse, Surya came down to the Earth looking for a place to pray to Lord Siva. He chanced upon a beautiful pond, filled with huge lotuses, some of which even had 1,000 petals. Fascinated, Surya got into the water to offer his prayers. Touched by Surya's devotion, Lord Siva appeared as a Lingam on one of the lotuses and cured him. Filled with joy and gratitude Surya built a temple for the Lingam, in Gnayiru (Sun) village.
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Pushparatheswarar, called so because Lord Siva emerged from a flower in the form of a Lingam. Surya was also bestowed with an Akshaya Paathram with which he fed thousands of devotees, who came to the temple every year, in search of remedies for their ailments. They believe the Lord here will relieve them of pain and shower prosperity on them.
Sage Agasthiyar, the author of Adityahrudayam is believed to have stayed here and worshipped Lord Shiva. Adityahrudayam is a sloka recited by Agasthiyar to Lord Rama in the battlefield before the fight with Ravana. The sage teaches Lord Rama the procedure of worshipping Suryan for strength and to gain victory over the enemy. Reciting this sloka of about 30 verses every day is said to be highly beneficial.
Final Resting of Kanva Maharishi:
The place of Final resting of Shri Kanva maharishi (foster Father of Shakunthala).
Birth place of Sangili Nachiyar:
The Birth place of Sangili Nachiyar, the wife of the Nayanmar Sundarar.