Thenupuriswarar Temple, Patteeswaram - Legends
Enlightening of Sage Vishwamitra
Legend says that Sage Vishwamitra was enlightened with the Gayathri Mantra in this place and received his title ‘Brahma Rishi’ by Saint Vasishta here. Sage Vishwamitra was admitted in the company of Brahmarishis with the backing of Gayathri mantra in this place. Sage Markandeya worshipped here. All the Navagrahas here face the Sun-god Surya and are positioned as per the Agama tradition.
The name Patteeswaram
Parasakthi undertook penance here invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Kamadhenu sent her daughter Patti to support the penance. Pleased with Parasakthi prayers, Shiva appeared here with his long uncombed hair (Sadai Mudi) and provided darshan. As Patti played an important role in the success of Sakthi’s penance, this place came to be called Patteeswaram. The name Patteeswaram was derived from the daughter of the divine cow Kamadhenu - Patti, who worshipped the lord here.
This is one of the important places where Kamadhenu, the sacred celestial cow, visited and undertook penance invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Answering her prayers, Shiva appeared here and promised to fulfill the wishes of devotees who offer sincere prayers at this temple. In memory of this event, Lord came to be referred to as Dhenupureeswarar.
Rama’s visit to Patteeswaram
After defeating Ravana, it is believed that Rama visited Patteeswaram to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva to liberate him from Chaaya Hathi Dosham that had struck him for having killed Vaali striking an arrow from hiding. He installed Shiva Lingam here at Patteeswaram, one of the three places in Tamil Nadu where he did this, the other two being Rameswaram and Vedaranyam.
Liberation from Curse
Medhavi Rishi who was undertaking penance in the Maalava kingdom left his ashram to attend a yagna. He assigned his disciple Dharma Sharma to take care. On return he found that the cows had become weak significantly impacting their ability to deliver milk. An angered rishi cursed him to turn into a dog. To liberate himself from the curse, Dharma Sharma, now in the form of a dog, came here to the South of Cauvery to Devi Vanam. When the sacred water fell on the dog, he was liberated from the Sage’s curse and regained his original form.
10day Festival as Thanks Giving:
King Chitrasena of Kaambeeli had no child. To liberate himself from the sins of the previous birth, he came here with his wife and undertook bath in the sacred tank. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him in Vaikasi and blessed him with a child. As a thanks giving to the Lord, a delighted king started the grand 10day festival in Thai.
Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s Patteeswaram Trip:
Thirugnana Sambandar came to Thirusattimutram with Adiyars (saints) to worship at the Shiva temple. Then he started towards Patteeswaram. Since the Solar movement was towards the Mithuna star causing oppressive heat waves, the child Sambandar could not manage. The Lord sent his Boodhaganas (servants) to decorate the streets with beautiful Muthu Pandal (ceiling made of flowers).
The Boodhaganas prepared the Pandal (ceiling) without Sambandar's knowledge. Sambandar was astonished by the reverence of God and enjoyed the shade offered.
When he was about to enter the temple with his disciples, Dhenupureeswarar asked his Nandi to give way to Thiru Gnana Sambandhar so he could watch the poet’s grand entry thus providing him darshan right from the entrance. Hence to this day, the Nandi at the temple is seen slightly to the left and not directly opposite Dhenupureeswarar.
In memory of this event, Muthu Pandhal Festival is celebrated at this temple in a grand way every year in Aani.