Ponvaithanathar Temple, Chithaaimur – Legends
Lord Shiva helped a Chettiar Girl in proving her Chastity:
In the Chetti Street of this place lived a person, Sankaran, a great devotee of Lord Siva. His wife was Anbirperiyaal. A few days after the marriage, her husband went to the neighboring country on business. During those days with her husband, she had become pregnant. Every day this lady used to sweep and mop the floor of the temple and keep it clean. She also prepared garlands for the deity. The happy Lord satisfied with her service, put a gold coin every day on the doorsteps of the temple, for her expenses. Hence, this Lord came to be known as ‘Ponvaithanathar’.
After a few months, people came to know about her pregnancy. None knew about the Lord giving her gold coin. Her husband was out of station. Then, how did she have money for her expenses? How did she become pregnant? – People began doubting her. So, they ostracized her. This chaste, bold woman surrendered herself to the Lord and stayed in the temple itself. The confinement date was nearing. She had none to help her. She prayed to the Lord to save her. The Great Mother, Goddess Akilandeswari, the Mother of all created beings, conducted the delivery for this abandoned woman.
The baby was born; her husband who went on business also returned. The citizens of the place told him that they doubted his wife’s character. Pained by these words, he enquired his wife about this charge. But, she categorically replied that the Lord was the witness for her purity. Her husband put strange conditions to her: “If you are a sincere person, the closed doors of the temple should open on its accord. The Arthajama pooja (the midnight pooja) should happen on its own arrangement. The sacrificial peetam behind the Nandi image should be placed before the Nandi statue. The sacred tree behind the temple should grow in front of the temple”.
The shocked woman deeply prayed to the Lord, who wholeheartedly accepted her prayers. Accordingly, in the presence of the people the closed temple doors opened, the sacrificial peetam moved before the Nandi, the sacred tree also grew before the temple and the midnight pooja happened without the priest. The surprised citizens understood that these miracles were performed by the Lord himself and so blessed the woman. Even today we can see the Nandi statue outside the temple and the altar before the Nandi. Ponnirai, 6 kms west of this town, adjacent to the Aalathampadi railway station, is the place where Lord Shiva gave one gold coin every day to the Chettiar’s wife.
Sages in the form of Bee worshipping Shiva:
A large bee hive of around 6 meters high is very special here. A Brahmma rishi used to worship the Lord during mid-night. One day when he was late, the temple doors were closed and he took the form of a bee went inside and worshiped the Lord. Since then he lives here as bee itself along with other Siddhars as bees. Worship is offered to the beehive also.
People worshipped Shiva here:
Sage Agasthiyar, Lord Indra, Nagaraja and Lord Brahma have worshipped the deity of this place.
The king who ruled Muthraasapuram excavated Shiva Lingam from the earth where the milk was poured. Moolavar has a scar which was hit during excavation.