Thirumakalam Mahakalanathar Temple – Legends
Somasimarar, one among the celebrated 63 Nayanmars was residing here with his wife Susheelai. He wanted to conduct the Soma Yajna and aspired that Lord Shiva himself should be present in the Yaga sala to accept the Havir Baga the fruits of the yajna. To invite the Lord, it was necessary to secure the help of Saint Sundarar who was suffering from coughing then. To cure him of the coughing, Nayanar sent herbal leaves called Thoodhuvalai Keerai every day. Sundarar did not know who sent the medicine to him but his spouse Sangiliar knew the person.
When relieved, Sundarar came to see Somasiar to thank him. Somasiar sought the help of Sundarar to get Lord to be present in his Yajna and Sundarar was too happy to take up the mission and secured the consent of Lord. Lord promised to be present on the Ayilya star day in Vaikasi (May-June). As Lord Himself would be attending the yajna, Vedic scholars, sages from all corners gathered at the yajna spot. Lord came there as low caste born with four dogs representing four Vedas and a dead calf. He was accompanied by Mother Parvathi, Vinayaka and Muruga.
As a Neecha-low born appeared there, all were afraid that there was something seriously wrong in the procedures of Yajna. Lord Vinayaka appeared in his true form and told Somasiar that the visitor was no less a person than Lord Shiva himself. Somasiar’s joy knew bounds. He did all honours to Lord Shiva Thyagaraja and offered the Havir Bagha. Lord left his Neecha form and granted darshan to Somasiar with Mother Parvathi and made him one among the Nayanmars.
Parvathi killing Amban and Ambarasuran:
Two demons, Amban and Ambarasuran planned to wed Mother Parvathi. Knowing their plan, Mother took the form of Kali and destroyed them. She thus incurred the sin Brahmahatti Dosha. To relieve herself from the sin, she installed a Shivalinga here and performed archanas with Vilwa leaves. As Kali performed Shiva Puja here, the Lord is known as Makalanathar.
Practice of offering two garlands to Mother:
Sage Madanga Maharishi sought child boon from Lord Shiva. He was blessed with a girl child and was named Rajamadangi. When she grew, Lord appeared before her and asked about her wish. Rajamadangi said that she wanted to be with him in Wedding form. Based on this event, those facing delays in wedding offer two garlands to Mother and then wear one of them on self.
Lord Vinayaka with a human face:
Lord Vinayaka with a human face and Adhi Skanda grace the devotees in the temple. As Lord Vinayaka came here to take part in the yajna of Somasiar with a human face, it is said that he had stayed here in the same form.
Authority of deciding the longevity of people:
Lord Makaleswara in the temple is believed to be the authority to decide the longevity of people. People pray for longevity here and also Lord Shiva in Ujjain and in Irumbai near Villupuram.