Panchavarnaswamy Temple, Woraiyur – Legends
Cock defeating Elephant:
Karikala Cholan, a famous king of Chola dynasty during his travel from Kaviripoompattinam passed through this place. A cock struck on the forehead of his elephant. The elephant immediately began to retreat. The king realized the greatness of the place, built a city and stayed here making it his headquarters. The place is also called Uraiyur Kozhi. Kozhi in Tamil means cock.
The place is called Uraiyur or Tirumukkeswaram, was once the capital of Chola kings as noted to Greek traveller Ptolemy. The 7th century Saiva canonical work Thevaram by Tirugnanasambandar mentions the place as "Tirumukeechwaram".
Lord appeared in five different colours to Sage Uthanga:
Panchavarnaswamy, the presiding deity of the temple, derives its name from the word Panchavarnam, meaning five colours. As per Hindu legend, Shiva is believed to have appeared for sage Uthanga in five different colours in five parts of the day (Ratna Lingam in the morning, Spatika Lingam at noon, Gold Lingam in the afternoon, Diamond lingam at night and Chitra lingam later on at midnight).
People worshipped Lord Shiva here:
The temple is believed to have been worshipped by Garuda, Karkodan, Lord Brahmma Lord Vishnu, Sage Kathiru and wife of Sage Kashyapa.
Equivalent to all Shiva Poojas:
Wherever Shiva Puja is performed in any part of this world, all glory of the pujas reaches this place, hence the name Uraiyur bearing this meaning.
Salvation to a Pig:
An atheist ignored the Vibhuti-sacred ash Prasad offered to him in the temple. He was born a pig in his following birth and had to live in ugly muddy environment. He realized that his condition was the result of earlier behavior. He bathed in the Shiva theertha and was freed from the sin.
Mother Gandhimadhi Ammai was worshipped by Naga virgins in the Nagaloka – serpent world and was installed here by a Chola king, according to history.
Equivalent to Pancha Boodha Sthalams:
Of the Pancha Bhooda places, Tiruvanaikaval belongs to Water, Kanchipuram to Earth, Tiruvannamalai to Fire, Kalahasthi to Wind-Vayu and Chidambaram to Space-Akasha. The devotee can have the collective benefit of worshipping in these five shrines if he worships Lord Shiva in this temple.
Birthplace of Tirupanazhwar, Kochengatchozha & Pugazh Chola:
Uraiyur also has the reputation of being the birth place of Vaishnavite saint Tirupanazhwar, Kochengatchozha Nayanar and Saivite saint Pugazh Chola Nayanar. Kochengatchozha Nayanar attained the Lotus Feet of Lord in this place.
Merger of 5 Shiva Lingas to One:
Legend states that a Chola king saw the five daughters of Nagarajan worshipping a Shivalingam each, on the banks of the Naga Theertham. He married the youngest of these princesses and requested his father in law for the Shivalingam that was held in worship by Nagarajan. Nagarajan handed over a half of the Shivalingam to his daughter, who in turn handed it along with the five Shivalingams worshipped by the siblings; these entire merged into one under a Vilva tree, under which, this temple originated.