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Temples of Tamilnadu

Legends associated with the Saivite Saints

Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar of the 63 Saivite Saints who led the Bhakti movement of the 1st millennium CE composed hymns on Tiruvarur. Several other saints were also closely associated with Tiruvarur, the notable ones being Naminandi Adigal, Dandi Adigal, Somaasi Maaranaar and Cheramaan Perumaal.

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The miracle associated with Naminandi Adigal is referred to by the Tevaram hymns of Tirunavukkarasar.

Naminandi Adikal was a devotee of Shiva who dedicated himself to a life of service at the Tiruvarur temple. He took upon himself the duty of lighting the temple lamps each day. Legend has it that the Jain merchants who sold oil, refused to supply him with the oil required for his duty. The devout saint used water instead of oil and was able to miraculously light the lamps, thereby causing his adversaries to repent their deed.

Dandi Adikal was yet another devotee of Shiva who was born blind. He took upon himself the task of maintaining the temple tank. Legend has it that his efforts were ridiculed by Jain monks who caused physical obstructions to his completion of his work. A miracle restored the devoted Dandi Adikal to sight and rendered his adversaries blind.

Somaasi Maaranaar was a great devotee of Shiva and a friend of Sundaramoorthy Nayanar. It was his desire to perform a Vedic ritual and offer the highest honor to Veedhi Vitankar of Tiruvarur. Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is said to have requested Vitankar to partake the offering and the latter is said to have revealed to Sundarar that he would do so, but would appear at the site of the sacrifice in a form of his choice.

The sacrifice proceded as planned and at the appointed moment, Shiva walked in as a Chandala accompanied by his wife and children. A shocked congregation is said to have walked out of the sacrificial hall, as the unfazed Somaasi Maaranaar made his offerings to the deity who had appeared in the form of a Chandala. The site of the sacrifice is said to have been located between the Shivastalams Ambar and Ambar Maakaalam.