The Southern part of India -Tirunelveli abounds in temples and
Sankarankoil in Tirunelveli district is one of the five famous Shiva
The presiding deity, Sankaranarayanar is a unique blend of Hari (
Narayana) and Shiva (Shankar), thus the name Shankaranarayanar.
The Lord has reiterated the fact that Hari and Shiva are one through
this icon. The left side of the deity is smeared with sandal paste with
a cobra , moon and deer denoting Shiva while the right side has Hari
with Chanku and Chakra.
Legends of the temple
The temple is full of legends and let's take a look at few of them .
Gomati Amman, consort of Shiva, wanted to worship Shiva and Hari as
one God. So, she undertook a penance at Pungavanakshetra for nine days
in the tamil month of Aadi to worship them as one. On a full moon day,
as desired by her, Sankaranarayanar appeared and blessed her.
There is another legend which says that Sambha and Padma ( serpent
kings worshipping Shiva and Vishnu respectively) wanted to know as to
who was superior Hari or Shiva ? It is at this place that they were
shown that Shiva and Hari are the same .
Spiritual and historical facts are interspersed with the genesis of
Ugra Pandian who ruled this area used to visit Madurai on an elephant
to worship Meenakshi. One day the elephant fell into a pit and did not
move. Meanwhile a Harijan informed the King with panic that a cobra
clinging to a Sivalingam besides an anthill is found in a dense jungle
near by. The King at once rushed to the spot and witnessed the divine
sight with awe. He then built a temple around the Lingam which is
Sankaranarayanar koil or Sankarankoil.
The earth obtained from the anthill has therapeutic powers which has
a holistic way of healing skin diseases. The scared earth is available
in the temple in the form of globules.
(To be contd)