Avudaiyar Koil, also called as Thiruperunthurai, is a Shiva Temple located near Pudukkottai in South India. In this temple the great Shaivite saint, Manikkavasakar, was personally initiated by Lord Shiva. He became so intimately connected with Lord Shiva, that Lord Shiva instructed for this temple Manikkavasakar’s deity will be used instead of his own deity for all festivals and processions. So in this temple Manikkavasakar’s deity rides on Nandi around the temple in procession instead of Lord Shiva.
The story of the temple’s construction is also amazing. Manikkavasakar was a minister for the king, and the king had given him a large amount of gold for purchasing arabian war horses for his army. Instead of spending the money on the war horses, Manikkavasakar stole the money and spent it to build this temple to Lord Shiva.
After sometime the king came to know that the money had been misused for building a temple to Lord Shiva, so he arrested Manikkavasakar and put him in prison. In the night Lord Shiva took the form of a trader and came with hundreds of arabian war horses for the king. He told the king, “I am sorry I am late, I was delayed in delivering these horses. Manikkavasakar had paid me the money long before but I had gotten delayed.”
The king felt very bad for having accused Manikkavasakar of stealing the money, and immediately released him from the prison. In the night he heard the howling of jackals coming from the royal stables where he had kept all the newly acquired arabian war horses. He went to check how such sounds could be coming from inside the stables. When he went inside he saw all of the arabian war horses had become jackals.
On the way to meet the king, Lord Shiva had collected jackals from the forest and transformed them into war horses, so that his devotee would be pardoned. And once the work was completed he again transformed them back into jackals.
After this the king understood Manikkavasakar was a special devotee of Lord Shiva and became his disciple.
Inside that temple there is a spot behind the main altar (in the parikrama area) where Lord Shiva had personally come and initiated Manikkavasakar.
Manikkavasakar is one of the four greatest devotees of Lord Shiva, along with Appar, Thirujnanasambandhar, and Sundaramurthi.
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