Arulmigu Karkuvel Ayyanar Temple - History
This ayyanar temple is in a village which is near the famous Thiruchendur temple of Tamil Nadu. The Karkuvel ayyanar’s temple is on the west side of the village. It seems once upon a time this area was ruled by a pandya king called Athi veera rana soora Pandyan. He had a minister called Kayyanar. It is believed he was the human form of the son of Shiva and Vishnu.
In this kingdom there was a special mango tree near a pond. This mango tree yielded only one mango fruit per year. It was a believed that eating that fruit would give divine powers. So the king protected the mango tree with several security guards. In that village there lived a pious widow. She used to daily take water for her use daily morning. One day the mango which had fallen in the previous night went in to her water pot and she carried it home without knowing. Next day morning the security guards started searching for the fruit. When they tried to enter the widow’s house, ayyanar told them not to enter there. The king refused his request and the security found the divine mango in the widow’s house. When the king wanted to give her death punishment and again Kayyanar told about the innocence of the widow. Then the widow got angry and cursed that the entire village including the king’s country should burn. Only ayyanar escaped. He entered a Karkuva tree and became one with it.
After several centauries, the village was rebuilt. Whenever the load bearing bulls tried to cross the Karkuva tree, it seems they fell down. So the villagers decided o cut the roots of the tree. When they tried to cut it, blood started oozing from the tree. Then a voice from the tree told them That ayyanar was living in the tree. So the villagers built a temple for him and started calling the God Karkuvel ayyanar. He sits in the temple along with his wives Poornam and Porkamalam (compare Poorna and Pushkala, the wives of Sastha). There are several minor Gods in the temple such as Udhiramadan, Malayamman, Ivar Raja, Vanniya Raja, Vannichi , Pechiyamman etc.
It seems when the temple was being built a thief stole the ornaments of the wives of ayyanar. He immediately became blind. He was also beheaded by Vanniya Raja. All the local people were informed about this by ayyanar. The villagers pleaded for giving life to the thief. ayyanar made him alive. Later , this thief also became a God in this temple called- Robber God. Due to this incident no theft takes place in the boundaries of the village even today.
On the last three days of the month of Karthigai (November-December) a great festival called “The cutting of robber” festival takes place at this temple. First two days, there is ritual worship of ayyanar who is vegetarian God. The story of Ayyanar is sung as Vilu Pattu (bow music) during this festival. After this the priests of the fifteen subsidiary Gods go to the festival shops and bring whatever they like from there. Three hands full of whatever is taken are given to the musicians.
Later one red coconut is kept on a rope symbolizing ayyanar and is cut. It seems previously the coconut was cut kept on the head of Samiyadi of ayyanar. Then all the villagers prepare Pongal in front of the ayyanar temple.
Next day lots of animals are sacrificed for pleasing the subsidiary gods of the temple.
There is also a festival on the Panguni Uthram day (March-April).
Wednesdays and Saturdays are considered special days at the temple. People wanting children pray Pechiamman of the temple and people pray Vanniya Raja to get rid of the effects of black magic.