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Once upon a time there was a king in the Pandya dynasty. He once embarked on a hunting trip in the dense jungles of his kingdom. While riding, his horse stumbled upon a piece of rock and both horse and master fell down. Dusting himself, he got up and noticed that the piece of rock on which his horse had stumbled was bleeding. The next moment the king was blinded.

“Why have I been punished thus Oh Lord!” he cried. At that moment an old man came upon the scene. He picked up some leaves growing nearby in the jungle and applied its juice on the king’s eyes. The king got back his eyesight. The king happy after regaining his eyesight thanked the old man, who in turn advised the king to build a temple at the site of his accident and vanished.

The king turned around to look at the rock but it had turned into a Shiva linga. Elated, he looked around him. The place was a huge plantain grove and he began planning to build the temple around it. That the hoof of the horse made a mark on the Shiva linga was enough reason for the place getting the name ‘Tirukulambur’. ‘Kulambu’ meaning hoof in Tamil. This later paved way for the town being called ‘Tirukalambur’.

As the temple is surrounded by a plantain grove, the deity here came to be known as Sri Kathalivaneswara. ‘Kathali’ meaning plantain. A unique feature in this temple is that the sapling taken from the temple to be planted elsewhere would never grow. Likewise, no sapling from outside the area grows when planted in the temple grove.

Another feature on hearsay is that there are several varieties of bananas of which, ‘kathali’, rasthali and the mountain variety are popular. In this temple, the bananas look like rasthali, taste like the mountain variety and the banana peel resembles the kathali . People believe that the bananas given by way of prasadam could cure ailments.

Once a King from the North came to Tirukalambur to pray to the deity here. A heavenly voice is said to have told him to build a temple for Kashi Vishwanath and Sri Visalakshi in the temple premises so that people unable to go to Kashi could get their darshan here. So the King built separate shrines for these Gods. It is said that once upon a time the deity here sported a ferocious look. Later, a Kanchi seer had advised the king to build a separate shrine for Ambal Soundaranayaki. Tirukalambur is 13 kms away from Pon Amaravathi town in Pudukkottai district.

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