Tirumullaivayil is one of the Shivastalams in the vicinity of Chennai, near Avadi. It is considered special to worship Kodiyidai Nayaki (Goddess Parvati) here, on full moon days. Ramalinga Adigalar refers to Lord Shiva here as 'Mullaivayil Vaazh Masilamaniye'. It is also said that the Linga (known as "Masilamaniswara" or "Akalanka Ratneswara") is a swayambhu and is being worshipped by Devas and other heavenly persons. It is supposed to be two thousand years old.
This temple with a "Gajaprishta Vimanam" common to this region occupies an area of about 1 acre. It was constructed in such a fashion that it looks like an elephant lying down, i.e., Gajaprishta. A grand Rajagopuram forms the southern entrance to this temple visible from a distance. The sanctum here has been in worship since the Sangam period. Elements of Pallava architecture are seen in this temple as in the lion pillars in the Vinayaka (also spelt as Vinayak) shrine.
The processional deity is not on his Rishabham as usual. As Lord Shiva thought that Tondaiman might cut his own head for having wounded a Shiva Linga, the Lord came rushing, followed by Parvati. In this hurry Parvati went and stood on the right side of Lord Shiva, instead of on the left side. This is a very peculiar placing, and is not seen in any other temple.
There are shrines to Rishabantikadeva, Nataraja and Bhikshatana here. The Nandi faces away from the sanctum in keeping with the legend. Inscriptions from the period of Uttama Chola, speaking of Sembiyan Mahadevi's (10th century) endowments to this temple, are seen in this temple.
At this temple two Deepalakshmi are seen near the Dhwaja - stambha in front of Lord Shiva and Kodiyidai Nayaki. They are so very beautifully dressed and exhibit different hair dressing styles of the past.
There is also another beauty in this temple. Vinayaka (also spelt as Vinayak) has got five heads and 10 hands. He is called "Panchamukha Vinayaka". At the entrance to the temple there are two inscriptions one of which relates to an endowment of Sri Pachayappa Mudaliar, who donated the income from his lands, amounting, to 3000 varahans, for the midday puja of this temple.
The Legend Connected With The Temple
The legend goes to show that King Tondaiman of Tondaimandalam (Now the districts of Chittoor, North Arcot, Chingleput and Chennai) was attracted by the precious beams of Erukku wood possessed by his enemies, the Jain Chiefs called Kurumban and Kantan, who had their strong fortress at Pullal. In order to vanquish his enemies, King Tondaiman marched his army against them, but he experienced a setback. He attempted to retreat through this place. While retreating, the elephant on which he was seated got its legs enmeshed in a thick bush of Mullai creeper.
In order to enable the elephant get its leg out of the creeper; the king slashed the creeper with his sword. The creeper was cut but the sword touched a Shiva Linga hidden in the bush. Then blood was seen oozing out of the cut portion of the Linga (also spelt as lingam), Tondaiman became shocked and, grieving for his rash and thoughtless action, prayed for the mercy of the Lord. Pleased with the prayers of Tondaiman, Lord Shiva consoled him. He said: "I am not hurt by this. I am Masilamaniswar or Akalanka Ratneswar (Masu-'Flaw, Ila-without, Manigem; Akalanka-flawless, Ratna-gem; that is Flawless Gem).
Lord Shiva also took pity on King Tondaiman and said: "Don't you worry; here are my battalions. Nandi is leading. Go and fight Kurumban and Kantan. You will succeed."! Nandi obeyed the orders and started marching. Even today the Nandi can be seen having his back turned towards Lord Shiva whose orders he was carrying out.
Tondaiman, coming with Nandi and Shiva's regiment, created fear in Kurumban and Kantan. They surrendered at once and presented the beams of Erukku. King Tondaiman used these beams as pillars to the temple. Erukku is a small-sized plant and it is a marvel how large beams were obtained from it.
It is further said that Nandi brought also Bhairava, the patron deity of the enemy chief, to Malativanam. King Tondaiman then built a beautiful temple, enshrining the Shiva Linga and establishing a township. A beautiful tank was constructed. The name of Lord Shiva's consort Parvati here is Latamadhyamba or Kodiyidai Nayaki. Kodiyidai means waist as thin as a creeper. As the ShivaLinga was wounded by the sword cut of Tondaiman, only sandal paste is applied and abhishekam is not performed to the Lord.
Sri Sundaramurti Nayanar lost his eyesight at Tiruvottiyur, consequent on breaking his promise to his devoted and chaste mistress Sankili. He regained it only at this temple and in his extreme happiness he has sung in praise of this Shiva Linga, calling him as "Pasupata".