In seventh century AD, Appothi Adigal, who is being revered as one of the sixty-three Nayanmars (great Saivaite Saints) lived in the town of Thingalur along with his wife, Maragatham Ammaiyaar, and four sons. He had been an ardent devotee of Lord Siva. Also, he had been an ardent devotee of Saint Thirunavukkarasar (one of the four greatest Saivaite Saints).
By virtue of his sheer devotion on Saint Thirunavukkarasar, Appothi Adigal named almost everything that he owned as Thirunavukkarasu. The school that he ran was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Pallichaalai’. The water shed that he ran for offering water to the passers-by was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Thaneer Pandhal’. The husbandry that he owned was named as ‘Thirunavukkarasu Ko Chaalai’. He named all his sons as: Thirunavukkarasu – I, Thirunavukkarasu – II, Thirunavukkarasu – III.
One-day Saint Thirunavukkarasar paid a visit to Thingalur. It was to worship Kailaayanathar enshrined at the temple of Thingalur. Saint Thirunavukkarasar was born as Marul Neekiyar. The name Thirunavukkarsu was given to him by The Almighty. Hence, he was dumbfounded to see a school, a water shed, a husbandry bearing the divine name ‘Thirunavukkarasu’. Through the localites, he learnt the devotion of Appothi Adigal on him. Appothi Adigal, who had never seen Saint Thirunavukkarasar, turned exuberant when he heard the news of Saint Thirunavukkarasar’s visit to his home town. He, along with his wife, called on Saint Thirunavukkarasar. The moment they saw him, they both bowed down to his feet and humbly requested Saint Thirunavukkarasar to have lunch that day at their house. Saint Thirunavukkarasar accepted the cordial invitation.
Maragatham Ammaiyaar prepared almost everything for serving Saint Thirunavukkarasar. Just before serving the Saint, she asked her son Thirunavukkarasu – I to fetch a plantain leaf from the plantain tree that was at the backyard of their house. Thirunavukkarasu – I, while trying to cut a leaf from the tree, was stung by a snake. With great difficulty, he managed to hand over the leaf to his Mom. Soon after handing over the plantain leaf to his Mom, he succumbed to the snake bite and passed away.
Appothi Adigal and his wife were totally devastated by the death of their oldest son. But they didn’t want to reveal it to Saint Thirunavukkarasar, as nobody would feel like enjoying a lunch in the house, where there was a bereavement. Hence, they wrapped the dead body of their son in a big plantain leaf and kept it aside at an isolated room in their house. They were all set to serve lunch for the Saint. When the Saint sat for lunch, he could see everyone in the family except the oldest son. He then enquired Appothi Adigal, where his oldest son was. Since Appothi Adigal had extreme devotion to the Saint, he could not utter a lie. Hence, he revealed him the truth.
Saint Thirunavukkarasar instructed Appothi Adigal and his wife to get the dead body of their son to Kailayanathar temple, where he pleaded to the presiding Deity by singing a Thevaram hymn. Lord Siva was moved by the plea of Saint Thirunavukkarasar and retrieved the life of Thirunavukkarasu – I.
There is a separate sanctum-sanctorum for Moon, one of the nine planets in Hindu Astrology, in the temple. As per Hindu mythology, the 27 stars (considered as 27 sisters) in Hindu Astrology are the 27 wives of Moon. Of His 27 wives, Lord Mathi/Moon (Lord Chandiran) is extremely fond of two of his wives, namely, Rohini and Kiruthigai. Hence, more often than not, He remained in the quarters of either of the two. He almost forgot the remaining 25 wives of His. Those 25 wives became furious and complained about their spouse to their father. The infuriated father-in-law cursed his son-in-law to lose all His handsomeness. The disfigured Lord Mathi (Moon) pleaded to The Supreme Deity (Lord Siva) to forgive Him and to relieve Him from his father-in-law’s curse. Lord Siva instructed Lord Mathi to go down to Thingalur on the Earth and observe penance so as to get relieved from the curse of His father-in-law.
Hence, it is believed that if people, who have debilitated or weak or waning Moon in their horoscopes, offer prayers at Thingalur, they would be blessed with everything in their lives that are being signified by Moon. In Hindu astrology, Moon is the significator of the mother and the mind. Thingalur is easily accessible by road from Kumbakonam and Thiruvaroor.