Ancient inscriptions stumbled upon by archaelogists at Aavudaiyarkoil in Pudukottai district has established the link between the temple and Saivaite savant Manickavasagar.
It was a stunning discovery as the stone inscriptions at the temple conclusively prove that it was Manickavasagar, author of the much acclaimed ‘Thiruvasagam’, who had built the shrine for Lord Shiva in 9th century AD. Till now, it was only a widely held opinion among historians and a belief of the faithful.
The Legend has it that the savant had constructed the temple using money meant for buying horses for the cavalry of the Pandya King. Then, he was a minister of the king Arimarthana Pandyan. After a long wait, the king summoned Manickavasagar to bring the horses and the legend has it that Lord Shiva turned a pack of jackals into horses. But, in the night, they again turned into jackals and started howling.
However, in an apparition to the king, the Lord revealed that it was a drama enacted by him. During his stay at Aavudaiyaarkoil, also known as Thiruperunthurai, he had composed ‘Thiruvasagam’ and ‘Thirupalliyezhuchi’. While the sanctum sanctorum and the ‘kanagasabha mantap’ were built by the savant, latter additions were made to the temple over the period.
According to G Muthusamy, of the Archaelogical Department, more than 200 inscriptions, including six hymns, have been copied. Lord Vinayaga and Lord Shiva are mentioned in the inscriptions found at the Panchakshara mandapam of the temple built in the 16th century, added Muthusamy. The Temple is maintained by Thiruvavaduthurai Aatheenam.