The Legend here is that shiva drank the poison churned out from Vasuki’s mouth when the ocean of milk was churned and he swooned. Parvathi held the poison in his neck .( If he had consumed it fully the entire world would have been wiped out). Once the amrutham was obtained all the devas rejoiced and forgot Shiva. When realisation hit them they went to Shiva thanked him for saving the whole world and appeased him though a bit late. Shiva being “Asutosh” (easily pleased) forgave them and was joyous and danced here, The rapturous dance was so spell binding that all Devas and asuras were watching in awe, this was the first Pradosha time. Hence it is believed that at this time every fortnight Shiva dances in front of the Nandi between the two horns of Nandhi and all gods come to witness this dance, So in all temples no pooja will be done and the screen will be closed as the respective gods would have gone to see Shiva’s Dance. Thus anybody who prays at pradosham time in a shiva temple will have the benifit of his prayers reaching all the gods at the same time in the same place at one go!!
The main gate leads us to the Mandapam where Nandi is housed. This is a large hall and this is where Pradosha pooja takes place.
From this you enter the goddess's Sanctum. This sanctum complex houses three gods ,Maragathambikai, Valmkeshwarar and Ramalingeshwarar. Goddess Maragathambikai is standing and is the same proportions as the idol I saw at Thandalam Dharaneeshwaran temple. To the left of her is the Shrine of Valmikeshwarar. This is a Shivalingam which was worshiped by Valmiki. Legend says this place was Valmiki's ashram where Seetha and Lava Kusha came to live after being banished by Rama.
The sanctum wall on the south has a beautiful dakshinamurthy with consort ( a rarity)
( photo courtesy The Hindu)
on an excavation inside the temple a stone with the impression of small feet ( Lava and Kusha’s feet) was found . This is kept on display even today.
The uniqunes of this sannidhi is that in front of a sivalinga it is usually a Nandhi, instead here there is a sivalinga which was installed by Rama on his return from Lanka , The Ramalingeshwara. The uniqueness does not end here, In the Sanctum on one side you can see Rama and Seetha and on the other side there is Bharatha and Shatrugna who have Anjeneya facing them instead of Rama and Seetha!!
The main Sanctum complex has lord Shiva in lying down form on Goddess Parvati's lap with all the Devas , Saptharishis in attendance Vinayaka andSkanda are also seen
(photo courtesy shantraju.wordpress.com).
A View of the Main sannidhi from outside