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Story of Punithavathi – Devotee Of Shiva Who Went To Kailash

Punithavathi was an ardent devotee of Shiva and legend has it that she had been to Kailash where she had darshan of Shiva and returned back home to sing His glories. Her story begins with her husband bringing two mangoes home. Punithavathi was a devout wife and her husband had instructed her to keep the mangoes for lunch.

But when her husband left, a guest came home and Punithavathi was forced to serve one of the mangoes keeping with tradition that guest is like god – Aditi Devo Bhava.

When her husband returned for lunch she served the one mango left. It was so delicious that he asked for other.

Punithavathi was in a dilemma as she did not know how her husband will react if told she had given one of the mangoes to a guest. So she prayed to Shiva to help her. He gave her a mango, which she served to her husband.

But her husband soon realized that the mango was not the one he had got. So Punithavathi had to tell him the truth. Her husband could believe that Shiva would give his wife a mango.

So he asked her to get one more. Punithavathi then prayed again to Shiva and asked him to save her from being called a liar. Shiva then blessed her with another mango.

Soon her husband concluded that his wife is some goddess and decided it would not be apt to have a relationship with her. So he abandoned her and went on an expedition.

When he returned from expedition, he settled in another region and married another woman. Soon Punithavathi’s relatives found out about his location and took her to him. But the husband prostrated before the wife and begged for her forgiveness. He explained that in his eyes, she was a goddess and he could not regard her as his wife anymore.

At that moment, Punithavathi realized the futility of worldly ties. She decided that she will only be tied to the devotion of Shiva.

She then walked towards the Kailash Mountain in order to have a glimpse of her true Lord. But by the time she reached the mountain, she was reduced to skin and bones. Her legs could not carry her anymore. So she used both her legs and hands to climb the mountain.

So strong was her determination and devotion that Shiva was so moved by the sight of skin and bone moving towards him, he picked her up and addressed her has mother. She then prostrated before him and addressed Shiva as her father.

When she was asked to choose a boon, Punithavathi chose undying devotion for Shiva. Shiva then asked her to return to the world and sing about his glories. She did this for the rest of her life and after her death she was taken to the abode of Shiva.