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Story of Nandanar – The Untouchable Shiva Devotee – one of the 63 Nayanars

Sage Nandanar was an untouchable and one of the 63 Nayanars. His devotion showed that man-made rules and restrictions are not applicable to Shiva. He does not look into the caste of devotee before blessing Him.

An untouchable caste farm worker, Nandanar was craving to have a sight of Lord Shiva at Sivalokanathar Temple in Tirupunkur. However, his Brahmin landlord would not permit him to enter the temple, as his entry would pollute the sanctity of the temple.


One day, pushed by his desire to see the Shivling in the temple he stands before the outer gate of the temple and looks.

However, the big murti of Nandi Bull in front of the sanctum sanctorum obstructs his sight.

Nandanar cries and pleads to Siva to remove the obstacle so that he can at least have a glimpse of Shiva from a distance.

Suddenly, the huge murti of Nandi bull moves out of the line to enable Nandanar to see the Shivling.
Nandanar has his darshan and in ecstasy, he sings in praise of Shiva.

Shiva gives him instant moksha and his soul merges with the Shivling before the eyes of the onlookers of higher caste who had denied him entry to the temple.

There is also another story of Sage Nandanar purifying himself by fire at Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram.