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Uthirakosamangai Sri Mangalanatha Swamy Temple Story

Uthirakosamangai Sri Mangalanatha Swamy temple, situated in close proximity to Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu, India, is devoted to Lord Shiva. This renowned temple boasts numerous sanctuaries, with the primary ones dedicated to Mangalanathar, Mangalambigai, and Natarajar. Among the temple's treasures is a unique 6 ft (1.8 m) tall ancient maragatha Nataraja idol, intricately carved out of emerald, making it one of a kind.

According to Hindu stories, a fascinating legend unfolds wherein a multitude of revered rishis, or ascetics, engaged in profound penance to honor the mighty deity Shiva. Intriguingly, Shiva, in response to their devoted worship, conveyed that he would manifest in the form of a fiery orb to acknowledge the penance specifically performed by Mandothari, the queen consort of King Ravana in the distant island of Sri Lanka.

This divine promise led to a remarkable sequence of events. Shiva, assuming the guise of a small child, materialized within the opulent confines of Ravana's palace. The curious and awe-struck Ravana, captivated by the beauty of the divine child, lifted him, only to inadvertently cause a minor injury. Simultaneously, a celestial fireball emanated from the sacred Agni Theertham, the temple tank at Uthirakosamangai Sri Mangalanatha Swamy temple, prompting the ascetic rishis to interpret this as Shiva launching an attack against Ravana.

In a tragic twist, believing they had erred in their perception, a staggering 999 rishis chose to atone for their perceived mistake by sacrificing themselves. They willingly plunged into the flames, which they saw as a symbolic act of repentance. Miraculously, one sage, recognizing the importance of preserving the sacred Vedic books, refrained from self-immolation, thus ensuring the continuity of ancient wisdom.

Witnessing this selfless act, Shiva was moved and expressed his approval. As a token of divine gratitude, he manifested as Sahasralingam, symbolizing a thousand lingams, in the temple—999 for the ascetics who had sacrificed themselves and an additional one for the lone sage who had safeguarded the Vedic knowledge.

Legend further suggests that the solitary rishi who spared himself was reborn as Manickavasgar in a subsequent life. His steadfast commitment to preserving the sacred texts and his resilience in the face of misunderstanding are revered as powerful examples of devotion and wisdom within the rich tapestry of Hindu stories.