Pandi Muneeswarar of Melmadai
This God is situated in Melamadai village which is very near Mattu Thavani of Madurai town. People also call this God as Pandi Ayya. People believe that this God is the rebirth of Pandiyan Nedumchezhiyan who wrongly sentenced Kovilan the husband of Kannaki to death.
The present place of the temple was once upon a time a very dense forest. One group of nomadic people from Nerur, which is near Karur, happened to come to Madurai. Valliammai was an elderly lady ogf the group. One day in her dream she saw a well bearded tufted individual. He showed her a place in the forest and told, “I am lying here buried. Take me out and start worshipping me. Then you need not travel from one place to another. I would look after you.” She then told about her dream o others. They went to spot shown in her dream and started digging. They soon found a statue, which was sage like but was having an imposing moustache. Many people from the nearby areas came to see this statue. One of them was a saint. He told them, “This is the place where Madurai was situated and Kannagi burnt it. The king at that time was Nedumchezhiyan. He died due to the shock of the injustice that he had done. Later he was born in, Madurai itself. He did great penances and Lord Shiva gave him salvation. This is his statue.” The people did not believe it. When they wanted to ask their doubts to the stage, he had vanished by then. People then started digging around the area and fount many burnt artifacts. So they decided that the statue was that of the Panda king. They built a small temple and started worshipping the statue. They called him Pandi Muneeswarar or Pandi Ayya. Valliammai and her descendents were appointed as the priests and oracles (Maruladi) of the temple.
Behind the Muneeswarar temple is a temple of Lord Ganapathi People should salute Ganapathi first and come and offer Worship to Pandi ayya. Just opposite him is the place where people tie toy cradles to get children. East of that place is the temple Of Aandichami. There is no form to this God. It is only a few steps and a mound. People believe that it is Lord Subrahmanya. Near this is the temple of Samaya Karuppar. He is supposed to be the assistant to Pandi Ayya and would obey his commands.
“ Pandi Muneeswarar is most famous and well known for granting his boons to the devotees who worship him . He is showering his graces to one and all in a seated position (Padmasanam) He is bedecked with white cloth and colourful flower garlands. He is worshipped with milk, Pongal, Rosewater, Athar, Javvadu, jasmine flowers and dedicated love from the devotees. He will manifest at the place, where you think of him to redress your grievances, hurdles and to grant your wishes without fail.”
There is another interesting story of Samaya Karuppu. It seems once when a white man was going for hunting, he came and asked jeeringly Samaya Karuppu , “How many animals will I kill today.” Samaya karuppu did not answer,. So when the white man could not hunt for any animal, he came to the temple , broke the head and hands of Samaya Karuppu. It seems before he left the village the white man and his horse where turned in o stone. After this incident , people were very much afraid of Samaya Karuppu. Even today his idol is without head and hands.
Vegetarian offerings are offered to Pandi Muneeswarar , Pongal without sugar to the Aandi ayya and animals are sacrificed to Samaya Karuppu. Even arrack, cigars etc are offered to him.
People belie that ghosts and devils will leave their body, if they go to the temple of Pandi Ayya. Two km away from the temple is the place called Kazhungati. Here several tridents are planted. The people with ghosts and spirits start jumping and dancing as soon as they reach this spot. In fact the conductors of buses going to Pandi ayya’s temple, make people get down before this place fearing the violent dance and jumping of ghosts and spirits. The present Maruladi (oracle ) is a lady called Rajathi Ammal.
There is no separate festival for Pandi Muneeswaran. In the month of Adi (July-August) Aandi ayya is offered mango worship. From the Maruladi’s house the ornaments of the temple are brought. Then Pandi Ayya is offered Chakkarai Pongal. They put a screen and then sacrifice animals to Samaya Karuppan. And then the steps of Aandi ayya are covered with mango fruits. And he is offered salt pongal (Ven pongal).