Papanasam temple is located at Thirunelveli. A Pandyan king harassed and ill-treated subjects who did not convert to Buddhism as he decreed. Unfortunately the family got caught up in a civil war that was raging in that state. The children, a boy and a girl, got separated from each other. Many years later after wandering they arrived in Banares. By chance they met each other, fell in love and got married without realising that they were siblings. They found out their mistake afterwards and sought ways of absolving their sin. They were advised to wear black and to bathe in all the sacred waters in India and when their black clothe turned white it was an indication that they were absolved of their sin. Accordingly they clothed themselves in black and went from place to place in search of redemption. Finally they arrived at Papanasam and when they bathed in the river their clothes turned white thus indicating the absolution of their sin. Hence the deity in this temple is called `Papavinaseswarar` (the redeamer of sins).
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