(Last Updated on : 16/09/2010)
The presiding deity in this temple is facing east in a standing pose while His consort Boomidevi is sitting next to Him facing north. Markandeya sits in a pose facing Boomidevi as if giving her in marriage to the Lord. There is no separate shrine for the Goddess and the Lord never leaves His sanctum without Boomidevi. The special feature in this temple is that salt is never used in the food offered in worship.
Sage Mirikandu had a son Markandeya. The astrologers predicted on his birth that he would die young. When Markandeya heard that he would not survive beyond the age of 16 he started a penance to save him from death. Pleased with his penance Lord Shiva gave him the boon of immortality. After receiving this boon he undertook a pilgrimage to all the holy places in the country. When he arrived at a place full of 'Thulasi' plants he decided to stay there. He started another penance praying that he should have Boomidevi as his daughter and Lord Vishnu as his son-in-law. The penance continued for a long time and one day a child appeared under a 'Thulasi' tree where Markandeya was praying. Lord Vishnu who had sent Boomidevi to be Markandeya's child now wanted to take her back. He transformed Himself into an old Brahmin of no means and went to the hermitage of Markandeya where Boomidevi was growing up and requested hospitality. Markandeya was only happy to receive this old man and gave him food and a place to rest. The old man said that he heard that Markandeya was looking for a husband and he had come to ask him for his daughter's hand in marriage. Markandeya was shocked to hear this preposterous request. The old man said if his request was not granted he would give up his life then and there.
Markandeya became distressed at this, he gave all sorts of excuses and finally said that his daughter did not know how to cook and that she did not know how much salt to be added in cooking. The old man said that he was happy to eat food without salt and that he wanted to marry. Markandeya was at the end of his wits and closed his eyes and prayed to Lord Vishnu to get him out of this predicament. When he opened his eyes the old man had disappeared and in his place there stood Lord Vishnu in all his glory.
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