Legends: Markandeya, the 16-year-old youth was saved from the clutches of death (Yama) by Shiva. The conquest of Yama is acknowledged through celebration of 60th and 80th birth anniversaries and on the 6th day of festival in Chittirai. The lingam is self-manifested from the celestial nectar obtained by the gods (and Asuras) hence the name Amritaghateswarar. The Shankhabhishekam is of great importance. Markandeya performed this worship; and the Shankhu mandapam is associated with this. Kaalasamhaaramurthy is the fierce form of Shiva, who saved Markandeya from the clutches of Yama (Bhayankara Ghora Roopa - Yama Niigrahanugraha).
Temple: This temple covers an area of 11 acres. A huge Rajagopuram with stucco images depicting the stalapuranam adorns the entrance. The Amrita Pushkarini, Kaala Theertham and Maarkandeya Theertham are all located in the temple. Inscriptions here state that the stone base of the central shrine already existed during the period of Raja Raja Cholan (early 11th century). During the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120), the brick walls were replaced with stonewalls and the front mandapam came into being.
Festivals: Water required for daily rituals is brought from the Kaasi Theertham the temple nearby. Virtually every other day is a celebration for other here, as hundreds celebrate their 60th or 80th birth anniversaries. The annual Brahmmotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. As mentioned before, the Shankhabishekam in the month of Kartikai is of great importance here. Other festivals include Navaratri and Aadi Pooram.