KOCHENGAT CHOLA NAYANAR


In Chandra Tirtha in the Chola kingdom there was a thick grove. In that grove under a
Jambul tree there was a Siva Lingam. A white elephant used to come there daily and prostrate
before the Lingam. A spider which was also devoted to Him, noticed that dry leaves were falling on
Him and to prevent this wove a web above the Lingam.
The next day when the elephant came to worship, he found the web, and, thinking that
someone had polluted the place, tore the web, offered his worship and went away. The spider came
upon the scene, felt sorry that his web had been destroyed, wove another web and went away. The
next day, as the elephant was pulling the web away, the spider which was present there, gave him a
sting: the elephant died of the poison on the spot. The spider, too, was caught in the elephant’s
trunk, and perished.
Due to His grace, this spider was born as the son of Suba Devan, the Chola king. He and his
dutiful wife went to Chidambaram and eagerly prayed to the Lord Nataraja for a son. The Lord
granted their wish. Soon Kamalavati conceived the child. The day of delivery arrived. Astrologers
foretold that if the child could be delivered a few minutes later, it would rule the three worlds! The
queen asked that she should be tied to the roof of the room upside down, with a tight bandage
around her waist. When the auspicious time came, she was released and the child was born. This
was the spider reborn! The child had red eyes as he had remained in his mother’s womb a little
longer. The mother, looking into his eyes, said: ‘Kochekannano’ (the child with red eyes), and
expired. Hence, he was named Kochengat Cholan. When he reached the proper age, his father
enthroned him king, retired from the world and, after severe penance, reached the Lord’s Abode.
Kochengat Cholan promoted Saivism. In Tiru Anai Ka he built a beautiful temple and
installed the Siva Lingam under the same Jambul tree! In Chola Nadu he built many shrines and
mansions for the use of the three thousand Brahmins of Tillai. He provided for regular worship at
Chidambaran. Finally he reached the Lord’s Abode. His glories were sung by the poet Poygayar in
his ‘Kalavazhi Narpathu’.