You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth Behind Nandanar
Nandanar (also spelt as Nantanar), also known as Tirunalaippovar (Thirunaallaippovaar) and Tiru Nalai Povar Nayanar,(Other names include: Nandan (Nanda, Nantan), Tirunalaipovanar, Nalaippovar, Nalaippovan) was a Nayanar saint, who is venerated in the Hindu sect of Shaivism.
He is the only Paraiyar saint in the Nayanars. He is generally counted as the eighteenth in the list of 63 Nayanars. Like the other Nayanars, he was a devout devotee of the god Shiva.
The tale of Nandanar is retold numerous times in folk tales, folk music, plays, films and literature in Tamil society.
While Nandanar is included in Nayanar list since the 8th century CE, the 12th century CE Periya Puranam gives a full hagiographical account of his life.
The tale focuses on two miracles attributed to him. In Sivalokanathar Temple, Tirupunkur; his prayers are said to have moved a giant stone bull, which still appears in the moved position in the temple.
Nandanar is said to have ritually purified himself by fire at Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram. Nandar's tale features in temple lore and religious literature related to both these temples. Gopalakrishna Bharati's 19th-century retelling of the saint's life remains the basis of many later retellings.
It expands the original narrative adding elements of oppression of the Dalit saint by higher castes. While higher caste retellings of the tale focus on the saint's observance of caste norms, Dalits emphasize his exploitation and superior religiosity.
Apart from collective worship Nandanar enjoys being part of the Nayanars in Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, shrines depicted to Nandanar exist in both the sites of his miracles. The saint also became an icon of protest in Dalit rights movements.