The temple we are talking about today is called Tirunaraiyur. It is named so because a shapit gandarva [ gandharva who was cursed ] worshiped lord shiva here in the form of a stork. This temple is situated between Chidambaram and Kattumannar Koil. It is 16 kms away from Chidambaram.
Nambiyandar was born in this village to Ananthesar, the priest at the Ganesha temple, the Ganesha here was known as Polla Pillaiyar. It was a routine for Nambi as he was affectionately called to accompany his father to the temple. He observed how the puja was conducted. When the time for offering naivedya cane his father used to ask him to wait outside and close the door. Then with ringing bells naivedya was done to Vinayagar. When Nambi, enquired where the food is he used to tell that the Vinayagar ate it. The young boy learnt all the rituals in conducting puja by the time he was seven years old.
It so happened that Ananthesar had to attend the function in the neighbouring village. Nambi’s father handed over the keys and asked him to conduct the puja and be careful not to loose the keys. As directed, next day morning in the early hours Nambi father left the house. After few hours Nambi’s mother gave him a vessel filled with kozhukattai, [ rice dumplings] which was naivedya
Now the boy opened the door , cleaned the place and decorated Ganesha chanted the mantras this father used to chant, followed the procedure and the time came when he had to offer the food to Ganesha. As per the procedure he closed the doors, offered the vessel with the kozhukattai and looked at the idol of Ganesha. Eagerly he spoke
Look what I have brought today, I have heard you like kozhukattai the most
There was no answer from Ganesha. When Ganesha didn’t touch the naivedya it let him to think that may be Ganesha was angry at him. He asked
Are you angry with me ? have I made some mistake in the puja procedure
Still there was no response, he thought may be Ganesha is not hungry. He suddenly remembered how his mother use to make him eat food when he was not hungry he looked affectionately at Ganesha eyes as said shall I tell you a story when you eat this? still there was no response from Ganesha.
Nambi’s eyes was brimming with tears, He did not understand why Ganesha did not eat the food he has brought. He was worried that his father is going to be cross with him for not “making ganesha eat” the naivedya. Nambi had decided in his mind and in a stern voice replied Well, if you dont eat what I brought then I will end my life here. so saying he vigorously started to pound his head on the floor.
Ganesha is kindest of all, even to those who don’t believe in him. How can he not be moved with this sincere devotion of a child? The next moment Nambi felt the soft trunk of on his back. Looked up, and he say the owner of the universe right in front of him majestically swaying his ears and seeing Nambi affectionately. The karunasagara had appeared instantly at the devotees call
Eat the sweet my mother has sent you, these fruits and coconut also for you. Ganesha obliged him and ate the sweet dumplings and Nambi had a satisfied look and was pleased. He closed his eyes and said Thankyou and as he closed his eyes Ganesha disappeared
Meanwhile devotees were waiting outside to get a small portion of the naivedya . Nambi came out and told them that Ganesha had completely finished the naivedya offered. They muttered among themselves may be Nambi, being small kid must have eat up everything behind the closed door so say they went away.
Now the boy reached home and told the mother, mother was happy to hear everything, till she heard that Ganesha ate up the food. She started scolding him thinking how did he learn to lie so skilfully but the boy did not change the story and she thought he was insane. The next day also Nambi took the naivedya and the same happened.
Nambi went home with empty vessels and his father who had reached home asked did you if everything was handled. An enthusiastic Nambi said yes I saw to it that Ganesha came and ate all that I took for him. Father noticed the empty vessels with a shock and said
where is prasad nambi? Nambi, instantly replied Ganesha ate it all and he was happy with the tasty food. Namibia replied with such innocence and continued, he was beautiful appa.
The fathers face changed drastically and in anger he roared as his heavy hand fell on Nambi’s thigh. He also felt that Nambi ate up all the naively secretly. There was a huge commotion, neighbours came but Nambi didn’t change his story. They felt sad for the kid and one elder said
He is just a kid he wanted to eat the sweets may be , its after all matter of food and children like eating so leave the matter, don’t beat the child
Next day, nambi’s father told him to accompany him to temple and Nambi was asked to perform the pooka rituals and he stood outside watching how his son was faring and was moved by soulful rendering of the hymns. Finally the time came when naivedya was offered
Nambi started talking to Ganesha, saying how his father didn’t believe him when he said that Ganesha ate up the food, for a moment Nambi thought his son had gone mad. Suddenly Ganesha appeared and Nambi’s father almost fainted in awe as he witnessed Ganesha happily eating the stuff. Ganesha disappeared after blessing Nambi
The father banged the doors and Nambi opened he fell at the feet of Nambi and said you are great my son. I am a fool who suspected your innocence. All the people who had gathered in the temple were dumbstruck. From that day Ganesha puja was done by Nambi.
He went on and became a great tamil scholar and sang many tevarams. Opposite to this temple home of Nambiyandar Nambi is present.
Further Reading : You can read about Nambiyandar Nambi – here