On of the most interesting things in this particular Temple was the mango tree, reported to be 3,500 years old. Here’s the story:
Legend has it that once Parvati, the consort of Shiva was doing penance under the temple’s ancient Mango tree near Vegavathi river. In order to test her devotion Shiva sent fire on her. Goddess Parvati prayed to her brother, Vishnu, for help. In order to save her, he took the Moon from Shiva’s head and showed the rays which then cooled down the tree as well as Parvati. Shiva again sent the river Ganga (Ganges) to disrupt Parvati’s penance. Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. Subsequently, Ganga did not disturb her penance and Parvati made a Shiva Lingam out of sand to get united with Shiva. The God here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or “Lord of Mango Tree”.
According to another legend, it is believed that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam (or a Lingam improvised out of sand), under a mango tree. Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi embraced the Lingam. Shiva touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as Tazhuva kuzhainthaar (“He who melted in Her embrace”) in Tamil.
(The Lingam has been interpreted as a symbol of male creative energy or of the phallus.)