Legend of Markandeya
Once upon a time, there lived a sage named Mrikandu Munivar. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva and did great penance
to beget a son. Lord Shiva appeared before the sage and asked him if he would like to have a son who lived for a short span but was gifted or a n ordinary boy with a long life. The sage asked for the former and soon, his wife gave birth to Markandeya, the brilliant and extra ordinary child, who was alas, destined to live for only sixteen years.
The years went by and young Markandeya grew to become a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Soon enough, he turned sixteen and on the destined day, Yama, the God of Death, came to take him away. At that time, Markandeya was worshipping the Shivalingam. When Yama saw the boy, he tossed his noose around Markandeya's neck. Markandeya held on to the lingam and Yama's noose landed around the Shivalingam.
A furious Shiva emerged from the lingam and kicked Yama and killed the Lord of Death Himself! Brahma, Vishnu and other dieties prayed to the Destroyer to spare the Lord of Death and spare Bhooma Devi of her burden and the pacified Shiva
revived Yama. But under the condition that Markandeya be spared and allowed to live forever. Yama bowed to the wish of Shiva and thus, Markandeya was saved.
Even today, one can see the mark on the lingam where the noose fell as well as the crack which erupted prior to Lord Shiva emerging from the lingam. One of the Lord's moorthies here is Kaalasamhaaramurthy, the fierce form of Shiva, as He emerged from the linga to save Markandeya. (Bhayankara Ghora Roopa - Yama
Another legend is associated with Abhirama Bhattar and Abhirami
Ammal. Abhirama Bhattar was an ardent devotee of the goddess and his favourite saying was that the Amman is all powerful and can do everything. When the King heard this, he was incensed. He told the poet if he could bring out the full moon on that very Amavasya night. When he heard this Abhirama Bhattar didn't know what to do - he prayed to his goddess to save him from his predicament. The
devi, the kind mother, took out her nose ring, which sparkled so bright and tossed it into the sky. The brightness of the Goddess's ring was so much that everyone took it to be the full moon. Thus, the Goddess saved Her devotee.