Papanasam Temple is located at Papanasam village, near Tirunelveli. The presiding deity is Papavinaseswarar ( Lord Shiva), the redeemer of sins.
Legend has it that a Pandya king who had converted to Buddhism tormented those of his subjects who did not agree to convert. An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, unable to put up with any more harassment, left the state with his son and daughter.
The family was caught in some strife, and the children got separated from each other. After a long time, they arrived in Varanasi, where the children, now grown up, met each other and got married without realizing that they were siblings. When finally they realized their sin, they started searching for ways of absolution. They were advised to wear black and bathe in all the sacred waters of India. When their black clothes turned white, they would be redeemed. It was at Papanasam that this finally happened.
The river Thamiraparni that flows by the temple teems with fish. Devotees believe that these are redeemed souls, and harming them would bring retribution. Thousands of pilgrims come here every year to bathe in the sacred river.
Agasthiyar temple adjoining the falls named Agasthiyar falls is located half way to Panatheertham, which is at a distance of 4-km from Papanasam Shiva temple. One can reach the Agasthiyar falls and temple by trekking a distance of 3-km. Regular buses are available to these temples.
L egend has it, that it was close to the Papanasam falls on the banks of the Thamirabarani river that Shiva and Parvati appeared before Agasthiya, the falls came to be known as the Agasthiyar falls. To commemorate the visit of the divine couple, the Agasthya temple was built there.
Papanasam is a nearby village, where the river Thamirabarani flowing from the Western Ghats reaches its plains and drops to form a small waterfall. It is believed that people who bathe in this waterfall are relieved of all sins as “Papanasam”, which means absolution of sins. The Shiva temple here is also very famous.
Apart from Papanasam, Tenkasi, Srivaikuntam, Manappad Church, Krishnapuram are the other nearby places of tourist interest.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: The nearest airport is at Madurai, 151-km away.
Rail: The nearest convenient railway station is at Tirunelveli, which is an important railway junction on the Southern Railway and is connected to all the major cities of South India .
Road: Tirunelveli is well connected by road with the important towns and cities within and beyond the state. Regular buses are available from Tirunelveli and the neighbouring towns to the temple.