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  Nanadanar - Life and Inspiration

"Nandanar", popularly known as "Thiru-naalaippovar" is one of the sixty three Nayanmars(saints) who had devoted themselves to the service of Lord Shiva and His Creations.

Nandanar was a dalit by birth, grew in devotion to Lord Shiva, became a great Muni of great virtue and revered by all. Nandanar was born in the Pulaiyar (Paraiyar) caste in Melaadanoor village, Westward of Chidambaram, in Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu. We learn that Nandanr was born in the 5th century BC.

He used to worship "Sivalokanatha" of Thirupunkoor which is located in the east of Melaadanoor, 5 kilometers from Vaitheeswaran temple in the southwest direction. The Lord of Thirupunkoor was pleased by the devotion of Nandanar, made the Nandi lying before Him to move aside and manifested Himself directly for the worship.

Later, Nandanar grew in intense devotion to the Cosmic Dancer – Thillai Natraja – of Chidambaram. He started telling himself, "Tomorrow I will go to Thillai" He spent many years telling this, and it became a nick-name "Thiru Naalaippovar" (திரு நாளைப் போவார்).

Ultimately Nandanar came to Ponnambalam (Kanaka Sabha) of Chidambaram temple, along with Thillai Moovayiravar (3000 priests), in the month of Purattasi, Rohini Nakshatram. In the Golden court he shined as Camphor-flame and merged with Lord Shiva.

Nandanar was denied entry into the temple, but Lord Shiva Himself accepted Nandanar and Nandanar entered into the heart of Tamil society forever. Before Nandanar, there were few forerunners – Thillai Vettiyan (தில்லை வெட்டியான்), Pettron Samban (பெற்றான் சாம்பான்) who attained "mukthi" here.