ThiruMullaivoyil is located near Chennai.King Tondaimaan built this temple.
The vimana (roof) of the sanctum sanctorum is designed in a special way that is exclusive to Pallava architecture – the Gaja Prishtam, that looks like the rear of an elephant (Gaja – elephant, prishtam – rear).
The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Sundarar, Ramalinga Swamigal and Arunagirinathar.
In ancient times, the forest surrounding Tirumullaivayil was occupied by two notorious tribesmen, Vaanan and Onan from the Kurumbar tribe. King Thondaiman, the then ruler of the land, wanted to put an end to their atrocities. All his attempts went futile and finally he decided to defeat them in war. He set out for the war with all his infantry and cavalry with elephants and chariots.
En route to the war, they waded through a dense growth of Mullai plants (Jasmine climbers). The foot of the elephant on which he was mounted was entangled in the dense foliage. The king and his men, in an attempt to free the elephant from this mess, went on to cut the wild twines with their swords and daggers. Suddenly they noticed blood gushing out from the leaves and found a ‘lingam’ bleeding. Shocked, the King was in great distress that he has committed a sin.
Seeking mercy and forgiveness from Lord Shiva, he prayed to Him. Lord Shiva and Parvathi appeared before the King lest he indulge in causing self-inflicted injury out of grief. The Lord asked the King to build a temple for Him right there and promised that he would reside there as ‘Masilamaniswara’, the Lord who is as precious as a gem, but without stains [‘maasu’ – dirty or stain (caused by the profuse bleeding), ‘ila’ – without, ‘mani’ – gem].