Amidst the sun-kissed shores of the Chola Empire, in the coastal town of Nagapattinam, a king named Rajaraja reigned supreme during the 11th century. King Rajaraja, who is renowned for his inspiring leadership, promoted thriving trade ties with nearby nations like Indonesia and several Southeast Asian nations. During this time, Cudamanivarman, a descendant of the Sailendra family from the Sumatran-based Srivijaya Empire, requested the king’s approval to build a significant Buddhist monastery in Nagapattinam. King Rajaraja gave his approval, realizing that it could become a significant hub for Asian pilgrims and the dwindling Buddhist population in southern India.
Cudamanivarman sought a sacred and significant land for the monastery to be built and took the help of locals and officials alike to discover such a location.
While on the intense search, Cudamanivarman found a forest and the locals with him suggested taking a break from searching. Soon they were all fast asleep. When Cudamanivarman awoke he saw that it was almost time for dawn to break. Through the shadows created by the slowly rising sun, he saw a hooded figure of a man standing a few feet ahead of him. He tried calling out to him but the man didn’t respond and started walking in the opposite direction. Cudamanivarman followed the man, calling out to him all the while until they reached a huge and worn-out well. Although old and ruined the well radiated a mysterious glow. The man reappeared and with a smile told the king that this was a sacred well. Centuries ago there was a rumoured mountain deity that took a liking to this forest and resided in a cave inside it. The presence of the deity made the forest flourish and in turn, gave the people of the land good produce to use and make a living. Soon every family in that land was prosperous and they worshipped the cave and the deity within. People started going to the cave to pay their respects and often took offerings for the deity. The hike to the cave was quite tedious and when the pilgrims would feel tired the water from this well would replenish their thirst and give them energy to reach the cave. This well was perennial and never ran out of its sweet and refreshing water.
After hearing the story of this land, Cudamanivarman was convinced that this was the right place for the monastery to be built.
Following the completion of the monastery, a revered monk named Aacharya Bhikku, known for his wisdom and devotion was appointed as its head. Aacharya Bhikku was highly respected and had previously assisted King Rajaraja in his earlier years by caring for him when he was ill. In gratitude for the monk’s care and recognizing the significance of his presence, King Rajaraja sought to provide Aacharya Bhikku with an abode that would facilitate his meditation and spiritual practices apart from when he was in the monastery.
Cudamanivarman once took Acharya Bhikku to the cave of the deity and he was taken back by the intense spiritual power that the place held and at once decided to make it his abode.
Since then, the locals have revered the land that the cave and well were present on, as a prosperous land with goodwill for all who enter. All the weddings and auspicious occasions in the village took place here and brought years of happiness and boundless joy to the people.
And so, the legend of these sacred structures paved the way for blessings and prosperity in the land. Its essence lingered in the hearts and minds of those who had witnessed its power. The well and cave would forever hold a special place in the archives of history, reminding future generations of the eternal bond between the elements and humans.