The story of Garbarakshambigai Amman
Garbarakshambigai Amman is the foremost fertility Goddess of India. She is renowned for her powers to bless couples with children and also safeguard pregnancies and ensure easy delivery. In short she has the powers to bless every aspect of childbearing.
Garbarakshambigai Amman is famed for her powers for over a thousand years. Saints like Appar, Sundarar and Campantar have recited the glories of this Amman as early as the 7th century in the 12 volume saiva canonical works. Other literary works like the Periya Puranam by Sezhkizhar also mention the glory of this temple and the Amman here.
The story of Garbarakshambigai Amman dates back to the ages when saints lived and performed penances in forests. In a place called Mullai Vanam (Jasmine Garden), two sages Gouthama Muni and Gargeya Muni lived in an ashram. They were served by a couple by the name of Nidhruva and Vedikai. This couple had no children and were prayed to the sages to guide them and Vedikai had a great urge to become a mother. The sages then instructed the couple to perform puja and worship Goddess Parvathi in the form of Garbarakshambigai Amman. Their prayers were soon answered and Vedikai soon conceived a child.
One day Nidhruva left to visit Lord Varuna by travelling through the skies. The rishis in those days had many powers. Vedhika was in the third trimester of her pregnancy. One day Sage Urdhvapada visited the Ashram seeking alms. Vedhika was alone in the ashram and since she was in an advanced state of pregnancy and very tired after the daily household chores, she was lying down and taking rest. Vedhika didn’t notice the Rishi or hear him, therefore, she failed to respond and unwittingly failed to offer due hospitality to the guest. Urdhvapada felt terribly insulted and unaware of her pregnancy got incensed at her conduct and cursed her for not paying due respects to him. He cursed that she should suffer from a disease called “Rayatchu”, as a result of which poor Vedhika was struck with a foul disease, which began to eat into the very vitals of not only herself but also the child in her womb.
She was devastated and prayed to Garbarakshambiai Amman again. Garbarakshambigai Amman appeared before Vedikai and took the foetus, placing in inside a pot. This foetus developed into a male child and the devoted couple were very happy parents. The child was named Naidhuruvan.
Because of this benevolent act, inmates of the ashram led by Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in that place i.e. the Mullai Vanam (today the place is called Thrirukarukavur ) and offer her grace and protection to all women who want to conceive and also those who are already pregnant. The Goddess accepting their prayers and remain there as the protector of the wombs of women.
The grace of Amman did not end there. She also provided milk to the child Naidhruvan by sending the divine cow Kamadhenu. When Kamadhenu came down to provide milk to the child the hooves of the cow that were planted in front of the temple gave rise to a spring of water which formed a tank. The tank is called Kshreeakundam and exists even today.
Since that time in history this Amman has become the Goddess who blesses all women who pray to her for children.