The story of King Nala:
King Nala was ruling Nidadha having Mavindha as his capital. He was great King ruling vast area of the present Indian nation.
In a Swayamvara function he married a princess of the nearby country 'Vitharpa' named as 'Damayanthi'. The Devas who attended that function were angry and jealous on the King as they couldn't marry the Princess.
They prayed to Lord Sani and requested him to give severe punishment to the King Nala. The Navagraha Lord Sani accepted this request because the King was about to get the effects of Sani Dasa in his life. One day before doing his daily puja, Nala did not wash his legs perfectly. Lord Sani immediately caught hold of him after waiting for a chance to hold him for about 12 years.
Due to this effect of Llord Sani; King Nala lost his kingdom in a gamble. His sufferings grew large. He left his land along with his queen Damayanthi. The effects of Sani were such that even he forgot what he was doing. In course of his wandering in the jungles, he parted with his queen also.
A big snake called â€œKarkodakaâ€ bite him and he lost his charm and color. His face and physic changed and looked different like a beggar. He then joined as a driver to the King's car 'Ther' in the palace of the King of Ayodhya.
The queen after lot of sufferings found her to her father's house and sent lot of spies and emissaries to get information about the whereabouts of her husband. After long years she found that Nala was working for the King of Ayodhya.
The father decided to find way to bring Nala back to senses. He prepared a Swayamvara for his daughter again. He invited the King of Ayodhya expecting that Nala would come along with the King. As expected after seeing his wife Nala came to his senses and realized who he was. He again became the King of his country, but his absence of mind and the color of his skin did not change which made him very sad.
The great saint Naradha advised him to take a pilgrimage visiting the shrines of Lord Shiva. Through Sage Naradha, Nala understood that he was under the adverse influence of Saturn and began a pilgrimage to holy places. The King visited many temples and performed Pujas. At Viruddhachalam, he met sage Srimadvaja who directed him to Darbaranyeswarar temple in Thirunallar and worship the Sani Bagawan which King Nala meticulously followed.
At last when he took a holy bath in the tank and entered the Thirunallar Shani Temple King Nala got relieved from the adverse effects of Sani Bagawan and also was blessed by him. He stayed there for some time, dug tanks and built the temple. Whoever reads the story of King Nala would get reduced of their troubles and prosper in their life as per the Sthala Puranam of the Thirunallar Shani Temple. The story of King Nala can be seen in a series of paintings in the walls of Thirunallar Shani Temple.
The Story of King of Kalinga
Kalinga Raja is also said to have got deliverance here. King of Kalinga performed 'Aswametha Yagam' in a grand manner. At that time he was started to face with the period of 7½ yeas of Lord Sani. After the rituals Bhargava Munivar went to visit the King in his Palace. The King was tired and forgot the saint's arrival and while meeting the Rishi lately he did not heed the sage's words properly.
Saint Bhargava got angry upon the King's obedience and respect and cursed him and his family to become elephants and roam around in the forest. When they were wandering as elephants in the forest Saint Naradha happened to meet them. The king was basically a good hearted man and Sage Narada took pity on him. He asked him to pray to Lord Siva at Thirunallar, which the King followed properly.
The whole family went to the Thirunallar temple performed Pujas to Lord Sani during Masi Maha Festival. After the family took holy bath in the Nala Theertham and prayed the Lord Sani, who removed the effects of the curse.
The Story of the 'Pachchai Padigam':
In the 7th century Madurai, the capital of the Pandian Kingdom, was ruled by the king Ninra seernedumaran. The King converted to Jainism, due to some influence of the mantras chanted by the saints of Jainism. During this time, Jainism was spreading in influence in South India.
The King ordered that all his citizens must follow him. But his queen Mangaiyarkarasi and his minister Kulacchirai Nayanar - both staunch Saivaites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) did not wish to forsake their religion. The queen and the minister were very sad and were anxious to reclaim both king and kingdom back into the fold of the traditional religion (Saivism).
The queen happened to know about the great young saint Thirugnana Sambandar and his miracles in Thanjavur district. When the minister heard about the news of the camping of Saint Thirugnana Sambandar at Vedaranyam, they sent an urgent invitation to him to visit Madurai and extricate the king and his subjects from the clutches of Jainism.
The young saint arrived at Madurai on the Queen's request. The arrival of the Saivate saint irked the Jains, who set fire to his holy dwelling. But by his yogic powers, Sambandar had the heat transferred to the king, who consequently suffered in severe stomach pain.
The young saint then sang a hymn called the Padigam 'Mandiramavadu Neeru' and sprinkled holy ash called 'Viboothy' on the right side of the king's body to alleviate the pain. The Jain in turn chanted the Aruga Mantra (Jain Mantra) and stroked the left side of the king's person with peacock feathers, but it only aggravated the pain!
In response to entreaties by the king and his ministers, Sambandar applied a few more of the sacred ash to the king's left side also and the Pandian King now smiled gaily and was free of his burns, who only a little while ago was the very picture of suffering, misery and distress,.
But the Jains challenged the Saint further, asking that the Mantras of both religions be written on palm leaves and consigned to flames to see which one survived the ordeal of fire (thereby showing superiority over the other).
The Jains first placed their great mantras written in palm leaf onto the fire but it was soon consumed by the flames. Saint Thirugnana Sambandar placed on the flames one leaf containing the hymn called forty-ninth Padigam of the Tevaram hymn which was sung at the shrine of Lord Darbharanyeswaran Shiva at Thirunallar.
The leaf remained untouched by the flames and maintained its evergreen freshness, reestablishing Saivism as the true religion in Pandian capital. Hence this real story describes itself the glory of the Thirunallar Lord Sani temple. Hence forth those hymns were called called "Pachchai Padigam". (In the Tamil language, Pachchai = evergreen, Padigam = decadal verse). This hymn is written in praise of Lord Darbharanyeswaran.