There existed a "Swayambu" (Self-formed) Lingam amidst a Palm Tree forest along with His consort, Sathyaambika. It is also the place where Sibi Chakravarthi , a compassionate King offered his flesh in a bid to save a dove which took asylum when attacked by an eagle. The emperor came forward to accept the challenge posed by the eagle that he should offer flesh equal to that of the dove. When he was unable to do it, he finally decided to offer his eyes to keep up his word. Lord Shiva gave dharshan to the king and blessed him. Dove is called "Puraa" in Tamil and Palm tree is referred as "Panai" . Both these words merged together and the place was called "Puravar Panangaatur" Thirugnanasambandar's Thevaram Hymns refer the place with the above name. As the word "Nethram" in Sanskrit means eyes, the Lord is known as Nethrodharaka. This Temple of Panangaateeswara(Thalavanesewara) was built by Rajendra Chola ,about 1200 years ago. Since Sun God has also worshipped the Lord here, Sun's rays fall on the presiding deity and later on the Goddess on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai. Many people pray the deity to get cure from eye-ailments.
As we enter The Temple through the Rajagopuram, we find the flagpost, Nandi and balipeetam in front of the sanctum that faces east . The outer Prakaram has a small shrine for Ganapathy and a "Sthala vrukksha" i.e., the twin Palm trees under which a Shiva Linga is seen. Shanmuka's sannadhi is close by and on the north prakaram we find Sathyaambika's shrine ,which is on an elevated platform. The villagers repose huge faith on the Goddess as she stands for Truth and nobody can violate it for the fear of getting punished.
Sixteen inscriptions of this Temple have been documented . They talk about the endowments made by he Kings for maintaining the Temple. Now the Temple is under the control of HR & CE dept of the Govt. of Tamilnadu.
In order to facilitate the work on National Highway 45 C , that connects Vikravandi with Thanjavur, NHAI officials have taken measurements enroute wherein lies the heart of the Temple, The Sanctum. Markings have been made by them on the walls of the Temple ,reinforcing the threat to the Temple complex. Representations have been made from all quarters and request to divert the route to spare the Temple has been sent to NHAI, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and HR&CE dept for their immediate action. (Pl. see report from "The Hindu"dated 24th March.)The Photos taken by the undersigned during the visit on 24th March,2012 are uploaded here. With prayers on the lips, everyone hopes that necessay orders will be passed to spare the ancient Temple from being pulled down.