Tiruneelanakka Nayanar was born in Tiruchattamangai, a city near Nalloor, Nagai district. The Nayanar and his pious wife were staunch devotees of Lord Shiva. One Tiruvathirai Day (A Hindu Festival), Tiruneelanakka Nayanar and his wife were devoutly worshipping the Lord when a spider fell on the Shiva Lingam. Immediately, out of concern for the Lord, the saint’s wife blew it away and spat on the spot. She did not hesitate to do this as this was the practice done on children when a spider fell on their body.
When the Nayanar saw this, he was very angry and said that she had polluted the place of worship with her thoughtless act. He abandoned her and went home. His wife prayed to the Lord for mercy. The ever-compassionate Lord came in the Nayanar’s dream and showed him his body that had boils all over except in the places where she had spat! Tiruneelanakka Nayanar realized the greatness of his wife and rushed back to get her home.
Once, Thirugnana Sambandar visited Nayanar’s place along with Shivanadiyars (devotees of Shiva). Tiruneelanakka Nayanar welcomed Sambandar and Shivanadiyars with due honours. That night, Sambandar stayed in Nayanar’s house. He also requested Tiruneelanakkar to arrange a place to stay for Tiruneelakanta Yazhpanar, who plays the string instrument Yazh. Thiruneelanakkar was kind enough to allow him to sleep near the Homa kundam (sacrificial pit). Sambandar felt very happy and grateful. Next morning, Sambandar went to the temple and sang a song in which he glorified Tiruneelanakka Nayanar.
After this incident Thiruneelanakkar had the opportunity to meet Sambandar on different occasions. They became very good friends. One day, he heard of Sambandar’s marriage, and went to Nallur to witness it. When Sambandar merged in the Divine Light of Lord Shiva, with the grace of the Lord, Tiruneelanakka Nayanar also got merged in it. Thus the Nayanar attained liberation!