Manakkanchara Nayanar was born in Anandatandavapuram, a fertile village in the Chola Kingdom. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, but he had no children. He prayed to the Lord , and the Lord granted him his wish.
Manakkanchara Nayanar’s wife gave birth to a girl. The Lord blessed the Nayanar by giving him a daughter instead of a son, said R. Narayanan, in a discourse. The reason was that it was through this daughter that the world was to see the extent of the Nayanar’s devotion to Lord Siva.
The child was doted upon by her family. When she attained marriageable age, a suitable groom had to be found. Her father decided that Iyarkon Kalikama Nayanar would be the one to wed his daughter. There could be no better choice, for Iyarkon Kalikama Nayanar was as devoted to Lord Siva as Manakkanchara Nayanar himself.
On the day of the wedding, the bride was dressed up, and awaited the arrival of the groom. Just then a devotee of Siva (Sivan adiyar) came to the place of wedding. Manakkanchara Nayanar welcomed him and asked his daughter to take the adiyar’s blessings. The girl did so. The Sivan adiyar said to Manakkanchara Nayanar that as an adiyar, he wore a sacred thread made of human hair, and therefore he needed long hair. He had noticed the long tresses of Manakkanchara Nayanar’s daughter, and he wondered whether he could have her hair to make a sacred thread.
Manakkanchara Nayanar did not hesitate for a moment; he cut off his daughter’s hair and was about to give it to the adiyar, when he vanished. A voice was heard that Lord Siva was pleased with the Nayanar’s devotion. The girl’s hair became lengthy again, and everyone realised that the adiyar was none other then Lord Siva Himself. When the groom heard what had happened, he lauded his father-in- law for his Siva bhakti.
In those days when it was considered inauspicious for a woman to cut off her hair, Manakkanchara Nayanar cut off his daughter’s hair, simply because a devotee of Siva had asked for it.
Such was his devotion to Lord Siva that he cared about nothing, except serving His devotees.