About 700 years ago, King Parakrama Pandiya was taking up a pilgrimage to Kasi as and when he desired to worship Lord Viswanatha.
The Lord appeared in his dream that he could build a temple here itself to avoid a long journey to north.
He advised the king to follow the movement of ants row and build the temple where it ended.
The ant-line ended on the banks Chitraru River dense with Shenbaga trees. He found a swayambulinga near an anthill and built the temple as directed by the Lord.
Lord Shiva graces in the temple as a swayambumurthi. Worshipping the Lord in this temple is as equal to worshipping the Lord in Kasi –Varanasi. Presiding deity Lord Kasi Viswanatha is visible to the devotee even from a distance of one Km.
The temple is so vastly constructed with this facility to the devotees. While Mother Durga faces South in almost all temples, She faces west in this temple.
The tower of the temple was simply flat till the year 1967. In the year 1990, a tower, as tall as 180 feet was very artistically built and the temple looks quite majestically now.
To facilitate enjoying the natural beauty of Tenkasi, broad roads are laid from the nine points of the tower, as if the devotee is walking on the space. At the ninth point of the tower, a balcony is also constructed to go round the tower.
The temple is noted for the three importances of Murthy (the deity), Thalam (holiness of the place) and theertham the holy water attributed to the temple. The Presiding deity is Sri Kasi Viswanatha with Mother Ulgamman.
Shenbagam tree and Kasi theertham add to the importance of the temple.
The beauty of the sculptures of the temple is widely known the world over. The twin sculptures – the Veerabadras, Thandavamurthis, two Tamil Mothers, Rathi and Manmatha (the cupid and his beautiful wife Rathi), single sculptures as Lord Vishnu and Kali Devi are noted for their exquisite beauty.