Kanampulla Nayanar was a wealthy man of Pullirukkuvelur, who was a great Siva Bhakta. He wanted to utilise all his wealth in the service of the Lord. So, with unswerving devotion he would light lamps in Siva shrines and sing the praises of the Lord..
Kanampulla went to Chidambaran where he continued his service. Lord Siva wanted to reveal the devotion of his bhakta to others, so the Lord withdrew the wealth of his devotee The bhakta’s holy service continued in spite of whatever hurdles he faced. He sold his household articles one by one, and with the money received fuelled and lit lamps everyday with ghee.
Then came the situation when there was nothing left in the house to sell So, he went out to the fields to cut grass and sell it so that he could purchase ghee to fuel lamps in service to the Lord. Because he cut a variety of grass known as Kanampul, the bhakta is known as Kanampulla Nayanar.
One day he was not able to sell the grass. But as he did not want to swerve from what he believed to be his duty of maintaining oil lamps in service to the Lord, he went to the Temple and made a wick out of grass he had cut and burnt it. The quantity of grass was not enough to sustain the flame, so the bhakta, brought his own head near the lamp, spread his hair on the lamp, and began burning it. It was then that Lord Siva appeared before him, and blessed him.