Sagara performed a great Aswamedha Yagna and sent his Royal Horse alone
to go round the world. According to traditional rules of the yagna,
the horse thus sent should return to the starting point victoriously
without being captured by any body. Indira, jealous of Sagara caught
the horse and tied near sage Kabila who was in penance then. Sagara’s
son seeing the horse, suspecting that Kabila had captured the horse,
began to torture the sage, who, on opening his eyes cursed him. The
curse continued to affect the succeeding generations of Sagara. As
advised by Guru Sage Vasishta, King Baghiratha, belonging to the
subsequent generation performed severe penance, brought River Ganga to
Earth, performed Shiva Puja, relieved all his ancestors from the grip of
the curse and liberated himself also from the curse.
Sage Kabila too, felt very much that he had cursed the Sagara dynasty. He began to worship Lord Shiva to atone for the sin of cursing the Sagara family and to attain salvation. He held a Shivalinga on the Left hand and offered flowers by the right hand. Lord Shiva appeared before the sage and asked him why he was following a strange type of Puja. Kabila said that considering the sanctity of the Lord, he did not like to place it on impure earth. Lord Shiva told him that he was in many places on earth and there was no such part not loved by him and said what the sage did was not right. He told the sage to be born on earth as a cow, worship him as a swayambu Linga and attain salvation. So saying the Lord disappeared.
Sage Kabila, as ordained by Lord Shiva was born a cow. He was pouring the milk on a Sivalinga in a hidden place. The sheperd threw a stone on the cow. It did not move. Then he pinned on the milking part of the cow. Unable to bear the pain, the cow moved. While moving, the rear leg of the cow hit on the Linga from where blood came out. The shepherd fainted on seeing this. Lord Shiva appeared before Kabila the Cow. Kabila was absorbed within the Linga. As Kabila in his cow form (Cow means Thenu or Kamadenu in Sanskrit) worshipped the Lord, He is known as Thenupureeswarar. A temple was built later here.