The main temple at Nanjangud is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, whose another name is Nanjundeshwara. Nanjundeshwara means the God who drank poison. Hindu mythology quotes an interesting legend in which the Gods and demons churned the ocean in search of the nectar of immortality. During this churning, there were lots of artefacts that emanated out of the ocean, including poison. To prevent the poison from spreading across the universe and destroying it, Shiva came to the rescue and drank the poison. His wife Parvati then held his throat tightly to prevent the poison from spreading to the rest of his body. Nanjanagud literally means the place where Nanjundeshwara resides.