275 Thevara Shivasthalam !! Thiru Alavai (Madurai) Thiru Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple !!

Jai Sriman Narayana !!

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara !!

Thiru Alavai is one of the 275 thevara Shivasthalm of Lord Shiva located at the heart of the Madurai City, Tamil Nadu.  This is one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva known as Kadambavana Kshetram/Kailasa Kshetram occupies massive 17 acres of land built by the King Kulazhekara Pandya famous for its magnificent Dravidian architectural style and exquisite craftsmanship.   Later, Nayaks undertook the renovation and made additions to this temple.   This temple is one of the Pancha Sabha of Lord Shiva where the cosmic dances were performed on the Earth.  Pancha Sabhas are Chidambara Kshetram – Sri Natarajar - Swarna Sabha (Golden Hall), Madurai Somasundareswar Meenakshy Kshetram – Rajatha Sabha    (Silver Hall), Nellaiappar Kshetram – Tamra Sabha (Copper Hall), Thiruvalangadu Kshetram – Sri Vadaranyeswarar -  Ratna Sabha(Diamond Hall), Sri Kutralathunathar Kshetram – Chitra Sabha.

The stunning murals and  exquisite sculptures of eight forms of Adi Sakthi  as Kaumari, Raudri, Vaishnavi, Mahalakshmi, Yagnaroopini, Shyamala, Maheswari and Manonmani carved on the pillars Ashta Shakthi Mandapam also includes attractive paintings of Goddess Meenakshi, Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya.  The celestial wedding Hall is a revelation of exemplary art work of olden days.    This temple has 4 majestic Rajagopurams (Temple Tower) with 10 additional gouprams on the shrines within the precincts of this temple.

Presiding deity – Thiru Chokalinga Peruman/Chokkanathar/Sundareswarar Peruman/Meenakshi Sundarar/Somasundarar/Kalyana Sundarar/Shembaga Sundarar/ Attavai Sevakan/Adhiraveesi/Azhakiya Chokkar/ Kadambavana Chokkar/Kadambavaneswarar/Karpoora Chokkar/Peralavayar/Madureswarar with his consort Goddess Thiru Meenakshi/Angayar Kanni/Maragathavalli/Pacchaidevi/Thadagai Piratti/Abhiramavalli/Kayarkankumari/Karpooravalli/Sundaravalli/Pandipiratti/Madurapuri Thalaivi/Manickavalli.

Mangasalasasanam – Thiru Gnana Sambandhar, Thirunavukkarasar

Vimanam – Indra Vimanam – Lord Indra worshipped Lord Shiva in many sacred places to get rid of Brahmahathya sin.   He arrived on this sacred land full of Kadamba trees and found a self-manifested Linga.  He sanctified the Linga and built a temple on its place.

Worshipped by – Sri Chokkanathar  and Thiru Alavayan was worshipped by Lord Kubera and  Lord Yama respectively.  This is one of the prominent temples of Lord Shiva worshipped by Lord Indra, Lord Varuna, deities and Sages. 

Significance – This one of the 51 Sakthi Peetam of Goddess Sakthi.   In this temple Goddess Rajamathangi idol is made of Emerald.   Murthy Nayanar, one of the prominent Shivaite Saints worshipped Lord Sundareswara in this temple.  Thiru Gnan Sambandhar reinstated the glories of Shaivisam on this sacred land.

Theertham – Adi Theertham/ Shivaganga Theertham/ Uthama Theertham/Parama Theertham/Gnana Theertham/Mukthi Theertham, Ezhukadal, Kondazhi, Vaigainadhi, Kruthamalai, Theppakkulam, Nirmalya Theertham.

Adi theertham /Shiva Gangai Theertham were initiated by the plunge of Lord Shiva’s Trident on Earth at the request of deities and Lord Nandikeshwara.  Lord Indra was worshipped Lord Shiva with the Golden Lotus obtained from this Pond.   Holy dip in this pond on auspicious days of Amavasya, Pournami, eclipse and worship of Lord Chokkanatha Peruman with Goddess Meenakshi would provide abundance of pieties and Salvation.

Sannidhis – Lord Dakshinamurthy, Lord Lingodbhavar, Goddess Durga, Thiru Sanga Pulavar,

Mangayarkarasi Mandapam houses the statues of King Arikesari, Maravarman and his wife Mangayarkarasiyar, Kulachirai Nayanar and Thiru Gnana Sambandhar

Muthuramayyar Mandapam houses the idol of Muthuramayyar, Kasi Vishwanathar, Kasi Visalakshi, Sarabeswarar

Thirumalai Naicker Mandapam/Vasantha Mandapam consists of murals of Kings of Naicker Dynasty, Meenkashi Thirukalyanam, Lord Shiva’s Cosmic Dance poses, exquisitely carved on the pillars.

Thousand pillared Mandapam is one of the remarkable and huge hall  in which positioned the dance hall of Lord, housed idols of Shivaite Saints and deities.

Main Mandapa of Lord houses Indra Vimanam, idols of Lord Veerabhadra, Goddess Kali, Aghora Veerabhadra, Lord Surya, Lord Mukkuruni Vinayaka, Goddess Gayatri, Sadasivamurthy, Nayanmars, and brilliant sculptures of Lions and elephants.  Nandi Mandapam housed Lord Nadikeshwara carved out of  a single rock./monolithic

Festivals – Chithirai Brahmostavam, Oonjal Utsavam, Navaratri, Mahashivaratri, Float Festival, Panguni Uthiram,  Adi Pooram, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Vasanthostavam, Avani Moolam Festival, Ayppasi Utsavam, Arudra Darisanam, Masi Makam, Sambandhar Utsavam,

There are several interesting myths attached to this temple.  The Madurai city was ruled by the King Malayadhwaja Pandya. He was a righteous ruler, he had no offspring for long time, the very thought of leaving behind the Kingdom without any heirs created worries in him.   He conducted a Yagna, while performing rite a little girl child with three breasts emerged out of the sacrificial fire.   King Malayadhwaja was distressed at the sight of girl child with strange physical features, instantly a divine voice echoed that she would be back to normalcy when she meets her consort.  King Malayadhwaja Pandya brought up this stunning girl, years passed by she grown into a beautiful, brave young maiden an heir to the throne of King Malayadhwaja Pandya.   She led many battles and won over his enemies.  She met Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash and fallen in love with him.  Surprisingly, the third breast disappeared instantly.  Shortly, Lord Shiva married to Goddess Parvati and assumed as Lord Somasundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi, this divine couple ruled the Pandya Kingdom for several years and resided in Madurai Temple.

Lord Shiva’s marriage with Goddess Parvati conducted in a splendid manner.  All the deities, sages and rishis were invited to take part in the celestial wedding of the divine couple.  There present Sage Patanjali and his disciple Vyagrapadha expressed their irrepressible desire to envision Lord’s cosmic dance.   The most compassionate Lord does not want to dishearten the desire of his devotees,   instantly constructed a marvelous dancing hall (Rajatha Sabha) at the will of Lord and splendid cosmic dance was performed.

Another legend has that King Rajasekhara Pandiya, son of King Vikrama Pandya was the ruler of this great city Madurai.  He was a zealous devotee of Lord Shiva and a righteous ruler.  He was profusely inspired by the various dance forms of the Lord.  He decided to learn all the 64 art forms from the King Karinkala Chola.  Soon he realized the pain involved in learning those art forms and their performances.  He arrived at the temple and worriedly looked at the dancing form of Lord with one leg on the ground.  With tears rolling down he passionately requested Lord to change the leg position.   True to the devotees’ cries, Lord changed the position of leg from right to left.

This temple remains open from 5.00AM to 12.30 PM in the morning and 4.00PM to 10.00PM in the evenings.

Please click the link below for fabulous virtual tour to Thiru Alavai Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple:

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara !!


Jai Sriman Narayana !!

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