Aadi Special

Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple - 1

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a famous shrine located on the south of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai.

It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar.

Presiding deity - Meenakshi

The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts 1 million visitors.

The name Meenakshi (meaning fish-eyed) is derived from the words meen (fish) and askhi (eyes). Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple, but not Sundareswarar - this is unlike most Shiva temples in south India.

In order to answer the prayers of the second Pandya king, Malayadwaja Pandya, and his wife Kanchanamalai, Goddess Parvati appeared out of the holy fire of the Putra Kameshti  yagna performed by the king.

According to another legend, the goddess herself gave a boon to Kanchanamalai in one of her previous births that she would have the privilege of mothering the goddess. This girl, who came out of the holy fire had three breasts. A voice from the heavens told the king not to worry and added that the third breast would vanish as soon as the girl meets her future husband.

The happy king named the girl Tadaatagai  and being the heir to the throne, Tadaatagai was trained carefully in all the 64 sastras. As the time came when Tadaatagai was to be crowned, she had to wage a war on the three worlds across eight directions.

After conquering Brahma’s abode, Vishnu’s abode and the abode of the Devas, she advanced to Shiva’s abode. She very easily defeated Shiva’s army and Nandi and headed to attack and conquer Shiva. The moment she looked at Shiva, she was unable to fight and bowed her head down due to shyness; the third breast vanished immediately.

Tadaatagai realised that Shiva was her destined husband. She also realised that she was the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Both Shiva and Tadaatagai returned to Madurai and the king arranged for the coronation ceremony of his daughter, followed by her marriage to Shiva.

(To be contd)

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