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Temples of Tamilnadu

Tiruvilaiyaadal Puraanam

Legend has it that several miraculous events occurred in Madurai during the reign of Sundara Pandyan and Meenakshi in Madurai. Sixty four of these events are collectively referred to as Tiruvilayaadal (the divine play). These legends have been frozen in Tamil poetry in Tiruvilayaadal puranam by the Tamil Saint Paranjyoti Munivar. The Sanskrit version of Tiruvilayaadal Puranam is known as Haalaasya Mahaatmyam.

It is to be noted that Madurai is also known as Aalavaai – from the legend that Madurai is believed to be a city surrounded by a celestial snake, with its tail held in its mouth.

Another legend holds regarding the name Madurai. It is believed that the venom emitted by the serpent jewel of Shiva was cooled off by the rays of nectar (madhu) emanating from the crescent moon adorning Shiva – hence the name Madhurai.

Another legend has it that evil demons sent destructive forces to Madurai, to raze the city down. These evil forces took the form of an elephant, a cow and a snake and attacked the city. Shiva is said to have changed these charging animals into stones; hence the hillocks Yaanaimalai, Pasumalai and Naagamalai surrounding Madurai.

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Legends from the Tiruvilayaadal Puraanam are depicted on the walls of the temple and are also enacted during some of the many grand festivals celebrated by the temple (Pittukku Mann sumanda Kadai being one of them). Ten of these are enacted during the Aavani Moolam festival, three in Thai, one in Pankuni and four during the grand Chittirai Tiruvizhaa.