Sokkanathar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai


Tiruparankundram is famous first and foremost, for one of the 6 Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan. Lesser known is the fact that that temple is actually a Paadal Petra Sthalam for Siva as Satya Gireeswarar. However, just 100 meters from that temple is another Pandya temple, for Meenakshi Amman and Siva as Sokkanathar, featuring some unique and rare depictions of various deities. But what is the very interesting story of how and why Murugan and His Parents came to this place? … Read More Sokkanathar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai

Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai


This is where Vishnu worshipped after visiting Madurai for the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar wedding, and Siva explained the meaning of the Vedas to Him. The temple is also connected to another son of the soil, and one of the most influential of the Saivite bhakti saints – Manikkavasagar – who was born here and received Siva’s deeksha as well. This beautiful Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has stunning Pandya architecture, but how is it connected with a Tamil retelling of the Mahabharatam?… Read More Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai

Mukteeswarar, Theppakulam, Madurai


This Pancha bootha sthalam in Madurai is associated with the celestial elephant Airavata being relieved of the curse he received from Sage Durvasa. This Nayak period temple features beautiful architecture and iconographic depiction of various deities. But what is the interesting reason that this temple, and the adjacent Theppakulam Mariamman temple, do not have gopurams? … Read More Mukteeswarar, Theppakulam, Madurai

Then Tiruaalavaai Sokkanthar, Madurai, Madurai


This temple finds mention in Paranjothi Munivar’s Tiruvilaiyadal puranam, and is one of the pancha bootha sthalams in Madurai, and also one of the 4 inner garland (ull-avaranam) temples of the famous Meenakshi Amman temple. The child-saint Sambandar is believed to have sung the famous _Mandiramaavadhu Neeru_ (மந்திரமாவது நீறு) pathigam here, which provided relief to the king Koon Pandiyan (who later himself became a Nayanmar). But how did Madurai get the name Aalavaai, and how is that connected to this temple?… Read More Then Tiruaalavaai Sokkanthar, Madurai, Madurai

Aadi Chokkanathar, Simmakkal, Madurai


Regarded as older than the Meenakshi Amman temple, this Kubera-sthalam is said to have been established by Kubera. It is one of the 4 temples making up the Ull-Aavaranam (the inner jewels) to the Meenakshi Amman temple, and also one of the 5 Pancha Bootha Sthalams around Madurai. But how is the story of Kuchela Pandyan and the poet-saint Idaikkar Siddhar, connected to the overnight disappearance of the moolavar of the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple? Read here: … Read More Aadi Chokkanathar, Simmakkal, Madurai

Immayilum Nanmai Tharuvar, Madurai, Madurai


As against the norm of sins being pardoned only in subsequent births, this is a place where Siva forgives one’s sins in their current birth itself, and hence the name of the moolavar here. Surprisingly, Chandikeswarar is given equal prominence as Siva, as he is said to recommend devotees’ prayers to the Lord. One of the Pancha Bootha Sthalams in and around Madurai, this temple has a fascinating sthala puranam, which involves Siva worshipping Himself as a Siva Lingam that He installed! How is this possible?… Read More Immayilum Nanmai Tharuvar, Madurai, Madurai

Madanagopala Swami, Madurai, Madurai


At Siva’s coronation as the ruler of Madurai, the celestials in attendance found the heat and effulgence unbearable, and requested Vishnu for help. In turn, Vishnu took the form of the cowherd Gopala, and played the flute, mesmerising everyone present and cooling them down. Periyazhvar and his daughter Andal visited here, on their way from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam, for Andal’s marriage to Ranganathar there. The temple has some very unusual architectural aspects, as far as Perumal temples go. But in what infuriating way is this temple in Madurai connected to the Philadelphia Museum of Art?… Read More Madanagopala Swami, Madurai, Madurai

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai


Tucked away in a bylane near the Madurai Meenaksi Amman and Koodal Azhagar temples, is this fascinating temple run by Saurashtrans, dedicated to both Venkatesa Perumal and Navaneeta Krishnan. In addition to beautiful sculptures and architecture, the temple also has shrines for notable saints and others associated with it, as well as artefacts connected with Thyagaraja Swami of the Carnatic music trinity. But what is so unique about the Maatru Tirukkola Sevai that takes place during the temple’s annual festival in the Tamil month of Aadi? … Read More Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai

Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai


Brahma’s carelessness led to the demons Madhu & Kaitabha stealing the Vedas from him, which led to all creation coming to a sudden halt. Vishnu had to fight the demons to get back the Vedas. As penitence, Brahma performed penance here in human form, and so is depicted with only one head, instead of his usual four. But how is this temple connected to Srirangam, the Mughal invasion of the south, and the Vaishnavite saint-philosopher Pillai Lokacharyar?… Read More Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai

Edaganathar, Tiruvedagam, Madurai


Sambandar visited Madurai at the request of the queen of Madurai, when the king Koon Pandiyan started supporting Jainism, resulting in the decline of Saivism. This temple is best known for the interesting story of Sambandar overcoming the Jain monks in treating the king of his colic disease. But why did Sundarar prayed to Siva from a boat in the river, and not come to this temple itself? … Read More Edaganathar, Tiruvedagam, Madurai