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The history of Madurai dates back to Puranic days.
Indiran, the king of the devas had once violated the norms of of battle and had no peace of mind. He came down to earth and when passing by a forest of Kadamba trees in Pandyanadu, he suddenly felt, cleansed of his sin. When his men saw what was there, they found there was a Shivalingam beside a lake and beneath a kadamba tree. Convinced that it was Shiva himself who had cleansed him of his sin, he paid homage to this lingam and also built a vimanam over it. This is believed to be the same lingam, now enshrined in the Meenakshi temple.
Lord Shiva is said to have appeared in the dream of the Pandyan king Kulasekaran and directed him to build a temple and a city around this lingam, which he did.
This was the origin of the Madurai Temple and city, and although Pandyan actually built them, in the ultimate analysis Lord Shiva himself is believed to have been the chief achitect.
Kulasekharan’s son Malayathuvasan and his wife Kanchanamalai performed many yagas to be blessed with a child. Kanchanamalai was an ardent devotee of Goddess Parvathi in her previous birth and had prayed for the goddess to be born her daughter in her next birth. This promise was kept up and when the yaga was performed, a three year old girl came out of the holy fire and sat on Kanchanamalai’s lap.
Malayathuvasan was disappointed, first, because he was not blessed with a son and also because the girl had three breasts ! But God’s voice (asariri) said
“Name this girl as Thadathagai and bring her up like a boy. On the day she meets the man who will become her husband, the third breast will disappear.
Thus, the girl was brought up as a Pandya princess in a befitting way. Her father named her his successor and performed her coronation when the right time came. She was bold and embarked on a series of wars inflicting devastating defeats on all her foes.
Emboldened by these victories, she marched on Mount Kailash, the sacred abode of Lord Shiva. Nandi released his Bhuthaganams, but they were defeated by Thadathagai. So, finally Lord Shiva himself rode to the battle scene in his full glory. There his eyes beheld the form of his divine consort-to-be. The moment Thadathagai set her eyes on the Lord, her third breast disappeared ! Her face lightened up and now everyone knew, He was her match. The Lord bade Thadathagai to return to her capital where He promised that He would come and marry her on the eighth day. The divine marriage was celebrated in Madurai city with all pomp and pageantry.
Even today one can see the famous sculpture of Meenakshi Thirukalyanam in Kambathadi Mandapam. We see the majestic form of Shiva and the shy, smiling form of Goddedd Meenakshi.
The attachment carries the photo of Meenakshi Thirukalyanam.