Thiru Alavai

Thiru Alavai, Madurai (Meenakshiamman, Chokkanadar Temple)

Padal Petra Sthalam, Madurai District


Chockanadhar, facing east. Other names include Chockalinga Nadhar, Somasundarar, Aalavai Annal


Meenakshiammai, facing east. Other names include Angayarkanni

Other Deities

Mukkurini Vinayagar, Sankara Narayana, Somaskandar, Arthanareeswarar, Thirugnanasambandar, Agni Veerabadhra, Agora Veerabadhra, Kali, 63 Nayanmars, Kalaimagal, Kasi Viswanathar, Pitchadanar, Durga, Nataraja

A landmark and tourist destination of India, this vast temple complex of Thiru Alavai has four huge 9 tiered Rajagopurams on all the four directions, all of similar size, a Thousand Pillared Mandapam and a beautiful Porthamarai Kulam inside.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Porthamaraikulam

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Kadambu (Neolamarckia cadamba)


Ancient Tamil literature speaks of Thiru Alavai temple over the last two millennia. Thirugnanasambandar (7th century CE) has sung Thevaram hymns for this lord. Thiru Alavai is believed to have been sacked by the infamous Muslim invader Malik Kafur in 1310 and all the ancient elements destroyed. The initiative to rebuild the structure was taken by first Nayak king of Madurai, Viswanatha Nayak (1559–1600) under the supervision of Ariyanatha Mudaliar, the prime minister of the Nayak Dynasty and the founder of the Poligar System.The original design by Vishwanatha Nayak in 1560 was substantially expanded to the current structure during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak (1623–55). His major contributions are the Vasantha Mandapam for celebrating Vasanthotsavam (spring festival) and Kilikoondu Mandapam (corridor of parrots). The corridors of the temple tank and Meenatchi Nayakar Mandapam were built by Rani Mangammal. The common people of Madurai are said to have contributed through taxes in the form of a handful of rice a day to feed the masons building the Thiru Alavai temple, thus every family here has a direct attachment to Thiru Alavai temple.


Lord Shiva is believed to have married Goddess Parvati here at Thiru Alavai and the annual re-enaction of this event is famous, attracting large crowds from all over. The stories related to Thiru Alavai are far too many.


Thiru Alavai is in the Center of Madurai City. This wonder can be seen from everywhere and everyone knows the way to Thiru Alavai.

Stay and Food

Madurai is well known for its excellent food and the list of restaurants can fill a book. The city has lodging starting from the budget ones to 5 star hotels.

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