(Last Updated on : 22/01/2009)
The Tiru Aalavaai temple is one of the greatest Shiva temples in India. It is vast and has many sculptures, halls, pillars and lofty towers. It is the site of the 64 Tiruvilayadalgal of Shiva (Tiruvilayadal puranam and Halasyamahatmiyam) and is one of the 5 Pancha Sabhais of Nataraja - Rajata (Velli )Sabhai - where Shiva dances with a raised a foot.
History: The original temple was razed to the ground by invaders and the current structure was built by the Nayak Rulers.
Shiva is said to have been worshipped by Indra in the Kadambavana forest and hence Sundareswarar's vimanam is known as Indra Vimanam. Legend has it that Meenakshi (Parvati) the daughter of Malayadwaja Pandyan married Shiva here. Together, Shiva (Soundara Pandyan) and Meenakshi are said to have ruled over Madurai. There are several such legends surrounding this temple.
: For Chittirai Tiruvizha (Apr 15-May 15) the city takes on a festive look; colorful processions; the divine marriage and the coronation are reenacted. The float festival is of great importance