Halasya Mahatmya in Sanskrit and
Thiruvilayadal in Tarnil deal elaborately with the sanctity of this place inhabited by gods
and goddesses from the Vedic period onwards. In the pouranic age it was a primeval forest, outgrown with
Kadamba trees and was the habitat of the Goddess Parvathi, so was adored as Kadamba Vana Vasini.
The Pandyan Kings who ruled this region were valorous and brought under their banner the entire
Dakshinapatha. During the reign of Kulasekhara Pandya, a merchant by name Dhanunjai on his way back
home found Indra worshipping a Swayambhu Sivalinga at the spot of the present temple ; and when
reported to the king, he decided to locate it.
And on the very same night, he was advised by Lord
Siva himself to build a temple there for worship. With implicit faith and
unbounded devotion he started his quest for the Swayambhu linga and found it at last.
And he saw there a serpent near Sivalinga too. Deeming it the correct location, he
installed the Sivalinga on the spot, where the tail and the mouth of the serpent joined after crawling over a
long area. The temple that was built then, occupied the entire area of the serpent moved, while the
king observed. It was so planned and laid out that it resembles a lotus flower in design with the temple in
the centre. Besides, he named the town that came up around the temple, Madhura or Madurai, due to
the fact of drops of the nectar falling from Maheswar's matter hair, while advising to build the temple in