Madurai under Muslim Rule

Madurai came under Muslim Rule in the 14th century. Alauddin Khilji had sent his General, Malik Kafur to conquer Madurai in 1311 for the jewels, gems and precious stones that the city boasted of. Since the Pandya ruler of Madurai did not have a strong army, the city easily fell to the army of Malik Kafur. Madurai had been subsequently ruled by many other Muslim rulers and it also became a part of the Delhi Empire in 1323.

During Kafur’s reign over Madurai, a very significant incident happened. Alauddin Khilji had instructed Kafur to destroy the famous Madurai temple. Kafur had sent a soldier, named Thiruvegambarayan, to inspect the temple. Thiruvegambarayan noticed 8 elephant statues in front of the garpagriha. He learnt that these stone statues were offered sugarcane by Lord Shiva, who had come disguised as Siththar. Surprised by this phenomenon, Thiruvegambarayan informed Kafur who himself came to the temple. Kafur offered sugarcane to the statues and to everyone’s surprise the stone elephants stretched their trunks and accepted the sugarcanes. This incident forced him to believe that God truly resided there and immediately ordered his soldiers to stop demolition of the temple. When they searched for the saint who had told this phenomenon to Thiruvegambarayan, he was not found. It is believed that Lord Shiva had come down to save the temple.

Last Updated on 9/15/2011