Sri Thenthiruvalavai Swamy Temple

This is one of the 5 pancha bootha sthalams in Madurai; this temple is associated with Agni.


This temple should date back to the 6th or 7th century (since Sambandar has sung here); the structural temple is from early Pandya times. Subsequent additions have been made, mostly by the later Pandyas.


This temple is located a few streets to the south of the Meenakshi Amman temple, and Aalavaai is the ancient name of Madurai, so Siva here is also called Then Tiruaalavaaiyaar, the Lord of South Aalavaai. Yama, also the guardian of the southern direction, is believed to have worshipped here.

The temple also finds mention in Paranjothi Munivar’s Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam, and one could even say that this is the origin of Madurai as Aalavaai. According to the puranam, the borders of the city were wiped out due to floods. The Pandya king of the time prayed to Siva for relief, and the Lord threw a large snake (aala in ancient Tamil) to help build Madurai back to its earlier form. The snake encircled the town, and its mouth (vaai) and tail met here, and so the place came to be called Aala-vaai (mouth of the snake).


It is believed that worshipping Siva here cures one of all diseases. It is also believed that circumambulating the sthala vriksham here 108 times and then worshipping Siva at this temple removes the fear of death. This worship is called Ashwata Pradakshinam. Those desiring longevity worship here, and the temple is given the same importance here as the Tirukadaiyur Amritakadeswarar temple.

The sculptures here are incredible. The Nandi in front of the moolavar is exquisitely crafted, as are several of the other Koshta deities.

My Madurai

Sri Thenthiruvalavai Temple