Mayuranathaswami temple is often referred to as ‘the big temple’ of Mayiladuthurai. Mayuranathaswami, literally husband of Mayuram, is the presiding deity of the temple. Legend says that Parvati fell out of favor with Lord Shiva and because of his ensuing anger, Shiva cursed Parvati to be born as a peahen.
Mayura, an incarnation of Parvati worshipped and appeased Lord Shiva at Mayiladuthurai at the site of the temple. The idol in the temple is depicted as worshipping the Lingam telling the story of Mayiladuthurai for all to see. The oldest inscriptions on the temple walls date back to the time of the Kulothunga Chola.
The temple renovated after its initial construction stands to this day as a testimony to the architectural genius of the Cholas. Mayura Natyanjali, an annual dance festival conducted in the premises of the temple dedicated to Lord Natarajan, is a crowd pleaser.
The festival is organized by the Saptasvarangal trust during Maha Shivarathri along the lines of the Chidambaram Natyanjali festival. Visitors partake in a visual treat of classical dance forms performed on ancient land.