The Golden Horse in a dark hall of the Meenakshi temple.
The legend says that Lord Vishnu as Azhagar(Kalalagar) actually the brother of Meenakshi, arrived in Madurai trying to cross the Vaigai river riding on a golden horse, going to the wedding of Meenakshi with Sundareshwar but he was one day too late, so he returned.
Madurai is also known as the festival city. All the usual festivals are celebrated, yet the Chithirai festival that is held in April/May (for 3 days), is very important when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar is celebrated, drawing a huge crowd of people from all over the state.
More of the Legend.
Goddess Parvathi was reborn as Meenakshi (eyes like a fish). Malayadhwaja Pandyan & his wife Kanchanamala performed the Puthrakameshthiyaga, praying for a child. Meenakshi was born with three breasts from the sacrificial fire. The king was upset, but was pacified by a divine voice that the third breast would vanish, when Meenakshi met the man she was to marry. They named her Thadaathakai and she grew up to be a daring queen, gaining victory in all her conquests. During her conquests, she met Lord Siva in Kailasam, and instantly her third breast vanished. Lord Siva bade her to return to Madurai, with the promise that he would marry her in 8 days. Lord Siva appeared as Sundareswarar to wed Meenakshi who was given away in marraige by her brother Lord Vishnu. This scene is seen depicted in the temple. Meenakshi & Sundareswarar ruled Madurai before returning to Kailasam.
A lotus shaped city is said to have been built by the Pandyan king Kulasekhara around the siva linga worshipped by Indra in the forest of Kadamba trees. When Lord Siva came to bless them, nectar dripped from his matted locks & hence the city was named Madhurapuri (madhu - honey), is now known as Madurai.
Twenty years ago I was not allowed to take a shot of this statue.
In the mean it has been restaurated with donnations of gold.
Is it coincedence that we find a golden calf in the bible ?