Goddess Meenakshi is an incarnation of Parvati
. In Sanskrit
, Meenakshi means ‘one who has eyes resembling a fish’. She has been portrayed as holding a parrot and bouquet in her right hand. Goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity in the famous Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
Legends describe Goddess Meenakshi as the daughter of Malayadwaja Pandya; it adds that the king performed a Puthra Kameshti Yagna to please the gods to bless him with an heir for the throne and as a result, Meenakshi, as a three-year-old, emerged from the Yagna fire. As Vidyavathi in her previous birth, Kanchanamala, Malayadwaja Pandya’s wife, had received a boon from Parvati that she would one day be brought up as Kanchanamala’s daughter. The Goddess fulfilled her wish by growing up as Vidyavathi's daughter.
Meenakshi was born with a deformity - she had three breasts. A divine voice informed that the deformity would disappear as soon as she met her spouse. She grew into a beautiful princess and a dexterous warrior. Setting out on a 'digvijayam (career of conquest)', she defeated her adversaries and after a string of victories, headed towards the Himalayas. She met Lord Shiva at Kailash on the battlefield and as the divine voice assured earlier, her third breast disappeared. Meenakshi got married to Lord Sundareswara (Shiva) and both of them settled as Meenakshi and Sundareswarar in their abode, which is now glorified as the Madurai temple.