Malik Kafur

Alauddin Khilji, who was the successful ruler in North India wanted to occupy Tamil Nadu. So he sent his Army Chief Malik Kafur to Madurai. He attacked Madurai in the year 1310. He easily won the battle as the then Pandiyan king Veerapandiyan lacked a powerful army. He also planned to destroy the Madurai temple after capturing the fort.   

One of Malik Kafur's soldiers by name "Thiruvegambarayan" came to see the temple. He noticed eight elephant statues around the main Garpagraha. He asked a saint who was sitting in the "Siththar Sannidhi" about those elephants.The saint told him about the "Thiruvilayadals" of  Lord Shiva.Once Lord Shiva came as "Siththar" and gave those elephants sugarcane. He asked the saint whether it will happen even today.  

 "Thiruvegambarayan" who felt surprised informed Malik Kafur about the elephant statues. Malik Kafur came to the temple to see those  statues. Malik Kafur was given sugarcane by the saint to feed the elephants. To everyone's surprise the stone elephant stretched its trunk and ate the sugarcane. Malik Kafur was astonished. He said," Truly, god is present here only". He also ordered his soldiers to stop destructing the temple.  

The temple was thus saved from demolition. When they attempted  to know about the saint, he was not there.It was Lord Shiva who incarnated as the saint to rescue the temple.