Mountains in Madurai
Madurai is surrounded by various mountains called Yaanai
Malai, Naga Malai and Pasu Malai.
Yaanai malai is situated at a distance of 9 Kms east of Madurai. Since it appears as if an elephant is lying with its legs stretched, the mountain has been named so. It seems that a large number of elephants have lived in this forest area which is located around Kadambavanam, two thousand years back. So this mountain is called as "Yaanai Malai".
Our historical legends say that Samanars lived in this forest. Caves were built in these mountains for their shelter. During the period when Samanars dominated the scene in Tamil Nadu, Jain Saints lived in the places around Madurai. These Jain Saints have lived in eight mountains.Among them, the important mountains are Yaanai Malai, Naga Malai and Sunanga Malai.
"Brahmi" Scripts are inscribed in the caves
of Yaanai Malai.Archeologist say that these scripts are two thousand years
There is a belief that Samanars sent elephants,snakes and pigs to assault Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva cursed them to become stones. According to "Thiruvilayaadal Puranam" when elephant was used as a weapon to attack Lord Shiva, he killed it with a bow called "Narasinga" (Narasinga Ambu). Vaishnavites captured Yaanai Malai from Samanars and made them quit Yaanai Malai.