Meenakshi Amman Temple – Religious Significance
A distinct feature of Meenakshi in terms of iconography is the presence of parrot in her right hand. The parrot is generally associated with the Vaishnava azhwar saint Andal. "Pancha Sabhai" refers to the five royal courts of Nataraja (dancing form of Shiva) where he performed cosmic dance.
The Tamil word velli means silver and ambalam means stage or altar. This massive Nataraja sculpture is enclosed in a huge silver altar and hence called "Velli Ambalam" (silver abode). This is a special figure of Nataraja which usually differs from Chola bronzes; in the Chola images, Nataraja is shown dancing with his left leg raised, but this sculpture has the right leg raised.
According to the Thiruvilayadal Puranam (Shiva's sacred games), this is on the request of Rajasekhara Pandya, who was a sincere devotee of Shiva. He requested the deity to change his position, as he felt that keeping the same foot raised would put enormous strain and got a graceful acquiescence from the divine master.