Madurai Veeran (also known as Muthu Kumaran; lit. Warrior of Madurai) is a Tamil folk deity popular in southern Tamil Nadu, India. His name was derived as a result of his association with the City of Madurai as a Protector of the City. His worship is also popular amongst the Tamil diaspora.
Madurai Veeran, an Arunthathiyar by birth, is known for his valour. The king of Madurai, Thirumalai Nayak, acknowledged his skills and appointed him general in his fight against the Kallar caste.
The folklore is that Madurai was troubled by Kallar bandits and the Nayak ordered Veeran to resist. Veeran then met Vellaiyammal, a royal danseuse, who was attracted to him because of his looks and skill in various arts. She asked him to teach her the Natya Shastra (tenets of dancing).
Nayak, who was himself attracted to Vellaiyammal, did not appreciate this development and viewed this as an affair. Some of his generals, who hated the closeness of Veeran to the king, used the opportunity to inform Nayak that the delay in suppressing the robbers was deliberate as Veeran was conniving with the robbers themselves. Furious, Nayak ordered a traitor's death for Veeran, who was taken to the gallows and had his alternate limbs are chopped off. Hearing of this, Bommi and Vellaiyammal attend the gallows to see the severed limbs and chastise Nayak for his injustice.
The legend says that Veeran is brought back to life by the virtues of both these women and is vindicated by the presence of gods. Veeran, thereafter retires to a cave beneath what is now Meenakshiamman Temple.
A shrine was later erected at the south gate of Meenakshiamman Temple by Nayak. The story persists through the singing of songs and street theatre.