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Purusha Mriga - Half Human - Half Animal Sculpture In Hindu Temples

Purusha Mriga are part of South Indian temple tradition. Purusha Mirugam are half human and half animal. Images of men and women with the feet of a lion, tiger, or deer adorn the walls of many temples of Shiva and Vishnu in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Kerala. It is believed that Purushamriga were devotees of Shiva. They cannot be seen by normal human beings but only by true devotees of Shiva.

Purushamriga serves as mounts, who carry the idols of gods and goddesses in grand procession during festivals.

Purusha Mriga - Half Human - Half Animal Sculpture In Hindu Temples

According to a Tamil folk story, Yudhisthira needed a purusha mriga to bless the Rajasuya ceremony. The ceremony would establish Indraprastha as a kingdom in its own right and ensure that the participating rulers accepted the sovereignty of Yudhishthira. He asked his brothers to go to neighboring kingdoms to find a purushamriga. Bhima is able to sight one in the garden of Kubera.

Bhima is tested by the Purusha Mriga but he succeeds in it with the help of Hanuman and Yudhisthira. 

The Purusha Mriga helps the Pandavas in the successful completion of Rajasuya ceremony and he later goes and settles down in the Chidambaram Temple.