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Māyā (माया), or Māyāsura (मायासुर) was a great ancient king of the Asura, Daitya and Rakshasa races upon earth in Hindu mythology. He was also the chief architect of the people of the netherworld.


Maya was the designer and king of the three flying cities, known as the Tripura. They were great cities of prosperity, power and dominance over the world, but due to their impious nature, Maya's cities were torched out of the sky by Lord Shiva. However, Maya escapes the destruction, as he is a devotee of Lord Shiva.

In the Ramāyana, he built his capital and called it Maya Rashtra, now Meerut. Maya is the father of Mandodari, the beautiful wife of Ravana. Maya is also regarded as a hero and father-figure for many rakshasa, asura, and daitya heroes in Hindu epics.

According to Mahābhārata, Maya offers his services to Krishna and Arjuna when they spared his life during the destruction of the Khandava forest. Krishna instructs Maya to construct a fabulous palace hall for Arjuna's elder brother, king Yudhisthira, at Indraprastha. It became Mayasabha, a renowned, beautiful and the largest of its kind. It had many specialties such as highly reflective floors that were easily mistaken as the surface of a pool of still water. There was also at least one pool of water, the surface of which mimicked a decorated floor, into which Duryodhana fell, and was subsequently taunted and humiliated by Draupadi.