Meenakshi Temple Madurai travel information
Temple in Madurai is the most exquisite example of the Dravidian architecture.
It is a master piece and was the center of activity for the promotion
of art and culture in Madurai. It is the main attraction of the city and
pilgrims come to the place in the search of spirituality and peace. The
temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer. Meenakshi
Amman Temple is located centrally in Madurai and the lotus-shaped city
surrounds it completely. It claims the distinction of being the largest
and the oldest temple in Madurai.
Meenakshi temple was
originally built by Kulasekarer Pandya. But the credit for the present
look of the temple goes to the Nayakas, who ruled Madurai from 16th to
18th century. The temple has huge Gopurams which can be seen from a far
off distance. There are total twelve gopurams, but the tallest four stand
on the outer walls, each facing one direction. Amongst the four gateways,
the south one is the tallest. It is about 50 m high and can be climbed
to have a view of the entire city.
gateway contains the twin temples of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer.
These temples are again separately surrounded by four smaller gopurams.
Meenakshi Amman Temple can be entered from any of its five entrances.
The eastern entrance is usually preferred, as it opens in front of the
Meenakshi Sannadhi (shrine), the reigning deity of the twin-temple. This
is the only entrance which does not have a towering gopuram.
Ashta Shakti Mandapam
(mandapam hall) is the first attraction on this side of the temple. It
was built by Thirumalai Nayakar's wives. This hall was once used to distribute
food to the devotees who came from far off places. The pillars in the
hall are carved with Lord Siva's Tiruvilayadals (miracles) and the life
story of Meenakshi, as the princess of Madurai. There are a number of
other halls and towers in the temple which are worth watching for their
sculptures, carvings and designs. Each one is different from the other,
in one aspect or the other.
'Mandapam' of the temple consists of 985 pillars. Each pillar is unique.
Some of the pillars are music pillars, which produce music when tapped.
The special feature of these pillars is that they are carved out of a
single granite stone block. The temple also has an art museum. It contains
icons, drawings and photographs which date back to the 1200 - year - old
history of Indian temple architecture in the south. A lot of information
can be extracted on the Hindu pantheon and related legends from this splendid
Various kings renovated
the temple, leaving a distinct impression of their artistic taste. A number
of complex corridors, magnificent sculptures and a heavenly abode suitable
for Goddess Meenakshi, include the additions to the temple that were done
by different kings. Her image is said to be carved out of a single emerald.
According to mythology, the marriage of Meenakshi and Shiva actually took
place in Madurai. It is still celebrated every year with great pomp and
Temples of Tamil Nadu
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