Meenakshi Temple 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.
This 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
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
The '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 museum.
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 show.
Madurai is famous for its Meenakshi Amman Temple. Know more about Meenakshi Temple Madurai.
|Location||Heart of Madurai|
|Dedicated To||Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer|