Madurai Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the southern banks of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar.
Meenakshi is an avatar of the Hindu goddess Parvati - the consort of Shiva. She is also one of the few Hindu female deities to have a major temple devoted to her. The name "Meenakshi" means fish eyed and is derived from the words "Meen" meaning fish and "akashi" meaning eyes. The lady goddess Meenakshi is the principal deity of the temple and not Sundareswarar - this is unlike most Shiva temples in South India where Shiva is the principal deity.
Meenakshi Amman Temple Madurai
Pandya rulers lavished their skill and resources on the architecture of Madurai temple. It is a twin temple dedicated to Sundareswarar and his consort Meenakshi. There are 11 gopurams, the most attractive of them being the one at the southern entrance rising to a height of 160 feet with a parabolic curve. Madurai is one of the 51 Shakti Peetams and the temple is the seat of Bhudha. The Golden Lotus Tank inside the temple is surrounded by spacious corridors, the walls of which are covered with paintings depicting the Lord's miracles.
The annual 10 days Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts 1 million visitors.
History of Madurai Meenakshi Temple
The shrine of Meenakshi at Madurai, popularly known as the Meenakshi Temple, was built during the reign of Chadayavarman Sundara Pandyan in the 12th century. The imposing 9-storey tower was built between the 13th and 16th century. During the 200-year reign of Nayakka rulers, many Mandapams (covered structure with pillars) were constructed in the temple premises, like the Hall of Thousand Pillars, Puthu Mandapam, Ashta Sakthi Mnadapam, Vandiyoor Theppakulam, and Nayakkar Mahal. The temple, as it stands today, was built between 12th and 18th century.
Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple Architecture
The temple is contained within a vast rectangle of high enclosure walls entered in the middle of each side through towering of gopuras. Within the enclosure is a complex of colonnades, columned mandapas, tanks, stores, shrines and at the core, the two temples of Shiva as Sundareshwara and Devi as Meenakshi.
The gopuras at Madurai are among the most elaborately adorned in southern India. They are exceptional for their elongated proportions and curved profiles which achieve a dramatic sweep upwards;that on the south reaches about 60 m (196 feet) high. As is usual with these structures the lower portions, consisting of a molded basement and pilaster-ed wall, are constructed of granite. The towers are of brick and plaster with openings and portico's at each level to admit light to the hollow chambers. They are completely covered with figures of divinities, celestial beings, monster masks, guardians and animal mounts which inhabit the diminishing stories of the towers Above are vaulted roofs with arched ends and rows of pot finials. All of these elements are encrusted with plaster decoration and painted in vivid colors(recently restored).
Visitors usually enter the temple through the porch of the eight goddesses (south of the east gateway), which projects beyond the enclosure wall. A door-way flanked by images of Ganesha and Subramanya leads into a columned mandapa used for shops, stores and stables. At the far end of this mandapa is a doorway surrounded by a brass frame covered with small oil-lamps. Another towered gateway located here is on an axis with the Meenakshi shrine further west.
Meenakshi Temple Golden Lotus Tank
Continuing westwards, towards the Meenakshi shrine, the Pottramarai Kulam is reached. This contains the rectangular Golden Lotus tank with stepped sides; a brass lamp-column stands in the middle. The walls of the surrounding colonnade are decorated with murals representing the 64 miracles which Shiva is said to have performed in and around Madurai. The long friezes are notable for their vividly drawn figures and distinctive brown and ochre coloring. The ceilings are painted with large medallions on the tank western side, the columns of the Kulika Mandapa are finely carved of Yalis and figures of the five Pandava brothers.
Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, Madurai
Thirumalai Naicker Mahal is famous tourist spot in Madurai. The 248 pillars in the Mahal are 18 feet circumference and 18 feet to 35 feet height. The pillars in the Mahal are plastered in Chettinadu style. The architecture in the Mahal are in the style of Naichyar days. The dome decorated with Makara fishes, lotus flower, fishes holding the bouquet are wonderful.
How to Reach Madurai?
Madurai by Train : Direct train services from Madurai to many cities in India are available. Many trains are running between Madurai and Chennai daily.
Madurai by Air : Madurai Airport is located about 10 km from the heart of the city. Taxi charges about INR 150 to cover this distance. Madurai is connected to Chennai by air. Chennai is the nearest international airport, which is connected to most of the Indian cities and international destinations.
Madurai by Bus : Many private operators are providing deluxe AC and non-AC luxury coach buses from Madurai to many cities in the South India, including Chennai, Trivandrum, Coimbatore, Trichy etc. Super fast buses of TSRTC runs between Madurai and Chennai.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple Plan View
Madurai Meenakshi Temple Photos
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