Meenakshi Temple, also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is a beautiful temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Meenakshi (a form of Parvati) and Sundareswar (a form of Shiva).
Considered as one of the major pilgrimage destinations within the Shaivism tradition, the temple comprises Lord Vishnu in many narratives, sculptures, and rituals as he is considered to be the brother of Devi Meenakshi. It also includes Lakshmi, flute playing Krishna, Rukmini, Brahma, Saraswati, other Vedic and Puranic deities, as well as artwork showing narratives from major Hindu texts. It is the most prominent landmark in Madurai and attracts tens of thousands of visitors a day.
Architectural Significance of the Temple:
The temple complex is spread in the area of 45 acres and comprises richly sculptured twelve superlative gopurams (towers). The main sanctum sanctorum is believed to be more than 3500 years old. The colossal structure of the temple has got the dimensions of 254 by 237 meters.
Aayiram Kaal Mandapam is a thousand pillared hall, which is prominent due to its class sculptures. The hall is truly a marvel of architecture and definitely worth visiting. 'Kalyana Mandapa' is the hall, where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is observed every year in the Hindu month of 'Chaitra' (April).
Some Interesting Facts About the Temple:
- Meenakshi Amman Temple has been nominated for the new Seven Wonders of the World.
- Hundreds and thousands of devotees come every year to pay their obeisance of the Lord.
- Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple is dedicated to Sundareswar ( form of Lord Shiva) and Meenakshi ( form of Goddess Parvati). The term "Sundareswar" suggests "the beautiful lord" and "Meenakshi" means "the fish-eyed goddess". As per the Hindu folklore, Madurai is the same city where Lord Sundareswar (Shiva) appeared to marry Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati).
- Meenakshi Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred places of Parvati, other being Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Akilandeswari at Thiruvanaikaval and Vishalakshi at Varanasi.
Know the top nearby attractions:
Koodal Azhagar Temple: Located in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Madurai, it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Featuring a Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Koodal Azhagar and his consort Lakshmi as Mathuravalli.
Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal: One can witness a classic fusion of Dravidian and Rajput styles in this palace. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. This Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South. This palace is 2 km far from the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Aayiram Kaal Mandapam: This place is an excellent masterpiece of the Pandian era, which is built out of a single rock. Located inside the Meenakshi Amman temple, this hall houses 1000 pillars, displaying the articles of ancient times. The carvings and statues on each of the pillars are unique and fabulous. This is an example of the marvel of Indian architecture.
How to reach:
One can easily reach Meenakshi Temple by taking local buses, Rickshaws or by hiring taxis from Madurai.