There are some places that you wish you could visit again and again. For me, one such place is the magnificent Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple in Madurai.
Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple, is a Hindu temple located in the city of Madurai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and her consort Sundareshwarar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is considered to be one of the most important and ancient temples in South India and is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus.
The temple is known for its intricate architecture and sculptures. The temple complex is spread over an area of 14.5 acres and consists of 14 gopurams (towers), two golden sculptured vimanas (shrines) and a thousand pillared hall. The temple has four towered entrances known as “gopurams” and the tallest one called the “southern gopuram” is around 170ft tall.
The Meenakshi temple is also known for its rich history and legends. The temple finds a mention in the texts dating back to the 4th century A.D. But it is said that the temple was built later by the Pandya King Kulasekara in the 7th century AD, and that the original temple was destroyed by the Muslim invader Malik Kafur in the 14th century. The present temple was later rebuilt by the Nayak rulers in the 16th century.
Madurai temple has a consecrated pond named ‘Porthamarai Kulam.’ The term ‘Porthamarai Kulam’ means ‘pond with a golden lotus.’ The structure of a golden lotus is placed at the center of the pond.
The temple is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus, and is visited by thousands of devotees every year. Every photo of Meenakshi temple that we have seen always showcases its huge Gopurams. The Gopurams are colorful and intricate, and never fail to impress its visitors.
The temple also hosts several festivals and ceremonies throughout the year, including the annual Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival,which is celebrated in April/May and is one of the most important festivals in the temple.
Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is also considered as one of the 275 Paadal Petra
Sthalams, which are the 275 temples that are revered in the Tevaram canon of the Shaiva
saints of the 7th-9th century.
Any traveler to the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu should visit this beautiful temple and understand its historical and architectural significance. Madurai Meenakshi Temple is definitely an architectural wonder and a place to marvel at.