Meenakshi is amongst the most important temples in India. It is located in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Sundareshwar) and his consort Parvati (Meenakshi). The term “Sundareswar” suggests “the beautiful lord” and “Meenakshi” means “the fish-eyed goddess”. Thousands of pilgrims flock to the temple to pay their obeisance to the Lord. It was nominated for the new ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. The temple remains opens from 5 am – 12:30 pm and 4 – 9: 30 pm. It is closed for the non-Hindus.
History of Meenakshi Temple :
Meenkshi is one of the oldest temple in the south India and its history dates back to the 2000 years. It was designed in 1550 by Vishwanatha Nayak and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak in the sixteenth and eighteenth century, but certain parts of its are much older. According to the legends
Architecture of Meenakshi Temple :
Meenakshi temple is the superb example of the Dravidian style of the architecture. There are 33 million carvings in the temple. The temple has no less than 12 large gopuras or gates, set into the outer walls, the four largest reach the height of around 46m and are visible for miles, outside the city. Each is covered with the gaily painted stucco gods and demons. The largest one is the southern tower with a height of 170 feet, the westward tower is 154 feet high and the north tower is 152 feet. All these gopurams are beautifully sculptured.
The temple complex is embraced by the Ashta Shakti Mandapa where one can see number of sculptured pillars depicting the different aspects of goddess Shakti and Shiva’s sixty four miracles at Madurai. Check out the Pottamarai Kulam, where Indra bathed before worshiping the shivlangam. Go through the Meenkshi shrine, also known as Amman Koyil , which is closed for the non Hindus. Than there is Rani Mangammal Mandapa that has a detailed eighteenth century ceiling painting of the marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareshwar, surrounded by lions and elephants against the blue background.