Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundaraswarar Temple, Madurai

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Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundaraswarar Temple, Madurai

Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Meenakshi Temple or Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, is a temple complex in Madurai, Tamil Nadu state, India. It is believed to have been constructed during the 16th and 17th centuries, while its initial construction dates to the fourth century CE. Hindu mythology states that the god Shiva traveled to Madurai in the person of Sundareswarar to wed Meenakshi, the Pandya king's daughter, who was a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. They have a temple at Meenakshi Amman devoted to their union.

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High walls surrounding the enormous temple are accessed through towering gopuras, or gateways. A sacred tank, smaller shrines, colonnades, columned mandapas (halls), lesser shrines, and, at the center, the two main shrines to Sundareswarar and Meenakshi can be found inside. Some of India's most ornately decorated structures are the gopuras. They are entirely covered with brightly painted representations of deities, heavenly creatures, monster masks, guardians, and animal mounts. The southern gopura, the tallest of the 14 structures, stands more than 170 feet (52 m) tall.

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The stunning Aiyaram Kal Mandapa (Thousand-Pillar Hall), which is part of the temple complex, is filled with divine beings, female musicians, and attendant figures on 985 of its columns. A colonnade that surrounds the Pottamarai Kulam (Golden Lotus Pond), a sizable pool where worshippers can bathe in holy water, is covered with murals showing the wonders Shiva did in Madurai. The entrance to the Meenakshi shrine is located in the west wall. This has a bedchamber where the image of Sundareswarar is carried every night from its own shrine, as well as its own enclosure with a number of minor shrines.

A live temple exists here. Every week, Meenakshi and Sundareswarar's golden figures are sat on a swing while hymns are sung in honor of them. At the annual Teppa festival, their images are mounted on floats and moved back and forth over the Pottamarai Kulam.

History of Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is a historically significant temple that also bestows blessings from the Lord and Goddess upon its followers. Kulasekarer Pandya constructed the Meenakshi Temple during the Pandya era. Historical evidence suggests that this temple dates to the first century A.D. This temple is mentioned in the lyrics of the revered Hindu saint Thirugnanasambandar, who lived in the seventh century. Additionally, it is claimed that this temple was partially demolished in the 12th or 13th centuries, following the Islamic conquest. Later on, though, it was rebuilt into the form it is in now. Later, during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak (1623–55 AD), it was enlarged. The temple's current building was created at this time.

This temple is mentioned in a lot of legends. According to legend, Pandyan King Malayadwaja and his consort Queen Kanchanamalai's fervent devotion and prayers caused the principal deity of this temple, Meenakshi Devi, to emerge from the pious fire. The ruling couple wanted to get blessing in the form of a child because they were childless, so they performed a yagam. Goddess Parvati then appeared as a young girl of three years old and took the shape of Goddess Meenakshi. The girl was then named the king's heir apparent. 

According to tradition, the revered Suyambulingam in Kadamba Vanam was found by Lord Indira, who is regarded as the Kings of Gods and resides in heaven. He had brought the Lord Shiva lingam to Madurai, where the temple is located, after discovering it. Devotees can view the Lord atop Indira's car at this temple, which in a way confirms the mythology.

Architecture of Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwara Temple, Madurai

Every dynasty that has come and gone has contributed something architectural to this shrine. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is spread across a huge area and has five separate entrances. There are fourteen imposing towers on this temple. There are five of these enormous Rajagopuram towers that have nine levels, while one of them has only seven. Five different five-tier gopurams are present. There are two three-tier gopurams and two golden gopurams in addition to these. The excellent sculpting and detailed embellishments on each of the gopurams add to the grandeur of the Meenakshi temple.

One of the temple's most appealing features is the Ashta Shakti Mandapam. According to legend, Thirumalai Nayakar's women constructed the mandapam hall, which is used to provide food to worshippers. The legends from Lord Shiva's and Goddess Meenakshi's lives are engraved into the walls and pillars of the themandapam. According to legend, Lord Indira's puja took place in the temple's Golden Lotus Tank, where a golden lotus is said to have sprouted.

Additionally, this temple features a museum. Since 1966, a museum has been operating in the grand hall of the temple with its thousand pillars. It contains a sizable collection of important creative and cultural works. It is a spot where you should spend some time enjoying the elegance and beauty of the work that has been done here. Various rare pictures, ancient idols made of five metals, antique coins, carved tusks, antique artefacts related to Shaiva and Vaishnava religion, etc. are only a few of the items on show in this grand hall with a thousand pillars.

It also features a number of paintings that through time became damaged, but have been restored with the aid of various natural dyes. These captivating temple murals from the Naick era show a variety of Lord Shiva's marvels. Additionally, there are murals on the temple's northern wall that face Pottamarai kulam of the tank of the golden lotus. Additionally, there are paintings depicting Earth and heaven, Tamil Nadu's Panchaga Sabhas, songs by Nakkeerar, and other subjects.

The inscriptions carved into the stone at Meenakshi Temple are another stunning aspect. The walls of the Sundareswarar and Meenakshi Amma sanctuaries have these stone inscriptions. These inscriptions contain information about how to execute prayers, rituals, religious history, and ancient society.

The temple's entire construction is a marvel of stunning craftsmanship. Every visitor to this temple is mesmerized by the temple's imposing grandeur, as well as the captivating sculptures, paintings, and sketches, and the serene religiosity within. Every Madurai Tour is enhanced by a trip to this shrine.

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