Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi temple culminates the glory of South Indian temple architecture illustrating a fantastic spectacle of history. It extends its boundaries in an area of a whopping 65000 sq. m. for which people nicknamed it 'a City of its own'. The beautiful location on the bank of Vaigai River multiplies its beauty. Different rulers especially Thirumalai Naicker, lent their contribution in erecting this temple complex 2000 years ago. Its high-rise boundaries wrap 4 nine-tier Gopurams, 1 seven-tier Chittirai gopuram, 5 Five-Tier Gopurams, 2 Three Tier Gopurams and 2 Golden Gopurams.

It is named after and dedicated to goddess Meenakshi (an incarnation of goddess Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). The structure is accorded of high mythological significance which is often shrouded by its architectural brilliance.

As per legends, a King named Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai were performing yajna, from which Meenakshi miraculously manifested as a 3-year-old girl. The childless royal couple showed concern over the abnormal triple-breasted girl. An unknown voice told them not to worry about the condition and it will disappear when she meets her future husband. The king then accepted the girl and declared her as his successor. Meenakshi grew up as a successful ruler and ruled Madurai along with neighboring kingdoms. Until one day, when she met Lord Shiva on her expedition to capture his abode Kailash. When she met Shiva, her third breast disappeared and realized that he was her future husband. The wedding took place in this temple and is celebrated every year as a grand festival of ‘Chithirai Thiruvizha’ which is also known as ‘Tirukalyanam’.

The temple is the centre of admiration of Madurai and attracts historians, art and architecture lovers from far and wide. Meenakshi goddess is the principal deity unlike most of the temples in South India primarily dedicated to Lord shiva. The layout is done in concentric squares with streets extending from the main temple. You will see numerous shrines and mandapas of which the largest ones are of Meenakshi and Sundareshwar. It also houses a golden lotus sacred pool in which pilgrims take holy bath. The huge structure is a mind-blowing marvel from history.

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