Madurai Meenakshi Temple
Madurai Meenakshi Temple - Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is located in the holy city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (in the form of Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and his consort, Goddess Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi ). The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted.
The Meenakshi temple complex at Madurai is a city temple. It has eminent and exquisitely carved towers enveloping the temple, dedicated to Goddess Meenakashi in Madurai. Considered as the south gateway, the Meenakshi temple consists of the twin temples of God Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi, each one as high as about nine storeys.
The exact time of temple's origin is not confirmed but the structures that are standing today date mostly from the 12th to the 18th century. The present temple standing today was built in the 17th century A.D. by th Nayak rulers. The temple is superb example of sculpture and magnificent architecture.The Meenakshi temple has majestic stonewalls and towers rising out of the swarming streets of the city center. The image of Goddess Meenakshi is said to be carved out of a single emerald. This exotic temple was renovated by various kings, adding coiled corridors and larger-than-life sculptures. According to the legend of this temple the marriage of the goddess Meenakshi to Shiva actually took place in Madurai and is still celebrated every summer with great enthusiasm and gaiety.
Legend - According to legend, the sacred Suyambulingam discovered by the king of Gods indira at Kadambavanam, was later enshrined by him in Madurai. The fact that the Lord is seen on the vehicle of Indira in this temple is said to be proof for this.Many historical evidences of the temple have been found dating back from early A.DThe temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malikkapur. As kings who were followers of Islam were noted for their intolerance towards other religions, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple.Thirugnanasambandar the Hindu Saint has mentioned the temple in his songs which go back to early 7th century. The Lord has been described as Alavai Iraivan in his songs.
The temple was restored to its pristine glory in the late 14th century when the Hindu Kings came back to power in Madurai. This can also be termed as a new beginning of a new era in the history of the temple, when it was almost rebuilt.The King Thirumalai Naicker played an important role in the construction of the new form of the temple according to records.The Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is now under the administration of the HR and CE department of Tamil Nadu . Location - East Chitrai Street, Venmani Road, Sellur, Madurai – Temple Timings: 5:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM