Vrat-Festivals | Temples
See more details at http://www.madurai.com/meena.htm
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Meenaakshee Temple is locate in Madurai, Tamil Naadu state of India. Madurai City is also known as the Temple City of South India. It is the second largest city in Tamil Naadu and is situated on the banks of the river Vaigi. This city is tantamount with the Meenakshee Sundareshwar twin Temple. This gigantic temple complex is dedicated to Shiv, known here as Sundareshwar and his consort Paarvatee who is known here as Meenaakshee. This temple is the focal point around which the city of Madurai has developed over 2500 years.
The sprawling Temple complex is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country and is almost like a city unto itself. It covers an area of over 65,000 square meters. Even though the Temple was originally built by the Pandya King, Kulasekaran, the temple has grown due to the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs. The Temple, as we see it today was built by Tiurmalai Nayakar who ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century.
The Temple itself is set within a high-walled enclosure at the center of which are the two shrines - one for Meenaakshee and another for Sundareshwar. There are four massive gateways enclosing these two shrines which are surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and majestic pillared halls. The complex also contains 14 impressive Gopuram (gateway towers) which range from 720-800 feet (45-50 meters) in height. The towers have solid granite bases and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in bright colors. There is not a single visitor who is not overwhelmed by the vast number of paintings and sculptures. About 33,000 sculptures can be found in the temple complex.
The temple is one of utmost importance for the Tamil people, which can be seen by the number of visitors it attracts. Around 15,000 people visit this temple daily with it increasing to 25,000 on Fridays. It was even in the list of Top 30 nominees of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” and gets annual revenue of 60 million Indian Rupees. Its opening Hours are 5:00 am - 12:30 pm and 4:00 pm - 9:30 pm.
East Tower (Nine Storeys). Height 161' 3". This Gopur has 1011 sudhai figures.
The figures of deities on the towers are repaired, repainted and ritually re-consecrated every 12 years.
Asht Shakti Mandap
Story of Meenaakshee - There was a king of Madurai named Malayadhwaj Pandya who was childless for a long time. He performed a number of Yagya to get an heir to his throne. On one occasion, a three-year-old girl came out of the fire and Malayadhwaj adopted her. But the girl had three breasts and this worried Malayadhwaj. However, a divine voice assured him that the third breast would disappear as soon as she met her consort. The girl grew into a brave and beautiful princess. she won many battles, but eventually lost her heart to Shiv, when she met him on the battle-field in Kailaash. As soon as she saw him, her third breast disappeared and she recognized her divine consort, for the princess was none other than Shiv's wife, Paarvatee. After ruling over the Pandya kingdom for a while, they settled in the Madurai Temple as Meenaakshee and Sundareshwar
Meenaakshee Nayakkar Mandap
The Thousand Pillar Mandap
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/30/13