Madurai Meenakshi Temple

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Gopuram

Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Built By: Kulashekarar Pandyan

Architectural Style: Dravidian

Dedicated To: Meenakshi (Goddess Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva)

Tradition: Shaivism

Major Festival: Tirukalyanam Festival / Chithirai Thiruvizha

Temple Structure 

Shrine Structure

The temple occupies a huge area in the heart of Madurai as it spreads over 14 acres. The temple is enclosed with huge walls, which were built in response to the invasions. The entire structure, when viewed from above, represents a mandala. A mandala is a structure built according to the laws of symmetry and loci.

There are various shrines built within the temple complex. Apart from the two main shrines, which are dedicated to Sundareswarar and Meenakshi, the temple has shrines dedicated to various other deities like Ganesha and Murugan. The temple also houses goddesses Lakshmi, Rukmini, and Saraswati.

The temple also has a consecrated pond named ‘Porthamarai Kulam.’ The term ‘Potramarai Kulam’ is a literal translation of ‘pond with a golden lotus.’ The structure of a golden lotus is placed at the center of the pond. It is said that Lord Shiva blessed this pond and declared that no marine life would grow in it. In the Tamil folklore, the pond is believed to be an evaluator for reviewing the worth of any new literature.

History

Gopuram

Madurai Meenakshi temple was built by King Kulasekara Pandya (1190-1216 CE). He built the main Portions of the three-storeyed gopura at the entrance of Sundareswarar Shrine and the central portion of the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine are some of the earliest surviving parts of the temple.

Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I built a gopura in 1231, later expanded and named as Sundara Pandya Thirukkopuram. Chitra gopuram (W), also known as Muttalakkum Vayil, was built by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II (1238-1251).

Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II also added a pillared corridor to the Sundareswara shrine and the Sundara Pandyan Mandapam. It was rebuilt after the 14th-century damage, its granite structure was renovated by Kumara Krishnappar after 1595.

Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th-century by Tirumala Nayaka.

In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayaka and later others. The restored complex now houses 14 Gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft).

Opening Timings

  • Opening timings of Madurai Meenakshi temple is from 5 AM to 12.30 PM.
  • It again opens for darshan at 4 PM to 9.30 PM.
  • When going for darshan at Meenakshi Temple, make a plan for at least two-three hours for a relaxed exploration of the temple and darshan of the deity.

Festivals:Madurai Function

During the 12 months of the Tamil calendar year, every month there is a festival in the temple.

Serial No. Name of Tamil Month Detail of the Festival
1 Chithirai April – May Chithirai Brahamostavam
2 Vaikasi May -June Vasantham Festival
3 Aani June- July  Unjal Festival
4 Aadi July- Aug Aadi – Mulai Kottu Festival
5 Aavani Aug.-Sep Aavani Moolam Festival – ” Puttukku Mansumantha Leela Festival”
6 Puratasi Sep – Oct Navarathri festival
7 Ayppasi Oct -Nov Kolattam Festival
8 Karthigai Nov -Dec Kolattam Festival
9 Margali Dec -Jan Thiruvathirai – Arudhra Dharsan Festival and Thiruvembavai and Thiruppavai Festival.
10 Thai Jan- Feb A major portion of utsavam performed in A/M Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. Thepporstovam in A/M Mariyamman temple theppam.
11 Masi Feb – March Masi –   Mandala utsavam for 48 days.
12 Panguni March – April Summar Vasantham Festival

Laddu Prasadham

Laddu Prasadham

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched the free laddu prasadam distribution scheme at the Madurai Meenakshi temple. The Chief Minister inaugurated the scheme through video conference from the Secretariat here, under which devotees visiting the ancient temple will be provided laddu prasadam through the day and all-round the year.

According to the Meenakshi temple, approximately 20,000 devotees visit the shrine every day and machinery has been procured to produce about 2,000 laddus in an hour.

Cleanest Iconic Place

   Gopuram

Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is one of the oldest and most important temples in India. Located in the city of Madurai, the temple has a great mythological and historical significance. It is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Sundareswarar (the handsome one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the site where the temple is currently located.

Renowned for its astonishing architecture, Meenakshi Temple was nominated as one of the wonders of the world, but couldn’t make it into the list of ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. However, the temple is definitely one of the ‘Wonders of India’. It is also one of the main attractions of South India with thousands of devotees thronging it every day.

During the ‘Tirukalyanam Festival,’ which takes place over a period of 10 days, the temple attracts more than a million devotees. Despite many people visiting it every day, the temple is well-maintained and was named the ‘Best Swachh Iconic Place’ (cleanest iconic place) in India.

How to Reach Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Madurai Map

  1. By Air. Nearest Airport:  Madurai Airport – Madurai Meenakshi Temple (15.5 Kms – 34 mins) Direct Flights to Madurai.
  2. By Train. Nearest Train Station: Madurai Junction –  Madurai Meenakshi Temple(1.8 Kms – 9 mins) Direct Trains to Madurai.
  3. By Bus. Nearest Bus Station: Mattuthavani Bus Terminus – Madurai Meenakshi Temple (6.5Kms – 18 mins)
  4. Arappalayam Bus Station – Madurai Meenakshi Temple (3.6 Kms – 15 mins)