Spreading it's spiritual aura over the souls of worshippers is the oldest temple of Madurai, Meenakshi temple. This shrine that dates back to over 2500 years is considered as old as the city it adds shine to, etched on the southern bank of River Vaigai, Meenakshi is an avatar of Goddess Parvati the consort of Lord Shiva. Also known as Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, it is believed that it is the same place where Lord Shiva (Sundareswarar) and Goddess Parvati(Meenakshi) tied the knot. Donning the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple was once considered to be counted among the ' Seven Wonders of the World'. One of the things that you should not miss out while on a spiritual tour in Madurai, is the procession that is carried out by the priest of the temple. In the ceremony, a photo of Sundareswarar is carried in a chariot to the shrine of Meenakshi. Followed by a pooja that take place once the golden feet of the Lord are brought out of his consort’s temple. And throughout this process the chariot of the Lord is fanned.
Stories Associated with the Temple
If we go by the legend it is believed that the city along with Meenakshi temple rose at the same time. Furthermore, it is said that once after killing a demon, Lord Indra performed a penance and was not relieved of the burden and later came down to earth. It was when he crossed the Kadamba trees in the Pandya land, that he was relieved of the weighing remorse. Later some time he got to know it was because of the shivalinga present under a Kadamba tree that appeased the heart of the Lord. And to pay his regards to the Supreme Being he built a temple named Indra Vimana around the Shiva Linga which presently is worshipped in Madurai.
Carved in the Dravidian style of architecture, Meenakshi temple is the exquisite pearl while the city of Madurai acts as its sea. Along with having 12 vibrantly hued gopurams, the temple is renowned as one of the temples with doors in each of the four directions for the worshippers to enter. The temple whose construction started almost 2000 years ago saw its downfall in the 14 the century. It was Vishwanatha Nayakar the Hindu Nayak dynasty ruler who took the responsibility to give back Tamilnadu what it lost. And followed Shilpa Shastras, the Hindu texts on architecture as the guiding light for building the temple in 16th and 17th Century. The city and temple that was so constructed had its face towards the north to revere the Sun God.
5:00 AM to 12.30 PM; 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Best Time to Visit
While worshippers love visiting the temple in April month to be a part of the vibrant festivities of Chithirai.However the best time to visit Madurai as a whole is considered to be the cool months of December to February.
How to Reach?
To reach this tourism attraction all you have to do is take a bus from Periyar which is 1.3 kms away from the temple. One also has the choice of hiring a cab to reach Meenakshi temple.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Puthu Mandapam
- Saint Mary's Cathedral
- Gandhi Memorial Museum
- Keelakuyilkudi and Samanar Hills
- Vilachery Pottery Village