India > Temples > Meenakshi
Meenakshi temple, Madurai
During the rule of the Nayaks, the bulk of the Meenakshi temple was built, the main attraction for visitors, today. Madurai also became the cultural centre of the Tamil people. Madurai passed on to the East India Company in 1781, and in 1840, the Company razed the fort which had previously surrounded the city, and filled in the moat. Four streets, the Veli streets, which were constructed on top of the hill, till today, define the limits of the old city.
Every day, the Meenakshi temple attracts pilgrims in thousands, from all over India. The temple is named after the daughter of a Pandyan king who, according to legend, was born with three breasts. At the time of the birth, the king was told that the extra breast would disappear, when she met the man she was supposed to marry, and this happened when she met Lord Shiva on Mount Kailas. Shiva arrived in Madurai, later, in the form of Lord Sundereswara, and married her.
The Meenakshi temple is an excellent example of Dravidian architecture, with gopurams or multi pillared halls, covered from top to bottom, in a profusion of multi coloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The temple occupies an area of around six hectares, and has four entrances to it. The museum called the Temple Art gallery, is located within the temple and contains beautiful stone and brass images, examples of South Indian scripts, friezes and attempts to explain the Hindu pantheon and many other legends associated with it.
Madurai Photo Gallery