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Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple

Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple

While in Tamil Nadu travel to Madurai to sample a temple experience, which is simply out-of-this-world. The very word Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple conjures up images of incredibly beautiful sculptures, carvings and paintings. Reflecting the architectural splendor of the ancient times, this temple is visited by tourists from across the world. Every year thousands of devotees come here to take blessing of the deities. But during the Meenakshi Kalyanam festival the temple draws around 15,000 visitors in a single day.

The temple was built in a typical Dravadian style of architecture by Kulasekara Pandya but unfortunately it was almost completely destroyed by the Muslim ruler Malikkapur in the year 1310. Later when in the 14th century the Vijaynagara empire established its supremacy, the temple was rebuilt in a more attractive way.

A symbol of the rich cultural heritage of South India, Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. The term Meenakshi means 'the fish-eyed goddess' and the word Sundareshwar means ' the beautiful lord'. The legend goes that it is at Madurai where Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. It is one of the most important pilgrimage for the Hindus.

The temple has two main shrines dedicated to the goddess and the lord. The archaeological splendor of the temple can be seen in its majestically sculpted figures, decorated pillars and cloistered courtyards. One of the striking features of the temple is its 12 gopurams(soaring gateway towers), which are festooned with arresting carvings of heavenly deities and animals. The tallest gopuram towers to a height of 48 m, which boasts of around 1011 sculptures depicting episodes from Puranas. The beauty of the mandapas(grand pillared halls) is overwhelming. There are five entrances to the temple.

The temple also houses a holy tank of the Golden Lotus, which is believed to be much older than the temple itself. According to the legend this tank was formed by the lord Shiva. It is believed that a dip in this tank blesses one with prosperity.

The marriage anniversary of the deities is celebrated in the temple in the form of a festival called Meenakshi Kalyanam. This festival falls in the month of Chaitra(April-May).You must have attended many marriages of human beings, now it's time to attend the marriage of the heavenly beings.

 

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