MADURAI – MEENAKSHI AMMAN AND LORD SUNDARESHWAR TEMPLE – Masterpiece of Architecture and Painting
A Nominee in “ NEW SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD”
6th November 2011 Sunday :- It was time to move from Rameswaram to our next destination Madurai to visit the classy Meenakshi Sundareshwar temple . So we took train Rameswaram Madurai Passenger which starts at 5.25 am from Rameswaram and reaches Madurai at 9.00 am.
I must say that even we didn’t know the language the people of TN are very good natured and they help in every possible way they can. So if you are thinking of Language barrier its not a big problem because actions and good natured people will help you. Go ahead and plan your journey without thinking much .
After Reaching Madurai I directly went near the temple to fetch some Hotels to keep luggage , since we were leaving to Kanyakumari the same night. There are lot of Hotels near the temple complex . I got one of those near West Tower ( gopuram) .
After reaching the Hotel , I directly took the pics of West Gopuram. Just check the minute details.
The idea was to keep luggage and go to visit Lord Murugan Temple at Tirupparankundram , 10 kms approximately from Meenakshi Temple first because this one was far away and Meenakshi Amman temple we could visit that in evening.
We took an auto who charged us around Rs. 200 for to and fro journey.
Lord Murugan temple :- Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple, one of the Arupadaiveedu, the six main abodes of Lord Muruga, the temple at Tiruparankunram offers a mystic beauty. It is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. According to legend it is where Lord Muruga married Deivayanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra, and he is said to have worshipped Shiva here as Parangirinathar.
The temple is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Madurai in India. In the main shrine, apart from Muruga, deities of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Vinayaka and Goddess Durga are housed.
This is new way of worship I have seen especially in TN . I saw this butter ball throwing on Hanuman deity also in Suchindram coming in next post.
After taking Darshan we came back to Madurai and rested in our room waiting for 4.00 pm for the temple to open.
MEENAKSHI SUNDARESHWAR TEMPLE:- Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai, is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva named here as Sundareswarar(beautiful deity). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gopurams(gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the souther tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana(shrine) over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays and gets an annual revenue of sixty million INR. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The annual 10 day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts 1 million visitors.
LEGEND :- Legend has it that the emperor Kulasekhara Pandyan was the founder of the ancient city of Madurai. He was succeeded by Malayadwaja Pandyan. Malayadwaja Pandyan and his consort Kanchanamala who did not have any children of their own, worshipped with the desire of obtaining progeny. During the course of their ceremonial prayer, a baby girl appeared in the sacrificial altar miraculously.
The Royal couple brought up this child as their own and named her Tataatakai. An odd feature about the baby was that it had three breasts instead of two, and that a divine prophecy decreed that the third one would miraculously disappear, at the princess’s sight of her consort to be.
Tataatakai grew up to be a valorous queen; she was also known as Meenakshi, the one endowed with fish like eyes. Tataatakai embarked upon a DigVijaya or a tour of victory, across the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent. In the course of her travels she came to Mount Kailash where she encountered Shiva; upon standing in front of Shiva her third breast disappeared and a valorous warrior princess transformed into a blushing bride.
Shiva directed Meenakshi to return to Madurai, and promised her that he would join her in eight days as her groom. Accordingly Meenakshi returned to Madurai, and at the appointed time, the divine wedding was celebrated with pomp and splendour. Maha Vishnu, believed to be the brother of Meenakshi is said to have given the bride away.
Legend has it that Meenakshi and Sundareswarar ruled over the city of Madurai for a long period of time. Sundareswarar also goes by the name Sundara Pandyan. Ugra Pandyan the son of the divine couple is believed to be none other than Subramanya.
The legend of Meenakshi Kalyanam brings together four of the six main streams in popular Hinduism i.e. the Saiva, Shakta, Vaishnava and Skanda faiths – and this grand culmination of faiths is still celebrated in great splendour today, in an enactment of Meenakshi Kalyanam each year, when images of Skanda and Vishnu are brought to the Madurai Meenakshi temple from Tirupparamkunram nearby. Also of significance is the grand procession of Kallazhagar towards Madurai from the Alagar Koyil temple in the outskirts of the city.
Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple :- 7 wonders of India and Athens of East
Please click on below link to get a view of the whole place. – http://view360.in/virtualtour/madurai/
Now ENJOY and RELISH these Extra Magnificient and Beautiful pictures of SCULPTURE,ARCHITECTURE AND PAINTINGS.
HALL OF THOUSAND PILLARS
This Mandapam has a total of 985pillars. These pillars have been so arranged that from whatever angle one looks from within, the pillars look in rows and rows.
The “Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” or Thousand Pillar Hall contains 985(instead of 1000) carved pillars. The hall was built by Ariyanatha Mudaliar in 1569 and it is a structure where the engineering skill and artistic vision are blended. Ariyanatha Mudaliar was the prime minister and general of Viswanatha Nayak, the first Nayaka of Madurai (1559–1600). He was also the founder of Poligar System, the quasi-feudal organization of the country, which was divided into multiple palayams or small provinces and each palayam was ruled by a palayakkarar or a petty chief. At the entrance of the hall the statue of Ariyanatha Mudaliar seated on a horse-back is present, which flanks one side of the entrance to the temple. The statue is periodically garlanded by worshippers. Each pillar in the hall is a carved monument of the Dravidian sculpture. The more prominent among the carved figures are those of Rati(wife of Cupid), Karthikeya, Ganesha, Shiva as a wandering mendicant and endless number of yalis(mythical figures of lions).
ART MUSEUM in Thousand Pillar Hall……………………
There is a Temple Art Museum in the hall where icons, photographs, drawings, and other exhibits of the 1200 years old history of the temple is displayed. Just outside this hall, towards the west, are the Musical Pillars. Each pillar,when struck, produces a different musical note.
Shops In Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple
Finally we went to Koodal Azaghar Temple a beautiful Divya Desam nearby Where lord Vishnu is said to be brother of Meenakshi Amman in this wedding. Finally it was time to leave for kanyakumari in Madurai Kollam passenger which starts from Madurai at 10.50pm.
And I will Take you to my final destination Kanyakumari in next post.
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