Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwar temple – Masterpieces of Architecture

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.

Madurai Meenakshi Temple – View from the top

Meenakshi Temple Kund

Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareshwar depicted in Painting

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) .

Meenakshi 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.

Entrance Of Murugan temple at Tirupparankundrum

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.

Tiruparankundram Gopuram

Lord murugan on his peacock

People throw butter balls on the Mahakali idol

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.

can you see details in gopuram

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.

Gopuram Tower

Details of gopuram

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.

http://www.maduraimeenakshi.org/

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.

Lord Sundareshwar dancing

Lord Sundareshwar and Meenakshi Amma sitting on Nandi

Lord Shiva and his devotee Banasura playing his instrument

Lord Sundareshwar and Meenakshi devi

Side of Gopuram

Gopuram Top Meenakshi

Lord Vishnu giving Meenakshi Amman’s hand to lord Shiva

Lord Ganesha

Ceilings – Decortaed with marvellous paintings

Lord Ganesha idol in Meenakshi Amman temple

HALL OF THOUSAND PILLARS

Thousand pillar hall

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.

Madurai Meenakshi temple_Nataraja

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……………………

Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati

Lord Vishnu with Bhoodevi and Sridevi

Lord Narsimha

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

A shop in meenakshi 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.

Dear Readers if you want to read my other Yatras with more pictures PLEASE CLICK BELOW

AMARNATH YATRA

JAMMU AND KASHMIR: PAHALGAM , VAISHNO DEVI

PUNJAB : AMRITSAR

GUJARAT : SOMNATH AND DWARKA  ( 2010 & 2012 )

MAHARSHTTRA : BHIMASHANKAR , TRIMBAKESHWAR , GRISHNESHWAR , DAULATABAD FORT

MADHYA PRADESH : UJJAIN , OMKARESHWAR AND DEWAS

KASHI YATRA : VARANASI , PRAYAG AND CHITRAKOOT

KARNATAKA : GOKARNA , UDUPI , MURUDESHWAR , SIRSI

LORD SHIVA JYOTIRLINGS

 

  • Thank you Vishal for the elaborate tour of the complex. It is indeed a very big and vast setup. The video from NDTV also sums it up very well.

    So did it make to the list of new 7 wonders of the world ?

  • Thanks Nandan for your Lovely comments…………………………….

    No it didn’t make in the New 7 wonders of the world. The reason being these wonders of the world were selected by internet votes from whole world. There were more than 100 million votes.From India two monuments were competing. Taj Mahal and Meenakshi Temple. When the voting started majority of people in India voted for Taj Mahal which obviously become one of the seven wonders of the world.Meenakshi was one of the 30 nominees………………………..

    Anyway for me this one is not wonder of the world but “Best Wonder of Universe”…………………………..

  • Hi Vishal , Great detailed post on Meenakshi Temple.

    I have visited it when I went to Madurai about 15 years ago and that time also it was a true class of archtitecture.

    Sahil

  • Thanks Sahil.

    Indeed as far as art is concerned this is the best temple i have visited in my life considering all the points……………………………

  • Very True Vishal , Meenakshi Temple is always in my memories and is one of the top rated Temples which I have ever visited.

    Sahil

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Wow !!!!!!

    Very detailed & informative post. South Indian temple are very colourful , how they manage to paint these multicolour idols.

    Looking forward for your next post on “Kanyakumari”

  • I also don’t know Mahesh jee how they manage to paint these idols that too at that elevation and with superb detailed perfection and class.

    The only truth is that it is painted and we look and adore………………………………….

  • Naveena Israni

    Beautiful architecture & carvings captured by your brilliant photos! It appeared really breathtaking! Hope to go there some day…

  • Thanks Naveena for your comments

    And about going there, you must and once you go i reckon you will enjoy……………………….

  • toddler ved

    Nice and very informative post will surely be helpful during my impending visit to the place. thnx….

  • Thanks Ved …………………………

  • very useful one for us…

  • Thanks…………………..

  • Mukesh Bhalse

    Vishal,
    It was really a beautifully narrated and informative post. The new thing that I came to know through your comment regarding Meenakshi Temple is that it was nominated for 7 wonders of the world. Now my temptation to see this temple have enhanced several times. And the virtual tour to the place through the link you provided (view 360) is amazing (I suggest everyone to click the link as provided by vishal above and you’ll feel as you are in Meenakshi Temple). Thanks you for providing us such useful information about the place. Waiting for Kanyakumari.

    Thanks.

  • Thanks Mukesh …………………………

    This was the best temple in the tour as far as architecture, sculpture and painting were concerned.

    The trust has maintained this also very well along with roads outside the temple. very neat and clean……………………………

  • ashok sharma

    great photos,very good narration

  • Thanks a lot Vishal for taking us to this unforgettable journey. Detailed information and well clicked images left no question unanswered. God knows when I’ll able to visit these places but because of you we are getting a close experience of it.

    • Yaa Amit , Thanks once again………………….

      This was indeed a very unforgettable journey for me…………………………………

      And Dear friend , Just have attitude and positive approach God will take you to all these places………..

  • Extremely Beautiful photographs and narration. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is indeed worth visiting for its religious significance and architectural brilliance.

  • Thanks………………………..

  • ????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ???? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???, ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???

  • Jee haan sandeep jee

    Isse din ke samay mein hi dekhna chahiye. Raat mein iski sundartaa itni nahi dikh paati…………………

    Maine plan karke isse di mein char baje dekha tha……………………

    Aur sandeep jee aapne mera jawaab nahi diya hai , jo maine aapke ek post ke comment mein likha tha.

    Kaunsi aisii mahattvapurna jagah hai jo aapne nahi dekhi???????????????

  • Dhaval

    thanks for the info…pls can i know name of that hotel where us stayed?? and the charges for it….may be helpful to me coz i’ve planned to visit the place this november….

    • Dear Dhaval

      I also don’t know the name of the hotel, But there are lot of hotels near the temple on the periphery in the range of 300 – 1000 deoending on the range you want. Our objective was just to keep luggage and bath . So we took a room having rent rs. 400. Please go without hesitation. You will definitely find one as there are lot of hotels near the temple

      Happy journey .

  • Ajay Shandal

    Hello Vishal, thanks for doing a great service for those who are anxious to visit holy places. Temples of Thanjavur and Teminalnadu as a whole have special place in Hindu architecture. We must encourage more people to visit these temples for spiritual benefits and to revere their beauty.

    With Krishna’s merci, I hope to visit those temples in the near future. The information you have provided on this site is be very useful.
    Thanks,
    Ajay

  • SATHISH

    Hi Friends,,,

    in this Site Some Meenaksh pictures she holding wheel …how it’s came…In Temple Originally she will keep parrot only.. how sangu & Sakar came…? any one knows Please Explain…
    Thanks.