Madurai Meenakshi Temple Gigapixel Image

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Gigapixel Image

The Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple was built by King Kulasekara Pandya.  He built the main parts of the three-story gopura at the entrance to the Sundareswarar Shrine and the central part of the Meenakshi Goddess Shrine are some of the earliest surviving parts of the temple.   

Traditional texts call him a poet-saint king, in addition they attribute to him a poem called Ambikai Malai, as well as shrines (koil) for Natarajar and Surya near the main temple, Ayyanar in the east, Vinayagar in the south, Kariamalperumal in the west and Kali in the north.  

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Gigapixal Image
Madurai Meenakshi Temple 

He also built a Mahamandapam.  Kulasekara Pandya was also a poet and composed a poem about Meenakshi called Ambikai Malai. Maravarman Sundara Pandyan I built a gopura in 1231, then called Avanivendaraman, then rebuilt, enlarged and named Sundara Pandya Thirukkopuram.   Chitra gopuram (W), also known as Muttalakkum Vayil, was built by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II (1238-1251).  

This gopuram is named after the frescoes and reliefs depicting secular and religious themes of Hindu culture.  Maravarman Sundara Pandyan II also added a pillared corridor to the Sundareswara Shrine and the Sundara Pandyan Mandapam. It was rebuilt after the damages of the 14th century, its granite structure was renovated by Kumara Krishnappar after 1595. 

Although the temple has historical roots, most of the current structure of the campus was rebuilt after the century XIV CE, and was repaired, renovated and enlarged in the 17th century by Tirumala Nayaka.

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 In the early 14th century, the armies of the Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim commander Malik Kafur looted the temple, looted it of its valuables, and destroyed the temple city of Madurai along with many other cities in the world. South Indian temple. 

The contemporary temple is the result of reconstruction efforts initiated by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire who rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar and later by others.  The restored complex now houses 14 gopurams (entrance towers), ranging from 45 to 50 m in height, with the southern gopura being the tallest at 51.9 meters (170 feet).  

The complex has numerous halls with sculpted pillars such as Ayirakkal (hall of 1000 pillars), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam.  Its shrines are dedicated to Hindu deities and scholars of Shivaism, with the vimanas on the garbhagrihas (shrines) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara gilded with gold.  

The temple is an important pilgrimage destination within the Shaivism tradition, dedicated to Meenakshi Devi and Shiva.  However, the temple includes Vishnu in many narratives, sculptures, and rituals, as he is considered to be Meenakshi's brother.  This has made this temple and Madurai the "Mathura of the south", one included in Vaishnava texts. The Meenakshi temple also includes Lakshmi, a flute that plays Krishna, Rukmini, Brahma, Saraswati, other Vedic and Puranic deities, as well as works of art showing narratives from major Hindu texts.  


The great temple complex is Madurai's most prominent landmark, attracting tens of thousands of visitors a day. The temple attracts more than a million pilgrims and visitors during the annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, which is celebrated with many festivities and a ratha (chariot) procession during the Tamil month of Chittirai (coincides with April- May in the Georgian calendar, Chaitra in northern India). The Temple has been considered the best "iconic Swachh place" in India on October 1, 2017 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  



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