The Madurai Meenakshi (eyes like that of a fish; meen=fish; akshi=eyes) Amman temple may be considered as the apotheosis of Dravidian architecture. The 11 towers ('gopurams') with their intricate stucco work multi-coloured statues of gods, goddesses, animals and other mythological figures are a masterpiece.
Some important aspects are:
1. Built between 13th. And 16th. Centuries.
2. Four of them (9-storeyed) are the four main entrances.
3. South tower is the tallest (170 ft.) and the most attractive.
4. Oldest is the one of the eastern side.
5. Five musical pillars, near the North Tower, each consisting of 22 smaller pillars carved out of a single stone, produce different notes when tapped.
6. It is considered proper to enter the temple complex through the Ashta Shakti Mandapam to first worship Devi Meenakshi and then Lord Sundareshwarar. Over the entrance, there is a scriptural representation of Devi Meenakshi's wedding.
7. 1008 brass lamps may be seen in the Meenakshi Naicken.
8. It is believed that Indra bathed in the Golden Lotus Tank to purify himself of his sin. Also, it is believed that Lord Shiva performed a miracle by making this pond free of fishes.
9. On Fridays, the images of Devi Meenakshi and of Lord Sundareshwarar are placed on the Oonjal (swing) Mandapam and worshipped.
10. Parrots in the Kilikootu Mandapam are trained to call out the name of Devi Meenakshi.
11. Devi Meenakshi, with a parrot and a bouquet, stands in the sanctum in the Meenakshi shrine.
12. The 8-foot high statue of Mukkuruni Vinayakar was found when Thirumalai Nayakkar was building the shrine.
13. The Kampathadi Mandapam is known for the intricate carvings. Lord Shiva is depicted in each of the 8 ornate pillars in a different manifestation. Equally intricate is the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. However, the best is the sculpture of Devi Meenakshi's wedding.
14. The legendary Kadamba tree, the trunk of which is preserved, is in the Sundareshwarar shrine, which houses the 'linga'.
15. Lord Nataraja, with His right foot raised (rare dancing pose of His), is in the Valliambalam. It is believed that He did so to please His devotee, King Raja Shekara Pandyan.
16. Ariyanaatha Mudaliar, on a horse, who built the 1000 pillar hall, greets the visitor to the magnificent hall. The 985 pillars are so arranged that whichever angle you see them, they all appear in a straight line. There are two mini-temples at the place where the remaining 15 pillars should have been. This hall also houses the Temple Art Museum.
17. Temple timings are 0500 hrs-1230 hrs and 1600 hrs-2130 hrs. The 1000-pillared hall timings are 0700 hrs-2000 hrs.
Bookmark/Search this post with