Madurai Tour

Madurai, One of South India's great temple towns is famous for Meenakshi Amman Temple. Apart from temple this city is also famous for Thirumalainayaka Palace, Gandhi Museum, Alagarkoil and Tiruparankundram. Madurai city is often termed as sleepless city. Meenakshi Amman Temple was built between 1200 and 1800 A.D.

Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. This ancient city on the banks of the Vaigai river has, over the centuries, been a rich repository of Tamil culture. Some 2,000 years ago, it hosted the famous Sangams (gatherings of writers and poets), which were to provide Tamil literature with some of its most enduring works. From the 7th to 13th centuries, as the capital of the Pandyas, it saw art and trade with Rome and China flourish. It later became part of the Vijayanagar Empire, and was the Nayaka capital in the 16th 17th centuries. Today, religion and culture remain a vibrant part of the city's daily life.

Thirumalai Nayaka Palace

Thirumalai Nayaka Palace built by Thirumalai Nayaka in 1636 located 1.5 km south east of Meenakshi Temple. The power and wealth of the Nayakas is evident from the remains of this once grand palace. The building, with its interesting Islamic influences, was partially restored in the 19th century by Lord Napier, governor of Madras between 1866 and 1872. Madurai's great tank is another marvel attributed to Thirumalai Nayaka. The square tank has steps, flanked by animal- and bird-shaped balustrades, leading down to the rippling waters. This is the venue of the annual Theppam (Float) festival, celebrating the marriage of Shiva and Meenakshi, when their images are taken in illuminated boats to the small pavilion in the centre of the tank.

Meenakshi Sundareshvara temple

Meenakshi Sundareshvara temple complex is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple complex was built by the early Pandyas in 7th-10th centuries, it was extensively added to by succeeding dynasties, especially between the 14th and 18th centuries. Lord Shiva is known here as Sundareshvara means the "Handsome God”, and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi termed as the "Fish-eyed Goddess". This temple has stunning 12 gopuras.The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareshvara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. Their soaring towers rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters, painted in vivid colours. GOPURA Pyramidal gates (gopuras) rise to a height of more than 50 m (164 ft). These towering gateways indicate the entrance to the temple complex at the four cardinal points, while lesser gopuras lead to the sanctums of the main deities.

Meenakshi AmmanTemple

Meenakshi AmmanTemple can be entered from the eastern side through the Ashta Shakti Mandapa or the “Hall of Eight Goddesses”, with sculpted pillars representing the various aspects of the Goddess Shakti. The adjacent seven-storeyed Chitra Gopura, is the tallest tower in the complex. Next to this hall is the Meenakshi Nayaka Mandapa, a spacious columned hall used for shops and stores. This hall has 1,0082 lamps, which are lighted on festive occasions and present a spectacular sight.

Potramarai Kulam

Potramarai Kulam, or "Golden Lotus” Tank is one of the sacred places in this temple with steps leading down to the water. It is surrounded by pillared corridors that once bore paintings from the Vijayanagar period. To the west of this tank is the Meenakshi Shrine, one of the two main shrines, comprising two concentric corridors and many halls and galleries. Here lies the bed to which Minakshi's “husband”, in the form of Sundareshvara's image, is brought every night from his own shrine, the Sundareshvara Shrine, which stands to the north. The god resides in this, the second main shrine, amid columns that bear the fish motifs emblematic of his wife.

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