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Home  »  South India Travel  »  Tamilnadu  »  Temples » Meenakshi Temple
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Madurai Travel Guide

Attractions
Meenakshi Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Gandhi Museum, Vaniyur Mariamman Teppakulam
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Madurai Tour Packages

Tamilnadu Travel Guide
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Meenakshi Temple

About Meenakshi Temple
Situated in Madurai, the beauty of the Meenakshi temple is unmatched. It is one of the major attractions of Madurai, the oldest city of Tamil Nadu. This huge temple complex has statues exploring the entire range of human emotions. The Meenakshi temple complex is a city temple, which is one of the largest and ancient temples. It is said that Madurai is the venue of wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi. This mighty temple has exquisitely and intricately carved towers that envelop the temple dedicated to Meenakashi. The south gateway has the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi and is about nine storeys high.

It is a beautiful example of Dravidian architecture and the original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya. But the Nayaks also contributed to the grandeur of the temple. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a royal influence of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple.

The Architecture
The Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple has grand Gopurams which tower over the city, at the heart of which they stand. The temple complex spreads over 6 hectares in the city and is flooded with tourists from all over, almost everyday. The towers have minute and delicate carvings of the gods and goddesses, mythological figures and running depictions of legendary tales. The majestic southern gopuram has over 1500 Meenakshi Temple - Maduraisculptures! This temple is dedicated to Shiva and Meenakshi, an incarnation of his wife Parvati, who was born to a childless ruler after many a prayer. The Temple Museum is at the 'thousand pillared hall' where each of the 985 pillars are carved in great detail.

Other Attractions near the Meenakshi Temple
Mariamman Teppakulam
Mariamman Teppakulam is a tank situated at a distance of 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The tank has an idol of Vinayaka or Vigneshwara installed on a platform in the centre. It is also the venue for the temple's annual Teppakulam float festival.

Tirumalai Nayak Mahal
The palace of Tirumalai Nayak is situated about 1 km from the temple. This Indo-Saracenic building was build in 1523 and was originally four times as large as it is today. The palace presents the architectural style of the Nayaks.

The Swarga Vilasam (the audience hall) is one of the highlights of the palace. Its dome has a height of 20 m without any support and is an engineering marvel in itself. One can watch the sound and light shows on the life of Tirumalai Nayak and the story of Silappathikaram (a Tamil classic). These shows are held here every evening in both English and Tamil.

The Gandhi Museum
This museum is housed in the old palace of the Rani Mangammal. The Gandhi Museum offers a historical account of India's struggle for independence. There is also a shop in the premises from one you can buy books on Gandhi.

Thirupparankunram
Tirupparankundram is situated at a distance of 8 kms south of Madurai. It has Pandyan rock-cut shrines that date back to the 8th century. The temple owns a wide range of Hindu gods carved on the walls. The Subramanya cave temple has a shrine dedicated to Durga, with the figures of Ganesh and Subramanya on either side. Located on top of a hill, the temple is believed to be one of six abodes of Lord Subramanya.

Gopurams Of Meenakshi Temple Azhagar Koil
Located 21 kms north of Madurai, is Azhagar Koil (also, Alagarkoil temple), a temple dedicated to one aspect of Lord Vishnu. This ancient temple is situated on top of a picture perfect wooded hill called Alagarmalai and has many beautiful sculptures of Vishnu.

Koodal Alagar Temple
Located 2 kms to the west of Madurai, is the ancient Vaishnavite temple, Koodal Alagar. The temple has many beautiful sculptures depicting Vishnu in three poses-sitting, standing and reclining-one above the other.

Getting There
Air : Madurai is connected by air with Mumbai and Chennai. Madurai airport is 10-km away from the city.
Rail : Madurai is connected by railways to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin.
Road : Madurai has excellent roads connecting it to all parts of South India. Madurai city has 5 Major Bus Stands- Periyar Bus Stand, Anna Bus Stand, Palanganatham Bus Stand, Arapalayam Bus Stand, Mattuthavani Bus Stand. From Madurai town buses, suburban buses, taxis, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are available that drop you to the temple.

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