Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple, is one of India’s oldest and most prominent temples. The temple, which is located in Madurai, is mythologically and historically significant. Lord Shiva is said to have taken the form of Sundareswarar (the lovely one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the existing location of the temple.
Known for its incredible architecture, it was nominated as one of the world’s wonders but did not make the list of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” The temple, on the other hand, is unquestionably one of India’s “Wonders.” Thousands of devotees visit it every day, making it one of South India’s most popular tourist destinations. The temple gathers more than a million devotees during the 10-day ‘Tirukalyanam Festival.’
Architecture And Structure Of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
The temple, which is 14 acres in size, is located in the centre of Madurai. The temple is surrounded by massive walls that were constructed in response to invasions. When viewed from above, the entire building resembles a mandala. A mandala is a structure created using symmetry and loci rules. Within the temple complex, there are several shrines. The temple has shrines dedicated to a variety of deities, including Ganesha and Murugan, in addition to the two main shrines dedicated to Sundareswarar and Meenakshi. The goddesses Lakshmi, Rukmini, and Saraswati are also housed in the shrine.
The temple has four great towering gateways (gopurams) that are visually identical. Aside from the four “gopurams,” the temple has a slew of other “gopurams” that function as entrances to various shrines. There are 14 towering gateways in total at the shrine. Each one is a multi-story edifice that houses thousands of legendary stories as well as a variety of artworks.
Significance Of The Temple
Since Meenakshi is the main deity of the temple, the temple signifies the importance of woman in a Tamil Hindu family. The temple also portrays the cordial relationship between Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism. The Sundareswarar shrine is known as one fifth of ‘Pancha Sabhai’ (five courts) where Lord Shiva is believed to have performed the cosmic dance. Worship mainly involves rituals and processions. One of the rituals involves placing an image of Sundareswarar inside a palanquin which is then moved to the shrine of Meenakshi. The palanquin is taken into the shrine every night and is brought back to the shrine of Sundareswarar every morning. The devotees usually worship Meenakshi before offering their prayers to Sundareswarar.
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