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Did You Know These Interesting Facts About The Meenakshi Amman Temple?
This famous temple in Madurai has an interesting history behind its architecture.
The temple city of India, Madurai is home to the largest temple complex in Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Amman Temple, popularly called just the Meenakshi Temple. Dedicated to Parvati (known as Meenakshi) and Shiva (addressed as Sundareswarar here), this temple is one of the most revered ones for Tamilian Hindus. But did you know these interesting facts about the temple and its history?
The Meenakshi Temple is the epicentre of the city of Madurai as it was built according to the ancient Indian building manual called Shilpa Shastra. According to Hindu scriptures, it was Indra who built a shrine for the lingam he was carrying to atone his misdeeds. It is where the current temple stands.
The temple has 14 gopurams or gateway towers and 33,000 sculptures including two golden sculptured vimanas that is the tower above the sanctum. The southern gopuram is the tallest of them all with a height of 170 feet.
Friday sees the most number of devotees visit the temple with the number going as high as 25,000. On other days too, you can expect close to 15,000 people. Meenakshi Temple also hosts an annual festival called Meenakshi Thirukalayanam that is held in April. A celestial wedding of the god and goddess marks the end of the festival. About 1 million devotees visit the temple during this festival.
The temple you see today was rebuilt in the 16th century by Vishwanatha Nayakar who was a Nayak ruler after it was destroyed and looted by Muslim raider Malik Kafur in the 14th century. It is believed that the original structure of the Meenakshi Temple dates back to the 6th century BC.
There are several halls in the temple complex including one known as the hall of thousand pillars or the Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam. This has two rows of pillars out of which 985 are carved with images of mythological creatures called Yali, Shiva, Ganesha and more.