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10 Facts To Know About The Historical Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple is also famous for hosting the 'Meenakshi Tirukalyanam Festival' every year.

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Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is one of the most famous temples in India. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is one of the most famous temples in India. Wikimedia Commons
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By Ruchika Verma

  • Meenakshi Temple is one of the oldest temples in India
  • It is famous for its great architecture and historical value
  • The temple attracts millions of tourists every year

India can easily be considered as one of the most famous religious and cultural hubs in the world. Especially, the southern part of India is home to some of the most famous and historical temples. The temples there are not only religious hubs, but also carry a great historical significance.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu. (Image Source: Wikipedia)
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu. Image Source: Wikipedia

One such famous temple is the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. This temple is grand, both in terms of its architecture and in terms of its historical and religious significance. It is one of the most visited temples in India and is considered the ‘Taj Mahal of the South.’

Here are some other interesting facts about Meenakshi Temple, you probably didn’t know before :

History of the Temple 

Meenakshi Amman Temple is located in the middle of the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. This 2500 years old temple has a glorious past which dates back to 1560. It was designed by Vishwanatha Nayak. It was built during the period of Tirumalai Nayak, during whose reign, Madurai was the capital of Pandyan Empire.

Meenakshi Temple is situated in the heart of the city Madurai. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple is situated in the heart of the city Madurai. Wikimedia Commons

You may also like: Interesting Facts About Somnath Temple You Didn’t Know Before

Architecture of the Temple 

The Meenakshi temple is easily the masterpiece of Dravidian architecture. It’s complex is huge and is divided into a number of quadrangular enclosures supported by high brick walls. The temple has four entrances facing the four cardinal directions, which is very unusual for a temple in Tamil Nadu. At the core of the temple, there are two temples for Meenakshi (Parvati) and Sundareswarar (Shiva) towards the south and west directions respectively.

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Wikimedia Commons

Large Complex 

Meenakshi Temple has the largest temple complex in South India. The temple boasts of a 6-hectare complex which is among the largest temple complexes in the whole of India.

Meenakshi Temple has 6 hectare complex. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple has 6-hectare complex. Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi Amman

Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to the triple-breasted, fish-eyed goddess Meenakshi Amman (or goddess Parvati, as known in the north). ‘Fish-eyed’ is a phrase often used for a perfect pair of beautiful eyes in Tamil poetry. This temple is special because unlike other temples in South India, which are dedicated to a male deity (mostly, Shiva and Vishnu), this temple is dedicated to a female deity.

Meenakshi Temple is one of those rare temples which is dedicated to a goddess and not to a god. Pixabay
Meenakshi Temple is one of those rare temples which is dedicated to a goddess and not to a god. Pixabay

Visitors and Revenue

The Meenakshi temple is one of the most famous temples because of its great architecture and religious value. It attracts approximately 15,000 visitors a day. The number often increases to 25,000 on Fridays. The temple receives an annual revenue of Rs. 60 million from all the devotees and visitors.

Meenakshi Temple attracts 15,000 visitors everyday. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple attracts 15,000 visitors every day. Wikimedia Commons

Is nominated for a place in the New Seven Wonders of the World

Meenakshi Temple is nominated among the 30 attractions around the world which have been nominated to be on the list of New Seven Wonders of the World. It has become a national historic pride for India since then.

Meenakshi Temples matches Taj Mahal in its historical importance. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temples matches Taj Mahal in its historical importance. Wikimedia Commons

Meenakshi Tirukalyanam Festival

Meenakshi Temple is also famous for hosting the ‘Meenakshi Tirukalyanam Festival’ every year during the months of April and May. The festival lasts for 10 days and attracts millions of tourists every year to the temple.

Also Read: 7 spectacular Hindu Temples to visit in Incredible India

Meenakshi Temple hosts an annual festival of 10 days which attracts millions of tourists. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple hosts an annual festival of 10 days which attracts millions of tourists. Wikimedia Commons

It has 33,000 sculptures

Another interesting thing about the Meenakshi Temple is the presence of an estimated 33000 sculptures in it. Meenakshi Temple is especially famous for the huge sculpture of the Nataraja, which is built on a silver altar. The temple has a ‘Hall of Thousand Pillars’ and each pillar is carved with various sculptures.

Meenakshi Temple is home to an estimated 33000 sculptures. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Temple is home to an estimated 33000 sculptures. Wikimedia Commons

 Golden Lotus Pond

Meenakshi Temple has a pond called ‘Porthamarai Kulam’ or ‘The Golden Lotus Pond’ in its complex. The fact which makes this pond distinct from others is that the lotus which grows in it has a hue of golden.

The famous Golden Lotus Pond. Wikimedia Commons
The famous Golden Lotus Pond. Wikimedia Commons

Periodic Restoration

The Meenakshi temple goes through a periodic restoration every 12 years. This restoration process is carried out as a ritual, during which the sculptures of deities in the temple are repainted and repaired. This is done to ensure that the glory and splendour of the temple last forever.

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Top 10 Famous Hindu Temples of Tamil Nadu

Most of the temples of Tamil Nadu dates back to 800 to 1400 years and still stands to be rock solid.

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Most of the temples situated in Tamil Nadu were built during the historic and medieval period
Most of the temples situated in Tamil Nadu were built during the historic and medieval period

NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu is known as the temple city of India and the state is considered as the torchbearers of the magnificent heritage of that region. The Hindu Tamil temples here are a classic example of art form evolved over thousands of years and thus very much glorifies the ancient culture of Tamil Nadu and of India as well.

Tamil Nadu has nearly 33,000 ancient temples scattered on its land and some of them are known to be the biggest temples of the Hindu community. The Hindu Tamil temples located here dates back to 800 to 1400 years and still stands to be rock solid. Although, the historical records describe the scriptures to be 3,000 years old but the wide variety of complex and wealthy architecture of these temple makes it difficult to believe in their ages.

Most of the temples situated in Tamil Nadu were built during the historic and medieval period when Pallavas, Cholas, and Nayakas were the rulers of Deccan Plateau of India. Thus, these Hindu Tamil temples help you to get an immense insight of elaborate and brilliant sculptures of those times.

All these things point out towards the rich culture and heritage of Tamil Nadu.

Also Read: SC directs registration of Kerala temples having elephants

For the coming New Year, we have compiled a list of 10 famous temples of Tamil Nadu that will walk you through a great spiritual experience and offer you to learn about the mesmerizing past of the state. The astounding beauty does spellbind every visitor and tourist.

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Wikimedia Commons
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Wikimedia Commons
  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai

The ‘Meenakshi Amman Temple’ is devoted to Goddess Parvati in the character of Meenakshi and her partner, Lord Shiva in the character of Lord Sundareshwarar. It is one of the most ancient and famous temples of Tamil Nadu, as the temple was built around 6th century AD and a major portion of it got damaged in the 14th century during the Muslim invasion. The present structure was again restored to its pristine glory by the Nayak rulers. The whole temple is furnished with thousands of figures of gods, goddesses, and demons.

The Meenakshi Amman Temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture and is no less than an ancient architectural marvel. Thousands of devotees throng this temple every year during ‘Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival’ in the months of April-May.

2. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Brihadeeswarar Temple is one of the largest temples in India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. This Hindu Tamil temple was built during the reign of the Chola dynasty in 11th century AD and stands 216 ft. tall. The temple is known for one of its structure known as ‘Vimana’ and claimed to be the tallest structure in the world.

The Brihadeeswarar temple comes under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of ‘Great Living Chola Temples’. The Temple also professes of being the world’s first temple completely built from granite stone.

According to archaeological records, the exact is not known and dates back to the 10th century under the rule of Chola dynasty. Wikimedia Commons
According to archaeological records, the exact is not known and dates back to the 10th century under the rule of Chola dynasty. Wikimedia Commons

3. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is located on the Srirangam Island of the Tiruchirappalli city in Tamil Nadu. The temple is another gem built by the Dravidian architectures and is counted as the first amongst the 108 holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. It is spread across an area of over 150 acres with some dazzling tower gateways.

According to archaeological records, the exact is not known and dates back to the 10th century under the rule of Chola dynasty. The temple was plundered in the 14th century by Muslim invaders but was again restored by the Vijayanagara and Nayaka rulers in the 16th century.

Also Read: Arulmigu Masani Amman Temple: Temple of Justice in Tamil Nadu

4. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram

Ramanathaswamy Temple is located on the serene island of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. This temple is considered as one of the holy ‘Char Dhams’ and included in the 12 sacred Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. This Hindu Tamil temple is supposedly built by the Pandya rulers during the 12th century.

Such is the divineness of the temple that it is observed as one of the four primary pilgrimage destinations for Hindus. ‘Vishwalinga’ is located next to Ramalinga, the Shivlinga that is believed to be brought by Hanuman. The most amusing thing is the corridor hall which is acknowledged as the longest in India.

There is a mysterious water stream under the Shivlinga that continuously flows out. Wikimedia Commons
There is a mysterious water stream under the Shivlinga that continuously flows out. Wikimedia Commons

5. Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval

Jambukeswarar Temple was built during the reign of Chola empire and is located on the Srirangam Island. This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and represents a Dravidian style of architecture.

The temple holds 5 enclosures inside it and the innermost enclosure is the main sanctum housing the Shivlinga in the form of Appu Lingam. There is a mysterious water stream under the Shivlinga that continuously flows out. According to an ancient ritual, every day the priest of the temple dresses in saree and offers prayer to Lord Jambukeswarar which is a very unusual practice.

6. Kanchi Kailasanthar Temple, Kanchipuram

Kanchi Kailasanthar is believed to have been built under the rule of the Pallava Dynasty and dates back to the late 7th century- early 8th century. This Hindu Tamil temple is the oldest temple in Tamil Nadu and dedicated to Lord Shiva with 16 sided Shivlinga’s made of black granite stone. It is located in Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu and made entirely of sandstone.

There are various delicately carved sculptures of Lord Shiva and also walls of this temple have pictures of Goddess Parvati. The temple is said to attract a large number of pilgrims, especially during the occasion of Maha Shivratri.