Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple of Devi / Shakti in the form of Parvathi Amman Sannathi St, Peraiyur-625001

The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the major temple for Hindu female deities.Here,Sun and Moon appears close to each other.As the shrine of Lord Muruga stands in between the Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi, the temple is celebrated as Somaskanda Sthalam.Lord Vinayaka is praised as Koti Vinayaka .In this temple,Saptha Rishis occupy are their space with Veerasana Dakshinamurthi .Lord Brahmma and Lord Vishnu grace at the back of Shiva in the Lingodhbhava shrine,which gives devotee to worship three gods in one place.

Temple Etiquette

  • Footwear not allowed inside

    Footwear not allowed inside
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    Footwear to be left outside the temple. In summer be careful of the hot paving stones.

  • Prasad and donation

    Prasad and donation
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    Use your right hand to accept prasad and give donations. The left hand is considered unclean in India.

  • Dress conservatively

    Dress conservatively
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    Avoid shorts, skirts, tanktops and do not expose legs.

  • Avoid cellphones

    Avoid cellphones
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    Use of cell phones is restricted normally. Photography is restricted in some temples.

  • Circumambulation or pradakshina

    Circumambulation or pradakshina
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    Devotees are to walk around the sanctum sanctorum in a clockwise direction


About Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

The name "Minachchi" means fish-eyed and is derived from the words "mīna" meaning fish and "akṣi" meaning eyes. '

According to the ancient detail,King Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai performed the Putra Kameshti yagna, Goddess Parvati appeared out of the holy fire. The girl who came out of the yagna had three breasts. A voice from the heavens told the king not to worry about the abnormality and added that the third breast would vanish as soon as the girl met her future husband. The happy king named the girl "Tadaatagai" and as the heir to the throne. Tadaatagai was trained  in all the 64 sastras, the fields of science.

As the time came for crowning,she had to claim war in three worlds encompassing eight directions. After conquering Brahma's Abode, Sathyaloka, Vishnu's Abode, Vaikunta, and Devas' abode Amaravati, she advanced to Shiva's Abode Kailasha. She easily defeated the bhoota ganas  and Nandi, the celestial bull of Shiva, and headed to attack and conquer Shiva. The moment she looked at Shiva, she was unable to fight and bowed her head down due to shyness, and the third breast also vanished immediately. Tadaatagai came to know that Shiva was her destined husband. She also realized that she was the incarnation of Parvati. Both Shiva and Tadaatagai returned to Madurai and the King arranged the coronation ceremony of his daughter. r

The King arranged a Big Wedding Ceremony of Lord Shiva and Tadaatagai for which the whole Devas arrived in Madurai to make it their life blessing. As whole world arrived in Madurai, the earth got unbalanced. So, Lord Shiva asked Sage Agathiyar to visit the Northern side and make the earth balanced.

The temple is surrounded by the 45 acres.The temple is surrounded by gopurams .Totally, there are ten gopurams. The tallest of which, the famous southern tower is 170 m high and was built in 1559. The oldest gopuram is the eastern one, built by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan during 1216-1238. Each gopuram is a multi-storeyed structure, covered with thousands of idols of animals, gods and demons painted in bright hues.The outer gopuram presents steeply pyramidal tower encrusted with plaster figures, while the inner gopuram serves as the entrance to the inner enclosure of Sundareswarar shrine.The corridor surrounding the shrine of the Meenakshi is called kilikoondu Mandapam . 

There are two large cages full of squawking geen parrots.The Kambatadi Mandapam  with its seated Nandi  has various manifestations of Shiva carved.The Puthu Mandarpam constructed by Tirumala Nayak contains large number of sculptures. It is situated opposite to the east gopuram.

The Ashta Shakthi Mandapam  is the first hall in the entrance of Meenakshi shrine tower near to East Tower. Ashta indicates eight and Shakthi refers to goddess - the hall has statues of eight goddesses.The Viravasantharaya Mandapam is a large hall with huge corridors. To the south of this hall is the kalyana mandapam, to the south of the pillared hall, is where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated every year during the Chithirai Festival in mid-April.

The golden images of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are carried into the 16th century oonjal mandapam and placed on the swing every Friday at 5:30 p.m. The shrine has a 3-storied gopuram guarded by two stern dwarapalakas  and supported by golden, rectangular columns that bear lotus markings. Along the perimeter of the chamber, granite panels of the divine couple are present.The Mudali Pillai Mandapam  is a wide and long hall built by Muthu Pillai during 1613. On the pillars of the halls, there are fine sculptures depicting the story of Shiva taking the form of Bikshadanar to teach the sages a lesson.The Mangayarkarasi mandapam is a newly built hall situated opposite to the marriage halls and bears the name of saindy queen. To the south of Mangayarkarasi mandapam lies the Servaikarar Mandapam, a hall built by Marudu brothers in 1795. The Nagara mandapam (Hall of beating drums) lies opposite to Sundareswarar shrine was built by Achaya Rayar, the minister of Rani Mangammal in 1635. This hall is situated in the second corridor of the Meenakshi shrine at the western side. 

The Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam ("Hall of 100 pillars") has two rows of pillars carved with images of yali (mythological beast with body of lion and head of an elephant), commonly used as the symbol of Nayak power.It is situated to the north of Sundareswarar flag staff hall. The Thousand Pillar Hall contains 985 (instead of 1000) carved pillars. The hall was built by Ariyanatha Mudaliar in 1569 and blends engineering skill and artistic vision. Ariyanatha Mudaliar was prime minister and general of Viswanatha Nayak, the first Nayaka of Madurai (1559–1600). Each pillar in the hall is a carved monument of the Dravidian sculpture. The more prominent among the carved figures are those of Rati (wife of Kama), Karthikeya, Ganesha, Shiva as a wandering mendicant and endless number of yalis (mythical figures of lions). There is a Temple Art Museum in the hall where icons, photographs, drawings, and other exhibits of the 1200 years old history of the temple are displayed.Just outside this hall, towards the west, are the Musical Pillars. Each pillar, when struck, produces a different musical note.

Festivals

The most important festival associated with the temple is the "Meenakshi Thirukalyanam" (the divine marriage of Meenakshi) that is celebrated in Chitirai (April-May) every year. The wedding of the divine couple is regarded as a classic instance of south Indian female-dominated marriage, an arrangement referred as "Madurai marriage". The male dominated marriage is called "Chidambaram marriage", referring to Shiva's uncontested dominance, ritual and mythic, at the famous Shiva temple of Chidhambaram. The marriage brings together rural and urban people, deities and mortals, Saivas (those who worship Shiva) and Vaishnavas (those who worship Vishnu) in order to celebrate Meenakshi as the royal monarch. During the one month period, there are a number of events including the "Ther Thiruvizhah" (chariot festival) and "Theppa Thiruvizhah" (float festival). Major Hindu festivals like Navrathri and Shivrathri are celebrated in the temple. Like most Shakti temples in Tamil Nadu, the Fridays during the Tamil months of Aadi (July–August) and Thai (January - February) are celebrated in the temple by thousands of devotees. "Avani Moola Utsavam" is a 10-day festival mainly devoted to Sundareswarar describes his various Thiruvilayadal meaning Shiva's sacred games. 

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal

Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace Panthadi 1st St, Mahal Area, Madurai Main Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001, Madurai, Madurai (Dist), Tamil Nadu

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59, in the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles.

Athisayam

Athisayam Madurai - Dindigul Main Road, Paravai Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625010, Paravai, Madurai (Dist), Tamil Nadu

Athisayam is an amusement theme park.The park is located on a 70 acres site and features about 40 games and 20 water rides.

Idly

Madurai, Madurai (Dist), Tamil Nadu

It is one of the famous Indian food made of rice flour.

Jigarthanda

Madurai, Madurai (Dist), Tamil Nadu

Jigarthanda is a south Indian beverage. It originated in Madurai, a city in the Tamil Nadu state of India. In Hindi "Jigarthanda" translates to "Cool Heart". It is generally prepared and served by road side pull-inns in Madurai as refreshment during the Indian summer.

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