On the very first day of our stay at Madurai we visited the famous Hindu temple i.e. the Meenakshi Temple that stands as an epitome of the rich historic heritage of the city. I am quite interested in visiting historic and ancient places and hence, was really eager to visit the Meenakshi temple, which is also colloquially known as the Meenakshi Amman temple. Located at the southern bank of the River Vaigai the temple is a place of spirituality and devotion.
The presiding goddess of the temple is Goddess Parvati, who is known as Meenakshi and also Lord Shiva her consort. Lord Shiva is known as Sundareswarar in this ancient temple. The Meenakshi temple serves as the lifeline and heart of the ancient city of Madurai that is around 2500 years old. The temple has been mentioned extensively in the Tamil literature. The present structure of the temple was built long back between 1623 CE and 1655 CE.
The temple houses 14 gateway towers known as Gopurams that are around 45 to 50 meters tall. Other distinctive features of the Meenakshi temple include two golden sculptured vimanas and the shrines that are made over the sanctums of the presiding deities. These shrines are called garbhagrihas. The temple is one of the most famous places of tourist attraction and pilgrimage. It handles around 15000 visitors on daily basis. Devotees from all parts of India flock to this pious site to offer their prayers to goddess Meenakshi and lord Sundareswarar.
Fridays are the busiest in this temple as the crowd might increase to 25000 visitors on this day. The temple earns huge revenue of around 60 million per year. The temple comprises of numerous sculptures of gods and goddesses. Around 33000 sculptures are estimated to be housed in the temple. It was a delight to see such a wonderful place of historic significance.
Due to its exquisiteness and grandeur, the Meenakshi temple was also nominated among the list of top 30 New Seven Wonders of the World. This temple is one of the most prominent landmarks of Madurai and beckons tourists from all parts of the globe.