The famous Meenakshi Amman Temple on the southern bank of the River Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, India, is the point where the city streets presume to emit out like rose petals. This temple holds great mythological and historical significance. Lord Shiva as Sundareshwarar married Parvati(Meenakshi) at this temple.
- 1 The Architecture style of Meenakshi Amman Temple
- 2 Thousand Pillar Hall-Meenakshi Amman Temple
- 3 Golden Lotus Pond History of Meenakshi Amman Temple
- 4 Meenakshi Temple Darshan Tickets
- 5 Meenakshi Temple Night Ceremony
- 6 Chithirai Festival at Meenakshi Amman Temple
- 7 Street Food in Madurai
- 8 Shopping at Madurai
The Architecture style of Meenakshi Amman Temple
The temple has 12 grand Gopurams and 33,000 sculptures of gods, demons, etc. portraying stories of ancient mythology. What differs it from other temples in Tamilnadu is that it has four Gopurams facing in all the four directions and five entrances. The design of five entrances is on five basic senses of the human body. And because of this, the architectural allure of Madurai Meenakshi Temple is an art of classic beauty.
The Massive Structure has sparkling paintings and murals adorning its walls and ceilings. This represents the exquisite beauty of Princess Meenakshi and her wedding to Lord Shiva.
Thousand Pillar Hall-Meenakshi Amman Temple
The Thousand- Pillar Hall is an architectural wonder with two rows of richly carved pillars and columns made up of single pieces of grey granite rock. Interestingly, some pillars produce musical notes when gently tapped. These pillars were so skillfully installed and if you stand near the pillar at one end and gaze at the rows of pillars on your side, their perfect alignment from top to the bottom will take your breath away. One interesting fact is that there is absolutely no echo in and around the hall. The total noise does not exceed a specific level (40 DB in the quiet area and 80 DB in the crowded area) which would make the visitors feel uncomfortable.
Expert says that there is a built-in mechanism for controlling the echo like the distribution of vents, the allocation of open space all around, and the huge icons on the unpolished pillars. There is an Art Museum for art lovers. The tickets cost Rs. 5 for Indians and Rs.50 for foreigners. Visit the hall before 8:00 PM. You can watch a glimpse of Thousand Pillar Hall at https://youtu.be/6NoOooXg-bU.
James Fergusson in his book ” History of Indian and Eastern Architecture” says, “It is not the number of pillars but their marvelous elaboration which makes this hall a wonder of the place”. This book is outstanding. It has covered every topic of the eastern and southern history of architecture. I have read many books, but it is the best book I ever read of History of Architecture. There are many sketches in this book. It is a kind of story explanation you never get bored with this book.
Golden Lotus Pond History of Meenakshi Amman Temple
A sacred pond with the golden lotus in the center within the temple complex, which appeared to be the site of many miracles. According to Tamil mythology, the lake used to assess the work of writers in ancient times. Well-written documents purported to float, whereas poorly written ones purported to submerge in water. As the legend says, here Lord Shiva fulfilled the desires of a stork that this sacred pond devoid of fish or any other marine life that lives in water. It is still the same today. The interesting feature is that water is always there in the pond despite the scarcity of rains and scorching of the sun.
Meenakshi Temple Darshan Tickets
As I entered inside the divine area, the crowd offering prayers were in full swing. The fragrance of the incense sticks flowed freely, soothing our mind and soul, as the crowd chanted prayers and made offerings to the deity. In the inner sanctum, only Hindus can see the idols of Lord Sundereshwarar and Goddess Meenakshi. We purchased special Darshan tickets to reduce our waiting time from three hours to one-half hours. These tickets cost Rs. 50/- for Darshan to Goddess Meenakshi and Rs. 100/- for both the deities.
Meenakshi Temple Night Ceremony
The Madurai Meenakshi Temple, glowing with a beautiful lit up oil lamps all along its sides in the evening. The diamond nose-ring of the idol of goddess Meenakshi shimmering in the light emanating from the oil lamp fascinates me. One of the most beautiful sights to experience is Going to Bed Ceremony. Every night the priests carry the image of Lord Sundareshwarar (Shiva) in a chariot from his shrine to Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) shrine. Here, Lord Shiva spends the entire night in the chamber (made up of silver). This lively night ceremony starts along with horns, drums, and gathering of devotees. Every day the night ceremony Puja (Palliarai Puja) starts from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM except Friday. On Friday, two unconventional kinds of ceremonies performed, one at (6:30 PM to 7:00 PM) and the other at (9:30 PM to 10:00 PM).
Chithirai Festival at Meenakshi Amman Temple
The Madurai city is famous for its fairs and festivals. One of the biggest festivals is the thirty days Chithirai Festival, which falls in April-May. Every year the occurrence of the divine wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwar (Shiva) attracts many visitors. The festival begins on the second day of the Lunar month which is just two days after the new moon. The Grand procession takes place on the Masi streets of Madurai. Beautifully decorated umbrellas and fans in authentic style and local artists performing skits in mythological scenes add charm to the festival.
Street Food in Madurai
The city of Madurai is famous for its street food and has a lot to offer to the food lovers. We stroll down the city streets to explore a variety of food stalls.
Savoring a pipe hot and thin crispy golden dosa in one of the roadside stalls ‘Ayyappan Dosai Kadai’ is a haven feeling. It has a collection of forty distinct types.
Another famous haunt ‘Murugan Idly Shop‘ where one can sit and watch people pouring hot tadka over the sambhar, serving hot fluffy idlis with tasty coconut chutney. The plates get vacant within seconds as the idlis melt in the mouth and leave you to crave more.
Madurai’s must-try signature drink ‘Jil Jil Jigarthanda‘ is a unique dessert. It is a very sweet flavorsome concoction of tree gum, fruit syrups, almond jellies, and thick milk. As the name suggests, it cools one heart and is available only in summers.
Meenakshi Amman Temple Timings
It normally takes two to three hours to visit the temple. The best time to visit Meenakshi Temple in the early morning at 4:30 AM and in the night after 8:00 PM. On weekdays you can visit the temple between 8:30 to 10:00 AM. The crowd is less and you can get peaceful and full darshan of both the deities. The temple is closed in the afternoon. Morning Timings are 4:30 AM to 12:30 PM and the Evening Timings are 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
Camera at Meenakshi Amman Temple
Nowadays, no cameras or mobile phones allowed inside the temple. Submit it in the locker outside the temple.
There is no specific dress code in the Meenakshi Temple. But they allow modest dressing. Sleeveless Shirts, Shorts, knee-length trousers, skirts not encouraged.
How to Reach Madurai
The Madurai Airport (IXM) is 10 km from the city. With the help of a cab, you can reach there. You can take regular buses (AC and non-AC) from Bus Station Madurai, Madurai by Pass according to your schedule and budget. The Railway Station is centrally located and you can get regular trains from major cities of the country.
Railway Station: The nearest Railway station is Tirupparangundram (TDN), Madurai Junction (MDU), Kudalnagar (KON).
Best Time to Visit Madurai: The climate is hot and dry for most of the year. And therefore, the best time to visit is during winter (October to March).
Watch the full video of Meenakshi Amman Temple where you will find various artistic aspects of temple, it’s history, how to visit the temple, etc.which will surely leave an indelible remark in your memory. Please click on the link: https://youtu.be/-mfYX6EMP9s
Shopping at Madurai
Shopping at Madurai is a unique experience that is worth having. From traditional handicrafts items, paintings, Elephant tusk carvings, bangles, sarees, etc. Madurai has it all.
Thanjavur painting is a classical South Indian painting style, originated from the town of Thanjavur. These paintings made up of vibrant colors coated with several layers of glittering 22-carat gold foil. They embellished with glass beads, pearls, and precious gemstones. What distinguished them from other paintings is the embossing made over the sketches with gemstones and the three-dimensional effect. These paintings made with pure gold leaves and semi-precious stones seem to glow in the gloomy room. They are costly as it requires enormous efforts to get complete from the artists. You can purchase it here. Please click it on the image below.
Bronze statue of Hindu Gods.
The Bronze statues of South India are famous worldwide. These statues will surely bring tranquility in any meditation room, home, and temple. You can purchase it here. Click on the image below.
Brass Lamps for Puja
Illuminate your home with this beautiful, shiny finish oil lamp which makes it a very attractive and decorative element in the house. It is a very good choice for return gifts during ceremonies like marriage, home warmings, temple festivals, etc. You can purchase it here. Click on the image below.