4.5 / 5

Meenakshi Temple
📍 Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tamil NaduView map ›

🗓 Best Time To Visit:October to March

⏰ Open Hours:5:00 AM - 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM

🎟 Entry Fee:Free

📌 Things To Do:Explore the architecture, attend daily rituals, visit the temple museum

💰 Budget:N/A

👥 Traveller Types:Spiritual seekers, history and architecture enthusiasts, photographers

🌟 Known For:One of the largest temple complexes in Tamil Nadu, known for its stunning Dravidian architecture and vibrant festivals

📍 Distances:Madurai Airport (12 km), Madurai Junction Railway Station (2 km)

🎁 Souvenir Shops:Available within the temple premises

📸 Photography:Allowed, but not inside the main sanctum

🚗 Parking:Available nearby, but limited

Have questions about Meenakshi Temple?Ask the Tripoto Community ›

Meenakshi Temple: A Marvel of Madurai That You Must Visit

Are you looking for a destination that combines spirituality, culture, and beauty? If yes, then you should definitely visit the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, one of the oldest and most magnificent temples in India. This temple is not only a place of worship, but also a masterpiece of architecture, art, and history. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Meenakshi Temple, from its origin and significance, to its timings and rituals, to its festivals and celebrations, to its nearby places to visit. Whether you are a devotee, a history buff, or a nature lover, you will find something to admire and enjoy in this temple. So, read on and discover why the Meenakshi Temple is a must-visit attraction in Madurai.

Photo of Meenakshi Temple 1/2 by
(C) Abhi Bus

About the Temple

The Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, an incarnation of Parvati, and her consort Lord Sundareswarar, an incarnation of Shiva. The name Meenakshi means “the one who has fish-shaped eyes”, and refers to the legend that the goddess was born with fish-shaped eyes. The temple is also known as Meenakshi Amman Temple, Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, or Tiru-Aalavai.

The temple complex covers an area of 14 acres and has four main entrances, each facing a different direction. The most striking feature of the temple is its 14 towering gopurams (gateway towers), which are adorned with thousands of colorful sculptures of gods, goddesses, animals, and mythical creatures. The tallest gopuram is the southern one, which stands at 170 feet and has over 1500 statues.

The temple has several halls, shrines, and ponds, each with its own significance and beauty. Some of the notable ones are:

The Hall of Thousand Pillars: This hall has 985 pillars, each carved with intricate designs and figures. The hall also has a museum that displays various artifacts and paintings related to the temple and its history.

The Golden Lotus Pond: This pond is where the goddess Meenakshi is said to have emerged from a fire as a child. The pond has a golden lotus in the center, which is considered sacred and auspicious. The pond is also used for various rituals and ceremonies.

The Shrine of Meenakshi: This shrine is where the main idol of the goddess Meenakshi is installed. The idol is made of emerald and is adorned with jewels and flowers. The shrine is also where the famous wedding ceremony of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar takes place every year.

The Shrine of Sundareswarar: This shrine is where the main idol of Lord Sundareswarar is installed. The idol is made of silver and is decorated with garlands and ornaments. The shrine also has a lingam, a symbol of Shiva, which is said to have been installed by Lord Indra, the king of gods.

History and Mythology

The Meenakshi Temple has a rich and fascinating history and mythology, dating back to the ancient times. According to the legend, the goddess Meenakshi was born as the daughter of King Malayadwaja Pandya and Queen Kanchanamala, who ruled over Madurai. The king and queen had no children, so they performed a fire sacrifice to seek the blessings of the gods. To their surprise, a three-year-old girl emerged from the fire, with fish-shaped eyes and four arms. She was named Meenakshi, and was destined to become the queen of Madurai.

Meenakshi grew up to be a brave and beautiful princess, who excelled in all fields of knowledge and warfare. She conquered the whole world with her army, and reached the Himalayas, where she met Lord Shiva, who was meditating there. As soon as she saw him, she fell in love with him, and her extra arms and eyes disappeared. Shiva also recognized her as his consort, and agreed to marry her. They returned to Madurai, where their wedding was celebrated with great pomp and splendor. The divine couple then ruled over Madurai as Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, and blessed the people with prosperity and happiness.

The history of the temple is also intertwined with the history of Madurai and South India. The temple is said to have been originally built by King Kulasekara Pandya in the 6th century CE, and later expanded and renovated by various dynasties and rulers, such as the Cholas, the Vijayanagaras, and the Nayakas. The temple witnessed many invasions, wars, and natural disasters, but survived and thrived through the ages. The temple also influenced the culture and literature of the region, as many poets, saints, and scholars visited and praised the temple in their works.

Timings and Rituals

The Meenakshi Temple is open for visitors from 5:00 AM to 12:30 PM, and from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The best time to visit the temple is in the early morning or evening, when the temple is less crowded and more serene. The temple is also illuminated with lights at night, which creates a stunning sight.

The temple follows a strict dress code and entry fee for the visitors. Men are required to wear dhoti or pants, and women are required to wear saree or salwar kameez. Shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and skirts are not allowed. The entry fee for the temple is Rs. 50 per person, and Rs. 100 for a special darshan (viewing) of the deities.

The temple performs various rituals and ceremonies throughout the day, which are meant to honor and worship the deities. Some of the main rituals are:

Thiruvanandal pooja: This is the first pooja of the day, which takes place at 5:00 AM. The priests wake up the deities with chants and songs, and offer them milk, honey, and fruits.

Vizha pooja: This is the second pooja of the day, which takes place at 6:30 AM. The priests adorn the deities with fresh flowers, jewels, and clothes, and offer them rice, sweets, and coconut.

Kalasandhi pooja: This is the third pooja of the day, which takes place at 7:30 AM. The priests perform a fire sacrifice and offer the deities sandalwood paste, incense, and lamps.

Thrikalasandhi pooja: This is the fourth pooja of the day, which takes place at 10:30 AM. The priests offer the deities betel leaves, nuts, and fruits, and recite the Vedas and the Agamas.

Uchikkala pooja: This is the fifth pooja of the day, which takes place at 12:00 PM. The priests offer the deities cooked rice, vegetables, and curd, and perform aarti (waving of lamps).

Maalai pooja: This is the sixth pooja of the day, which takes place at 4:30 PM. The priests offer the deities garlands of jasmine, lotus, and rose, and sing hymns and songs.

Ardhajama pooja: This is the seventh pooja of the day, which takes place at 7:30 PM. The priests offer the deities milk, ghee, and sugar, and perform aarti and camphor.

Palliarai pooja: This is the last pooja of the day, which takes place at 9:30 PM. The priests offer the deities water, flowers, and turmeric, and put them to sleep with chants and songs.

Festivals and Celebrations

The Meenakshi Temple is famous for its festivals and celebrations, which attract thousands of devotees and tourists every year. Some of the major festivals are:

Chithirai Festival: This is the most important and grand festival of the temple, which takes place in the month of Chithirai (April-May). The festival commemorates the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, and lasts for 12 days. The festival involves various processions, rituals, and cultural events, such as the flag hoisting, the coronation of Meenakshi, the arrival of Sundareswarar, the celestial wedding, the chariot festival, and the float festival. The festival culminates with the Kallazhagar Vaigai Aatril Ezhuntharulal, which is the crossing of the river Vaigai by Lord Kallazhagar, the brother of Meenakshi.

Navratri Festival: This is another important festival of the temple, which takes place in the month of Purattasi (September-October). The festival celebrates the nine forms of the goddess, such as Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, and lasts for nine days. The festival involves various poojas, offerings, and cultural events, such as the kolu (display of dolls), the bommai kalyanam (marriage of dolls), the ayudha pooja (worship of weapons and tools), and the vijayadashami (victory of good over evil).

Teppam Festival: This is a unique festival of the temple, which takes place in the month of Thai (January-February). The festival celebrates the float festival of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, and lasts for three days. The festival involves the idols of the deities being taken on a boat ride around the golden lotus pond, accompanied by music and fireworks. The festival is also known as the Theppotsavam or the Float Festival.

Avani Moolam Festival: This is another significant festival of the temple, which takes place in the month of Avani (August-September). The festival commemorates the day when Lord Shiva performed the cosmic dance of creation, preservation, and destruction, known as the Ananda Tandava, in the presence of Meenakshi and other gods and goddesses. The festival involves the idol of Sundareswarar being taken in a procession to the hall of thousand pillars, where the priests recite the Thiruvilayadal Puranam, a collection of 64 stories that depict the miracles and leelas of Shiva in Madurai.

Photo of Meenakshi Temple 2/2 by
(C) Britannica

Nearby Places to Visit

If you are visiting the Meenakshi Temple, you can also explore some nearby places that are worth a visit. Some of them are:

Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This palace is a stunning example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, built by King Thirumalai Nayak in the 17th century. The palace has a grand courtyard, a throne chamber, a dance hall, and a museum that displays various paintings, sculptures, and weapons. The palace also hosts a sound and light show every evening, which narrates the history and glory of the Nayak dynasty.

Gandhi Museum: This museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. The museum showcases various exhibits, such as photographs, letters, books, and personal belongings of Gandhi, including the blood-stained cloth that he wore when he was assassinated. The museum also has a library, a gallery, and a khadi store.

Alagar Koyil: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped here as Alagar or Kallazhagar. The temple is located at the foothills of the Alagar Hills, about 21 km from Madurai. The temple is known for its exquisite sculptures, paintings, and carvings, depicting various scenes from the Hindu epics. The temple also has a sacred spring, called the Nupura Gangai, which is believed to have healing powers.


The Meenakshi Temple is a marvel of Madurai that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. The temple is not only a place of worship, but also a place of wonder, where you can witness the beauty, the history, and the culture of Madurai. The temple will leave you spellbound with its majestic gopurams, its splendid halls, its divine shrines, and its vibrant festivals.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Madurai and experience the Meenakshi Temple for yourself.

Meenakshi Temple Reviews

Madhurai Meenakshi amman temple also has open and closing times i.e 5AM to 12:30PM and 4PM to 9:30PM. Non-Hindus are not allowed in main temple. Everyone should maintain dresscode. We reached Madhurai by 3PM, so we first had lunch and went to temple by 4:30PM. One need to walk for 5 min from car parking to temple through shops selling cotton sarees. Madhurai Meenakshi amman temple is dedicated to Meenakshi a form of parvati built by Pandyan dynasty. The meenakshi temple also includes Lakshmi, Krishna, Rukmini, Brahma, saraswati and other epic deities, as well as artwork showing narratives from Hindu texts. The temple Gopurams are colour full and has beautiful carvings. Temple is huge and takes time to visit, like other this temple also has a pond. Entrace fee is 20 INR for Indians, VIP tickets also available. Mobiles, bags and leather purses and belts are not allowed inside there are stores available at entrance. By the time we came out it is almost 7 PM. We did some shopping and left for Kanyakumari. We booked a hotel in Rameswaram for that night but as we skipped that place we searched for stay in Kanyakumari. Again booking.comhelped me to find a homestay. We had our dinner on the way and reached homestay by 11PM. Phoniex Homestay Kanyakumari is not far from beach, it was clean and comfortable. We were satisfied with the rooms, we were so tired that we checked-in and directly went to sleep.
We had a traditional Tamil Nadu style meals at pure vegModern restaurant, near to south gopuram of Meenakshi amman temple. Its worth full meals at 100/-, every items satisfies the taste buds of every food lover We are not allowed to carry mobile phones inside temple and hence we can deposit it near clock room near temple entrance So could not click pictures in camera, but they rest in our heart for ever. At Meenakshi temple, we can take ticket for quick darshan 50/- for Meenakshi amma and 50/- for Sundareswarar darshan. We can witness 3D paining after coming out of Sundareswarar darshan. There is a Shiva lingam painting on the ceiling of temple that appears to be looking towards us when seen from all 4 directions which was done in 2009. Local guide or audio guide can give few more such specialties within the temple I cannot forget to mention about 'Jigardanda', Madurai special food when writing this. It depends on individual if they like it or not unlike other things this has a special flavor. After tasting few more snacks at nearby shops, we started towards Pillayarpatti
Meenakshi Amman temple - I headed straight to the temple after visiting the dam. It was pouring in heavily that night and lucky enough for me, I had a good darshan. Since the town is small, all the places to visit, boarding and lodging in close vicinity.To eat: Interestingly, the origin of famous south Indian breakfast Idly was at Madurai. After scouting for best places to eat,I came up with a few options to savor my taste buds. Vegetarian:- 1. Sabareesh Restaurant 2. Lakshmi Bhavan Non vegetarian lovers:- 1. Palmgrove restaurant 2. Carnival RestaurantTo stay: All the hotels at Madurai are in close vicinity to the temple. They are within walkable stretch and the localities are friendly enough to guide us the path. The last two times I visited Madurai, I stayed at the following hotels 1. Treebo Berry's boutique 2. Purple tree west Marret Both the hotels are decent, affordable and clean. While I had an issue with Treebo with payment which wasted two hours of my time in argument, stay at Purple tree hotel was neat and accommodative with no issues whatsoever.
When you are in Madurai the first thing that you have to visit is the World Famous Meenakshi Temple. Located in the center of the city and known for its historic and religious significance, this was one of the biggest temples on our South India Temple Tour. The temple is famous all over the world for its belief in Hindu mythology Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. The architecture of this temple is simply brilliant and you are left in awe of the creativity and craftsmanship of people during that era. The temple derives its name from the Sanskrit work Meenakshi meaning fish-eyed and attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. The temple can be easily reached by bus, rail or flight from all major cities in the country, the most popular being Chennai.
Got up early, dressed traditionally and went to the Meenakshi Amman temple. Since photography is prohibited inside, no pics of that. The temple is very big and spacious and always crowded. Mornings are the best time to visit. There's a brass market around the temple. Explore that. Traveled from Madurai to Rameshwaram via the scenic Pamban bridge. The sea on both sides is in direct contrast to each other. Checked-in in Hotel star palace. Went to Dhanushkoti all the way up to the very end. Its beautiful and very windy. Also went to Kalam arcade- thats a shop on President Kalam's house which also has a museum worth visiting. Bought the whitest shankh with a beautiful sound. Beware of duplicates. A lot of people cash-in on his name.
Photos of Meenakshi Temple
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