The most spectacular and necessary of south India’s temples, Meenakshi temple in Madurai dated as so much as three,500 years!
Apparently, the town was engineered round the Shiva symbol that is within its sanctum. The temple advanced covers fifteen acres, and has 4,500 pillars and twelve towers — it’s massive!
The temple’s four main towers and entrances every face one in every of the four directions (north, east, south, and west). The tallest one, the southern tower, stretches nearly a hundred and seventy feet (52 meters) high! within, there area unit 2 main shrines — one dedicated to god Meenakshi (also called god Parvati) and also the alternative to her husband Lord Shiva.
Meenakshi’s shrine, that is inexperienced, homes a bit of emerald that was brought back from Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka within the tenth century. The temple conjointly contains a one,000 columned hall, temple art repository, holy golden lotus tank, musical pillars, stalls merchandising everything from plastic toys to bronze pictures of the god, and plenty of smaller shrines.
The bottom a part of the temple is created from granite, whereas its towers (gopuram) area unit made of rock. On them is Associate in Nursing astonishing array of sculptured and brilliantly painted gods, goddesses, animals, and demons. The renowned southern tower was made in 1559. The oldest tower, that is that the japanese one, was designed by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan from 1216 to 1238. However, a lot of of the work was dispensed throughout the reign of Tirumalai Nayak, from 1623 to 1655.
The sheer size of the temple implies that it is simple to urge lost within, and there is most to check and marvel over that you just may simply pay days there. it is a “living” temple, jam-packed with trade and a relentless stream of couples waiting to be married in its corridors.
Although non-Hindus will wander around within the temple, they can not enter the shrines.
Important Festivals at the Temple
Every year a renowned Chithirai pageant takes place within the streets encompassing the temple. This pageant reenacts the marriage of Lord Shiva (Sundareswarar) to god Meenakshi.
In Madurai, Meenakshi is thought to be Lord Vishnu’s sister. historically, Lord Vishnu has high caste followers, whereas Lord Shiva is worshiped by those of lower castes. what is attention-grabbing to notice is that her wedding to Lord Shiva unites folks of all castes, thus bridging the caste gap.
A Clean Temple
In October 2017, the Asian countryn government proclaimed that Meenakshi Temple was the most effective “Swachh picture Place” (Clean picture Place) in India, underneath its “Swachh picture Places” initiative to wash up the country’s heritage sites. A project to wash the edge of the temple.
The aim is to create the streets encompassing the temple utterly freed from plastic. Bins for perishable and non-biodegradable waste are placed in strategic locations, and sweeping vehicles can frequently clear the realm. There also are twenty five electronic eco-friendly public bathrooms and twenty five water dispensing units for tourists to use.
How to Visit Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Temple is open daily from dawn till ten p.m., aside from once it closes between twelve.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. this is often as a result of Hindu scriptures specify that Associate in Nursing abode of Lord Shiva should not stay open within the afternoon.
It’s best to go to the temple once within the morning and once within the evening (for the night ceremony). The temple’s main entrance is on the side, and non-Hindus will enter from there. Conservative dress, that doesn’t reveal legs or shoulders, is a must.
Temple Security and What you cannot Take within
No Cameras area unit allowed within the temple. Cell phones with cameras were allowable up till early Feb 2018, however have currently been illegal in conjunction with any things product of plastic. This, sadly, implies that it’s now not potential to require photos within the temple advanced.
You can safely store your camera and alternative belongings within a locker at the stall that minds shoes at the east entrance to the temple. once doing therefore, your bag are going to be scanned by Associate in Nursing setup and you will be manually searched by guards.
The temple’s main attraction is its beautiful Hall of one,000 Pillars.
In reality, there are solely 985 pillars, every with magnificently carved statues of yaali (a legendary lion and elephant hybrid) or Hindi deities. The hall was inbuilt 1569 by Ariyanatha Mudaliyar, general and chief minister of Madurai’s Nayak family line. Its colorfully painted ceiling is additionally fascinating and options a hanging wheel of your time. there is a set of musical pillars and Art depository that ar value seeing similarly.
Tickets value fifty rupees for foreigners and five rupees for Indians.
Only Hindus will come in the inner sanctums to envision the idol of immortal Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar.
If you do not need to attend for up to 3 hours within the free lines, it’s potential to pay further for “special darshan” tickets. These tickets give direct access to the idols and may be purchased within the temple.
They value fifty rupees alone for immortal Meenakshi, and one hundred rupees for each deities.
Puja (Worship) Schedule:
The temple has regarding fifty clergymen, conduct puja ceremonies six times on a daily basis as follows:
5 a.m. to 6 a.m. — Thiruvanandal pooja.
6.30 a.m. to 7.15 a.m. — Vizha pooja and Kalasandhi pooja.
10.30 a.m. to 11.15 a.m. — Thrukalasandhi pooja and Uchikkala pooja.
4.30 p.m. to 5.15 p.m. — Maalai pooja.
7.30 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. — Ardhajama pooja.
9.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Palliarai pooja.
If you would like to require a guided tour of the temple, that is suggested, Madurai Inhabitants ar terribly knowledgeable. as an alternative, you will find guides waiting at the temple entrance.
Pinakin(mobile App) conjointly provides downloadable audio guides on their app.
Night Ceremony :
One of the highlights at Meenakshi Temple, that non-Hindus will see and you actually should not miss, is that the night ceremony. nightly, a picture of Lord Shiva (in the shape of Sundareswarar) is allotted from his shrine by temple clergymen, in procession during a chariot, to his adult female Meenakshi’s shrine wherever he’ll pay the night.
His gold feet square measure brought out from her shrine, whereas his chariot is distributed to stay it cool, and a puja (worship) is performed, amidst a lot of intonation, drums, horns, and smoke.
The night ceremony starts at nine.00 p.m. daily except weekday. On Fridays, it gets current between 9.30-10.00 p.m. Madurai Inhabitants provide tours.