The most spectacular temple of south India, Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai dated around 3,500 years! Apparently, the town is built round the temple. The temple covers up 15 acres, and has 4,500 pillars and twelve towers — and it is massive!
The temple has four main towers and an entrances at every of the four directions (north, east, south, and west). The tallest one, the southern tower, stretches nearly a 170feet (52 meters) high. Within, which located 2 main shrines — one dedicated to god Meenakshi (also called god Parvati) and the other to her husband Lord Shiva.
Meenakshi’s shrine, has some emerald that was brought back from Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka within the tenth century. The temple conjointly contains a 1,000 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 are 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. 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, but 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.
How to Visit Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Temple is open daily from dawn till 10 p.m., aside from once it closes between 12:30 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 either in the morning and or in 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.
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 and will be manually searched by guards.
The temple’s main attraction is its beautiful Hall of 1,000 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 are value seeing similarly.
Tickets value ₹50 for foreigners and ₹5 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 ₹50 alone for immortal Meenakshi, and one hundred rupees for each deities.
Puja (Worship) Schedule:
The temple has regarding fifty mens, conduct 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.
For a guided tour of temple that is suggested, Madurai Inhabitants are 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 stay the night.
His gold feet brought out from her shrine, whereas his chariot is distributed to stay it balanced, and a puja (worship) is performed, amidst a lot of intonation, drums, horns, and smoke.
The night ceremony starts at 9:00 p.m. daily except weekday. On Fridays, it between 9.30-10.00 p.m. There also are twenty five electronic eco-friendly public bathrooms and twenty five water dispensing units for tourists to use.
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