11 May 2007

The Meenakshi

The Meenakshi Temple of Madurai is a typical example of architectural excellence. It is actually a double temple, dedicated to Sundareshwarar (Siva) and his consort Meenakshi. The outer walls enclosing the shrines and other structures measure 259 mts x 221 mts and each of the four sides has a large gateway. The shrine which consists of the three famous compartments- cellar, vestibule and the assembly hall – is situated in the third and inner most enclosure, which has only one entrance on the east. The sanctum has a small tower rising above the flat roof of the other two compartments. All the courts and hall situated with the three enclosures have colonnades of pillars of pillars of bizarre designs. The most exquisitely wrought pillars belong to the covered court [Swami Singotnam) outside the entrance to the innermost enclosure. The figure-sculptures attched to some of the shafts are larger than life-size and of excellent workmanship.

To the south of the main sanctuary is the shrine dedicated to Meenakshi, the consort of the deity. Among the eleven gopurams in the temple, the largest and the best of them is the southern doorway rising to a total height of 61mts. The lofty base and the concave curves of the whole structure tend to give it a soaring quality greater than what its height suggests. The surface is pulsating mass of masonry, covered all over with plastic figures of deities and semi-divine characters freely drawn from the inexhaustible treasure-house of Hindu mythology.

Images of Meenakshi Temple

  1. Meenakshi temple, Madurai
  2. Inside Meenakshi temple
  3. Towers of Meenakshi Temple
  4. gopuram of Meenakshi Temple


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