India is a land of temples. There is no shortage of temples here.
Thousands of temples with mythological backgrounds awaken the divinity within us. Similarly, Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, also known as Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple, is one of the oldest and most important temples in India. Located in the city of Madurai, this temple holds great mythological and historical significance. Lord Shiva is believed to have assumed the form of Sundareshwar and married Parvati at the temple site. Known for its magnificent and awe-inspiring architecture, Meenakshi Temple has been nominated as one of the wonders of the world but unfortunately was not included in the list of seven wonders of the world. However, this temple is one of the wonders of India. It is one of the major attractions of South India where thousands of devotees gather every day. During the 10-day Tirukalyana festival, the temple attracts more than 1 million devotees. It is a historical site on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu, India. The historic Hindu temple is considered one of India’s most important and oldest temples. This temple has a lot of mythological and historical significance for the people of India and has wonders within it.
Happily, the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, also known as the Taj Mahal of the South, is majestic in terms of its religious and historical significance and magnificent architecture. It is one of the most visited temples in India and a must-visit place in South India. Some religious texts belonging to the 1st to 4th century C.E. speak of the temple and describe it as the central structure of the city. Texts from the early 6th century describe the temple as a place where scholars met to discuss important matters. The temple as it stands today was rebuilt during the 16th century as it was destroyed by Muslim invaders.
It has a history dating back to the 7th century and is mentioned in ancient Tamil literature. Its architectural beauty and sculptures that attract tourists made it among the nominated sites. This temple is visited by Tamil Hindus who go to worship Meenakshi and Sundareshwar. It is estimated to have fourteen gateways with over 33,000 sculptures and two golden sculptures. Most notable is the sculpture of Nataraja on the silver altar. The Mahadwara is found on the southern side of the sanctum sanctorum and is 170 feet high. The sculptures in the temple are the most popular attractions. The thousand-pillared hall, also known as the Aayiram Kal Mandapam, is a magnificent piece of architecture. Because it is believed to be built from a single rock. Visitors can enjoy a variety of ancient paintings regardless of their beliefs. So it is an ideal tourist destination as they enjoy every part of the temple without any discrimination. Meenakshi Temple has the largest temple complex in South India. The temple has a 6-hectare complex, making it one of the largest temple complexes in the whole of India.
According to popular legend, the temple is located in the center of the city and is believed to have been built by Lord Indra. The Meenakshi Temple features hand-crafted sculptures. Sculptures are known as Shilpa Shastra. The temple is believed to have been looted and destroyed in the 14th century and was rebuilt by Vishwanath Nayaka in 1560 when the Pandyan Empire was in power. It was the capital of Madurai about 2500 years ago and was ruled by Tirumalai Nayaka. The temple has unique architecture designed with sculptures and ancient scriptures. It was built using Dravidian architecture, a Hindu architectural style common in the southern states of India. Dravidian architecture is characterized by raised entrances on two or more sides, pillared halls, and covered porches. In the center of the temple, there are two shrines for Meenakshi and Sundareshwar.
Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to the goddess with fish eyes and three breasts. The term ‘fish eyes’ is used in Tamil poetry to mean a perfect pair of eyes. While other temples in India are dedicated to male deities, this temple is dedicated to the female goddess Meenakshi. The idol of Meenakshi has three breasts, it is believed that she was born with three breasts, the curse is lifted when she finds a suitable husband. Purana says that the third chest disappeared after meeting Sundareshwar. The presiding deity of this temple is Meenakshi, a form of Goddess Parvati, carved in emerald stone.
Rainwater Harvesting System of Madurai Meenakshi
One of the amazing things about this temple is that the rain-water pipes are disguised as pillars and you can see the rain-water pipe. Water collected from the rainwater harvesting system installed in the temple flows into the Golden Lotus Tank, which is partially visible to visitors and the rest of the tank is underground. It is not an easy task to collect the water of the temple in a tank spread over an area of 12 acres on one side of the temple premises. Add to this the fact that the earth needs a certain slope to use gravity to move a corner of the temple. This is due to water draining into the hole from the wash basin sink or tub. There should be a slope so as not to disturb the devotees coming to the temple premises. The amazing civil engineering of the ancient Hindus worked here. The slope is decided so as not to inconvenience anyone in the temple premises, generally, a slope of 1-2 percent works well. This explains why this temple is spread over an area of 12 acres. Madurai is one of the driest regions and lies in the rain-shadow region of the Indian subcontinent. Rain-shadow areas generally receive less rainfall because they are on the other side of the hills. Most of them are sculpted by pouring out the richness of fine architectural skill.
Indeed, India is a magnificent land of extraordinarily beautiful culture, art and heritage. Countless ancient temples in India are beautiful and extraordinary.For centuries, the beauty of temples has mesmerized the world. If we look back at our history, man has carved innumerable temples. Because, there is a connection between God and man, temples are linked as structures of divine and spiritual activities. The whole art of building temples is not just an art; It is a science. We are blessed to be born here.