Meenakshi Temple

Madurai, Tamil Nadu


First sight of the tempel tower, the Gopuram at the southern main entrance

Gopurams seen from the roof of a nearby handicraft shop


The Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple

This huge templecomplex is dedicated to Lord Shiva known here as Sundreswara, the handsome God, and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi, the “fisheyed Goddess”.


The complex is surrounded by a high wall enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareswara, surrounded by a number of pillared halls. The Thousand Pillared Hall with 985 beautifully carved and decorated columns, dating back to the 16th century, now serves as a museeum, which display bronce and stone images.


Impressive are the 12 gopuras or pyramidal gates. The towers, ranging from 45m to 50m, are are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters, painted in vivid colours. These towering gates mark the entrance to the temple complex at four cardinal points, North, South, East and West. Lesser Gopuras lead to the sanctums of the main deities.


The temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nanak. It’s history goes back to the 7th - 10th centuries, to the time when Madurai was a Pandyan capital. It was extensively added to between the 14th and 18th centuries.


The temple complex covers an area of six hectars.


In this temple it is custom to honour the goddess first and most pilgrims therefore enter the temple at the southeastern corner through the Ashta Shakti Mandapam and proceeds directly to the Meenakshi shrine.

In the Meenakshi shrine lies the bed to which Meenakshi’s “husband”, in the form of Sundareswara, is brought every night from his own shrine.

Wiev of the huge temple area with the golden roof of Meenakshi shrine


monster images with protruding eyes and horns, mark the
arched ends of the vaulted roofs and serve as guardian deities

Impressive stocco forming the entrance of the Gopuram

Openings allow light to enter the hollow chambers at each level


The Stucco

The temples highly decorated Gopurams (temple towers) range in the height from 45m to 50m and the tallest is the southern tower. The Gopurams are highly adorned with carvings of celestial deities, mythical animals and monsters, painted in vivid colours

This most colourful stucco, depicting the life of the Hindu deities, are repaired, repainted and ritually reconsecrated every 12 years.


Life in the temple yard

Workers resting in the the shade of a Mantapam

Palmist at work also in the shade


Naga Murtis (snake idols) at one of the main entrances


Ganapati, the highly revered Elephant God

The temple elephant

The temple elephant take her daily walk in the huge corridors,
to the great amusement  of the visitors in the temple. 

The coin ritual is very popular and a little scary! Give the elephant a coin
and she will bless you by touching your head with the trunk.

Ganapati - Ki Jay!


The Potramarai Kulam or the golden Lotus Tank


The Potramarai Kulam is surrounded by a colonade with steps (ghatt) leading to the water and with the golden lotus, made of several kilos of gold, as the eyecatching center of the lotuspond.

This golden Lotus, made of pure gold speeks for itself


Huge pond in Madurai city from where the materials for the Meenakshi Temple were gathered.
Stones were cut in this quarry and transported to the nearby temple construction   ►  created by BP