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Located in the heart of Madurai, the Meenakshi Temple was built in the honour of the goddess Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Shiva. The word Meen means fish and Akshi means eyes. Originally it was constructed by Kulasekara Pandya but the credit for its lavish aura goes to the Nayaks, a great ruler of Madurai. The Meenakshi temple represents the multitude of faiths, vibrancy of festivities, abundance of Tamil literature and wealth of sculpture. It is an architectural and sculptural splendour which truly represents the cultural ethos of India.
The temple has been a major tourist attraction for both the Indian and International travellers. It holds the position of an important destination of Hindu pilgrims. The cultural and religious life of the locals revolves around the temple. It is even said that the people of Madurai wake up by the chant of hyms in the temple and not by the nature's call.
Meenakshi Temple is the landmark of Tamil Nadu. There is a mythological story attached to the temple. Malayadwaja Pandya, the ruler of Madurai then had no heir to his throne so he performed several yagnas (sacrifices made before a sacred fire). Finally a little girl child arose from the fire who was an incarnation of goddess Parvati. She had three breasts and had fish- shaped eyes. The king was assured that the day she meets her consort, her third breast would disappear. Once she went to the Himalayas where she met Lord Shiva. On meeting him, her third breast disappeared and then they got married to each other. After marriage they came to live at the temple made by the king Malayadwaja Pandya and since then the temple is known as the Meenakshi Sundareshwaram temple.
The temple is home to huge gopurams, the tallest being 48 meters in height. Numerous imposing sculptures have been carved inside the temple. Impressive mandaps, tanks, shrines, images of goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are the attractions here. It is said that the wedding of Shiv and Parvati was solemnized in this temple. The anniversary of the deities is celebrated every year in the temple as a festival. The festival is called Meenakshi Kalyanam and is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (April- May).
Join Kipling to witness the splendour of the twin-temple complex. Its historicity brings out the best of the bygone era. Traditions here overshadow modernity till date.