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Meenakshi Somasundareswarar Temple
About Amman  -  Amman Image Gallery
Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 5 Days
Location : Madurai.
Main Deity : Somadundareswarar and Meenaksi Amman.
Nearest Town : Madurai District : Madurai State : Tamil Nadu
The temple enclosed by walls 847 ft by 800 ft are crowned by four soaring gopurams on all sides. The highest is the south tower rising to 152 feet. The west gopuram is carved with stucco figures from Hindu mythology while the north has only specimens of temples and vimanas.

The Ashta-Sakthi mandapam deriving it’s name from the 8 (Ashta) Goddesses adorning the pillars on both sides. A full history pertaining to the cause of the temple can be learnt from the figures carved in the niches, the birth and reign of Meenakshi, her marriage with Siva.

From this mandapam, one can pass to the Meenakshi Nayaka mandapam, the doorway being flanked by Ganesa and Subramania. At its end is a huge Thiruvasi containing several oil lamps and when fully lighted the sight offered will be soul stirring.

The Siva as Bhiksadana is the most enthralling. Wielding the Udukkai in his right back arm, holding the Trisula across his shoulders, feeding grass to the galloping deer. With his right leg slightly bent, he seems to step right from his pedestal towards the spectator, who stands wonder struck at the beauty. Next comes the Golden Lily Tank, which is the best place to view the full edifice from the interior. Encircled by a roofed colonnade with frescoes painted on its walls and a fine flight of steps leading to the water which breeds no frogs or fish, it is an important adjacent to the shrine.
To the north of the shrine of the Goddess is the shrine housing Lord Sundraresvara. A peculiarity is that though generally the Isvara is prominent in all temples, here the popular saying is ‘Minakshi Temple’. The outer corridor contains Nayanmars and festival images of high artistry. In the west corridor are some marble figures presented by the Raja of Benares. These images are replicas of all the idols in Benares.

Further on is the room where the precious jewels of the temple are kept. The note worthy thing is that not only Hindu devotees gifted jewels but also aliens who profess a different faith. The Stump of an old tree is the Sthala Vriksha – the kadamba tree. The temple has four artistic mandapas. The Kilikattu Mandapam rests on monolithic pillars worked with Yalis and Pandavas with Drowpadi.

The Kambattadi Mandapam exhibits sculptures from saivite mythology. The Rishabarudanar – Siva seated with Parvati on his mount the Bull; the Lingodbhava form, the Ravana Anugraha Murthi – Ravana attempting to lift Mount Kailas with all his might, with Siva and Uma seated a top; Hariharan – revealing the fusion of Siva and Vishnu to instill religious toleration; Dakshinamurthi – Siva as Yogin facing south the Urduva Thandava – Siva lifting his right leg t the crest of his head to vanquish Kali in a dance; and Kali – the multi armed Kali dancing in frenzy.
The Thousand pillared halls has only 985 columns but they are so ingeniously constructed that the interior view is not blocked by any pillar obstructing and out of alignment. Within the thousand-pillared hall are Siva as Kirata and Saraswathi with her veena. Rathi and Manmatha adorn another two pillars. Pudu Mandapam has 124 columns each different from the other, is about 25 ft high and contains unrivalled specimens of Yalis and equestrian figures. A pillar exhibits the legend of the stone elephant eating sugar cane from the hands of a saint, who was none else but Siva performing one of his miracles