Meenakshi Amman Temple also referred to as Meenakshi Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati in the form of Meenakshi and her consort and Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Sundareshwarar.
According to a legend, king Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai performed a Yajna seeking a son for succession but a daughter who is born out of the fire. The girl grows up, the king crowns her as the successor. She married Lord Shiva and she takes her true form of Meenakshi and both ruled the city of Madurai as Lord Sundareshwar and Goddess Meenakshi. The marriage of Meenakshi and Shiva was the greatest event, with all the gods, goddesses and living beings reunited. Vishnu gives away his sister Meenakshi’s hand to Shiva at the wedding.
This temple was in 1190-1216 CE by King Kulasekara Pandya. A major portion of the temple was damaged in the 14th century by the Muslim raider Malik Kafur who looted the temple of its valuables. The current structure of the temple dates back to the 16th century when the Nayak rulers restored it to its pristine glory.
The temple of the Dravidian architecture and temple complex is spread over about 14 acres. The courtyard is close to a square with each side of about 800 feet, but more accurately a rectangle with one side about 50 feet long. The temple has 14 Gopurams (gateway towers) which is richly sculpted and decorated that can be seen from a far distance. Mostly the Gopurams heights range from 45–50 meters, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 meters (170 ft). In addition to the Gopurams, the intricately carved figures and depicted scenes from Indian mythology in the hallways add to the artistic charm of the temple. The temple’s thousand pillared hall is again an engineering marvel with each pillar built of a single granite rock producing a different musical note when tapped.
Tirukalyanam Festival / Chithirai Thiruvizha celebrated in the months of April-May. During the ‘Tirukalyanam Festival,’ which takes place over 10 days, the temple attracts more than a million devotees.
Everday : 5:00 AM – 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Puja (Worship) Schedule
The temple has about 50 priests, who conduct puja ceremonies six times a day as follows:
- 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. — Thiruvanandal pooja.
- 6.30 a.m. to 7.15 a.m. — Vizha pooja and Kalasandhi pooja.
- 10.30 a.m. to 11.15 a.m. — Thrukalasandhi pooja and Uchikkala pooja.
- 4.30 p.m. to 5.15 p.m. — Maalai pooja.
- 7.30 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. — Ardhajama pooja.
- 9.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Palliarai pooja.
Venmani Rd, Sellur, Madurai 625002 India
How to reach the temple:
The temple is only 10 minutes away by auto-rickshaw or a taxi from Madurai Junction Railway Station.
A Clean Temple
In October 2017, the Indian government announced that Meenakshi Temple was the best “Swachh Iconic Place” (Clean Iconic Place) in India, under its “Swachh Iconic Places” initiative to clean up the country’s heritage sites.