Meenakshi Temple

The Meenakshi Temple complex is a city temple in Madurai. It is one of the largest and certainly one of the most ancient in Madurai and most revered in India. The soaring and exquisitely carved towers enclose the temple dedicated to Meenakashi temple in Madurai. The south gateway contains the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi and is about nine storeys high in Madurai. Although theMeenakashi Temple Tamil Nadu exact date of the temple's origin is not known, the structures that are standing today date mostly between the 12th and the 18th century. The present temple was built in the 17th century A.D. by th Nayak rulers. They occupy a vast space - 258 m by 241m. The temple has the "pool of lilies", measuring 49.5 m by 36 m, surrounded by steps and has a pillared portico on four of its sides. At every turn there is an excellent sculpture, overwhelming architecture and amazing carvings.
It looks like a fortified citadel from outside. The Temple premise includes a complex of columned Mandapas, tanks, stores, shrines and, at the core, the two temples of Shiva as Sundareshvara and Devi as Meenakshi. The stonewalls and towers of the Meenakshi temple in Madurai rise out of the crowded streets of the city center. From her rambling maze-like palaces the Goddess Meenakshi presides. It is said that her image is carved out of a single emerald.
The sanctuary of Shiva has an assembly hall, a vestibule and a cella which is surmounted by a small shikara which penetrates through the flat roof covering of the whole portion of the temple . The sanctuary of Meenakshi is half the size of Shiva's sanctuary. The Meenakashi Temple Tamil NaduGopuras at Madurai are among the most richly adorned in southern India. The temple is beautified with eleven gopuras. Four among them are 45 mtrs in height. Each gopuram is a pyramidal structure with a straight or slightly curved slope. The gopurams with life size sculpture of images from Hindu mythology are the captivating sights of this temple. Various kings have renovated the temple, adding intertwined corridors, larger-than-life sculptures, polishing and honing an abode suitable for Meenakshi, the Goddess Shakti herself, born as daughter of a Pandya king. According to the legend of this temple the marriage of the goddess to Shiva actually took place in Madurai and is still celebrated every summer with great pomp and gaiety.
The south gateway is the ideal way for entering the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi. On looking up you would see the four mythical beasts called Yalis looking downwards. The eyes would glide from the yellows to the flashes of pure greens, blues, and whites on the 150 ft South Gopuram. It is beautifully proportioned, nine stories high and crowded with griming gargoyles and gryphons that perch on the ornate curved edges. Between them stand or gently sit sedate gods and goddesses.

Reaching Meenakshi Temple -
By Air : Patna airport located at a distance of 105 kms from Bodhgaya is the nearest landing facility.
By Rail : Gaya is the nearest railway station at a distance of 16 kms. Gaya is a major railway station and there are trains to Gaya from many destinations of India.
By Road : Buses are available to Bodhgaya from Gaya, Patna and a few other places of Bihar.

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