Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the largest temple complex in Tamilnadu with locating numerous deities inside the temple complex.
According to the history, the king of Devas Lord Indira, found a self manifested Lingam at this place and enshrined it inside to form a temple. In 1310 A.D. Malik Kafur, the Muslim invader, destroyed all the ancient sculptures in this temple. And was initially renovated in 1559-1600 A.D by Naayak King I of Madurai, named Vishwanatha Naayak. Later in 1623-1655 A.D. King Thirumalai Naayakkar developed the temple by adding up numerous complexes inside the temple. King Thirumalai Naayakkar is considered to be one of the important person who made lot of the renovation works for the temple.
The primary deity is Goddess Meenakshi Amman (Goddess Parvathi or Goddess Shakthi). In this temple Lord Shiva is worshiped by the name Lord Sundareswarar. And hence the temple is called by the name Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.
Fortes of Meenakshi Amman Temple
This temple has 14 gopurams (gateway towers). Four of these gopurams are main entrances facing towards four directions. South gopuram is the tallest one of 170 feet in height. The sacred pond inside the temple is called ‘Portramarai Kulam’ (pond with the golden lotus). This is the holy pond where the great ‘Thirukkural’ got accepted.
Worshiping ‘Goddess Meenakshi Amman’ prior to ‘Lord Sundareswarar’ is traditionally practiced by the pilgrimages at this temple. There is a concern that devotees will be blessed with all their wishes if they have a dip in the sacred pond particularly on special days like Amavasai day (the new moon day), the first day of the Tamil month, eclipse days and on other holy days.
The idol of Goddess Meenakshi Amman is made of Emerald Stone holding with a parrot and bouquet. The sanctum and sanctorum of Meenakshi Amman Sundareswarar are sculptured with Gold plated towers. The ‘Aayiram kaal Mandapam’ (Thousand pillar hall) obtain 985 carved pillars (instead of 1000 pillars). Musical pillars are located inside the temple, where each pillar produces a different musical note when it is hit by a stick.
‘Velli Ambalam’ (Silver Hall) of M significantly known for ‘Lord Natarajar’ changing legs in His cosmic dance.(His right foot raised as opposed to the usual left foot raised position). The idol of Mukkuruni Vinayagar (Lord Ganesha) is also found in this temple. This sculpture is said to have carved out from a single stone found during the revealation of the ‘Maariamman temple pond’ in the 17th-century.
- Thiruvanandhal Pooja at 5:30 AM – 6:00 AM
- Vizha Pooja and Kaala Sandhi Pooja at 6:30 AM – 7:00 AM
- Thirikala Sandhi Pooja and Vuchikaala Pooja at 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
- Saayaratchai Pooja at 4:30 PM – 5:10 PM
- Artha Jamam Pooja at 7:30 PM – 8:10 PM
- Palliyarai Pooja at 9:30 PM – 10:00 PM
The most important festival of this temple is Chithirai Thiruvizha celebrated in a grand manner for twelve days during the month of Chithirai April-May.
Day 1 – Kodiyaetram (Flag Hoisting) in Karpaga Virutcham Vahanam, Simha Vahanam
Day 2 – Bootha Vahanam, Anna Vahanam
Day 3 – Kailaasha Parvatham Vahanam, Kamadhenu Vahanam
Day 4 – Thanga Pallakku Vahanam (Golden palanquin)
Day 5 – Vaedar Pari Leelai – Thanga Kuthirai Vahanam (Golden Horse)
Day 6– Shaiva Samaiya Sthabitha Varalaatru Leelai – Rishabha Vahanam
Day 7 – Lord Nantheeswarar Vahanam, Yaali Vahanam
Day 8 – Goddess Meenakshi Pattabishegam – Velli Simmaasanam Vahanam (Silver Throne)
Day 9– Thikkuvijayam – Indhira Vimanam Vahanam
Day 10 – Thirukkalyanam (Celestial Wedding) – Yaanai Vahanam, Pushpa Pallakku
Day 11 – Thirutherottam (or) Ther Thiruvizha (Chariot Procession or Car Festival) – Sapthavarna Chapparam Vahanam
Day 12 – Theertham – Velli Virutchabam Vahanam
- Chithirai (April – May) – Chithirai Thiruvizha
- Vaikaasi (May – June) – Vasantham Festival
- Aani (June – July) – Oonjal Festival
- Aadi (July – August) – Aadi Mulai Kottu Festival
- Aavani (August – September) – Aavani Moolam Festival / Puttukku Mansumantha Leelai Festival
- Purattaasi (September – October) – Navaraathiri Festival
- Ayppasi (October – November) – Kolaattam Festival
- Kaarthikai (November – December) – Kolaattam Festival
- Maargazhi (December – January) – Thiruvaathirai Festival, Thiruvembaavai and Thiruppaavai Festival
- Thai (January – February) – Thepporsavam performed in Maariyamman temple pond
- Maasi (February – March) – Mandala utsavam
- Panguni (March – April) – Vasantham Festival
Location and Transportation Facilities
Madurai Airport is well-connected by domestic flights with Mumbai and Chennai. The Airport is 10 km away from the main city.
Madurai Junction is one of the busiest railway stations in the country and is directly connected to several major cities in India.
The temple is located in the center of the city Madurai, one of the largest cities in Tamilnadu. Madurai is well connected to all over India thru Road, Rail and by Air.
Four major National Highways passes thru Madurai is listed below
- NH7 – Bangalore – Salem – Dindigul – Madurai – Tirunelveli – Kanyakumari
- NH45B – Trichy – Madurai – Thoothukudi
- NH49 – Madurai – Rameshwaram
- NH49 EXTN – Madurai – Theni – Bodi – Cochin
This city has 5 major bus stands – Anna Bus Stand, Palanganatham Bus Stand, Periyaar Bus Stand, Maattuthavani Bus Stand and Aarapalayam Bus Stand.