Thursday, April 2, 2009

India's Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

India’s Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple in Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.

Just recently, this temple won the coveted place of honor as one of the Seven Wonders of India for its architectural importance. This famous temple of Dravidian architecture has 12 towers or gopurams with exquisite sculpture and painting. This 7th century temple (or earlier?) mentioned in ancient Tamil literature was destroyed by the infamous Muslim invader Malik Kafur in 1310 and rebuilt later by Madurai’s great ruler Thirumalai Nayak during the period 1623 to 1659. The credit for the Vasantha Mantapa in the temple complex goes to him.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Sundareswarar or the Beautiful Lord and his consort Meenakshi or Goddess Parvathi, this temple in Madurai, Tamilnadu is claimed to be 2500 years old.

Goddess Parvathi as the child of the ruler of Madurai ruled this city ruled the kingdom after growing into a brave and beautiful princess Lord Shiva then came down to earth and married her, but Parvathi’s brother Lord Vishnu was angry and felt slighted, but was pacified by other gods to attend the marriage. This marriage and the brother’s pacification are celebrated as Azhagar Thiruvizha. The divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati as well as the Vasanthosthavam or the Spring Festival are celebrated here in April every year.

A Porthamarai Kulam or the Golden Lotus Pond inside this temple is a holy site; the lotus growing here has a golden color. The area around this tank was the meeting place of the Tamil Sangam or the Academy of Tamils scholars. Literary works are judged at this pond where scholastic works when placed on its waters float and do not sink. It is believed that as per God’s wish, no marine life grows here.

The Thousand Pillar Hall (Aayiram Kaal Mandapam) contains nearly 1000 carved pillars (985 to be exact) symbolizing the great Dravidian sculpture. Some of these pillars astonishingly produce different melodious musical notes when struck.

The figures of the deities on the tower are repaired, reprinted and ritually reconsecrated every 12 years.
The temple consecration (Kumbabishekam) is taking place on Wednesday, April 8, 2009.

Source: Google


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