Madurai Meenakshi

Gurudeva loved this temple and in his Sutras invited shishyas to pilgrimage here at least once in their lifetime. Today we fulfilled his decree and stepped into another world. The halls are ornately colored and the floors and rich with kolam designs.

I took the yogis to the central set of pillars that are a sculptor's crowning glory, with Arjuna holding a bow carved from a truly massive stone. How is this possible, the mind wonders?

Here Parasiva and Parashakti reign side by side, two equal temples just yards apart, not something one sees often, if ever. It is said 10,000 visitors come through on an ordinary day and the halls were full on this day.

There was some engineering to get a ticket to have Meenakshi's darshan. Security was confounded by our alabaster skin and our clearly Hindu everything else, so off we were taken to the superintendent who has to approve inn writing all light skin entries. He did, without hesitation and we were ushered past long lines to the sanctum there to witness the All Pervasive Divine. Suddenly an animated pujari rushed toward us, arms outstretched, almost screaming thrice, "Sivaya Subramuiyaswami!" He later shared the time he met Gurudeva in Mumbai in 1995. In fact we have a photo of a gathering of 65 Sivacharyas with Gurudeva on that day. A long meditation is a favorite spot near Mother-Father Siva ended our morning at the temple. Sharing below a few details from Wikipedia for those who want to explore its history a bit.

Meenakshi Temple, also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the center of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts.

Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th century by Thirumalai Nayak. In early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India. The contemporary temple is the result of rebuilding efforts started by the Vijayanagara Empire rulers who rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar and later others. The restored complex now houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 4550m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Ayirakkal (1,000 pillar hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam. Its shrines are dedicated to Hindu deities and Shaivism scholars, with the vimanas above the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara gilded with gold.

3 Responses to “Madurai Meenakshi”

  1. Meena Ravi Annamalai says:

    Interesting narrative of your visit to the historic temple! So glad to hear that gurudeva was remembered from 23 years back.

  2. Rajendra Giri says:

    Thank you very much for sharing the information,
    Aum Namah Shivay!

  3. Muthu says:

    just the mere sight of the pillars is so awe inspiring …

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