Anybody visiting Madurai never goes back without visiting the Meeanakshi Amman Temple. On the day after we reached Madurai, we got up early and got ready to visit the temple, which was quite close the hotel where we stayed. We reached the temple at 6 am in the morning and were vey impressed by the sanctity of the place. A lot of devotees were getting inside. After buying some flowers to offer to the deity, we too got inside.
The temple opened for worship from 5.00 am to 12.30 pm and then from 4.00 pm to 9.30 pm. It was a huge temple located on the banks of the River Vaigai. There are 14 gopurams through which people can enter the temple. They are tall, ranging from 45 to 50 meters in height. The southern gopuram is the tallest, standing to a height of 51.9 meters. Inside the temple it was cool and we were amazed by the sculptures and paintings on the walls and pillars. The main deity is Goddess Parvati called here as Meenakshi, and her consort Shiva. It is estimated that about 15-20 thousand people visit the temple daily.
There was a long queue for the ‘darshan’ and we too joined the queue. Soon we had the ‘Darshan’ and offered the flowers to the deity. After visiting the main sanctum, we visited other shrines dedicated to different gods and goddesses. The sculptures inside the temple were very beautiful and we spent a lot of time admiring them. They depicted the marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, Shiva and Kali dancing etc. The paintings were also very impressive.
What was most striking was the Hall of Thousand Pillars, each of which had a life size sculpture. The musical pillars produces a musical note on tapping and we loved tapping them and hearing the different notes. We also saw two large cages with parrots. The place was so large that it took about 2-3 hours to complete the visit.
The temple was really amazing and we were told that it was mentioned in some of the works of the 7th century. After the visit we bought some items from the shop inside the temple and reached the hotel.