Madurai is an ancient city of Tamil Nadu which is famous for its rich cultural heritage. The beautiful and legendary Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple is a major attraction of Madurai. This temple is among the famous temples of South India. Its architectural beauty has mesmerized people all over the world and attracts tourists in great number. The city is ideally located on the banks of river Vaigai which adds more charm to it.
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is a brilliant example of Dravidian architecture. It is a wonderful Hindu temple steeped in mythological and historic significance. It was built in honor of Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) and her consort Lord Shiva. Its history dates back to the 12th century when its foundation was laid by Kulasekara Pandyan. Later several structures were added to it. It has nine stories which are majestically adorned with arresting sculptures and carvings. The sanctum sanctorum houses the beautiful idols of the goddess and Lord Shiva. There are several other shrines surrounding the main shrine.
The 12 breathtaking gopurams decorated with colorful and bright paintings and stucco figures of gods, devils, animals and celestial nymph. Various bright colors have been used to pain the temple which makes it look very attractive. The outer wall of the temple also boasts of arresting paintings and sculptures.
The temple also houses an ancient Golden Lotus Tank which is believed to be created by Lord Shiva himself. It is much older than the temple itself. Before entering the main shrine to take blessings from the Goddess and Lord Shiva, devotees take a dip in the tank. It is believed that taking a dip in the waters of this tank endows one with good fortune.
Other striking attractions of the temple are the five musical pillars carved out of single sandstone and the Hall of Thousand Pillars. This hall has 985 pillars and all the pillars look different as each has been carved differently.