Meenakshi Amman Temple
The Meenakshi Amman temple is located on the banks of the Vaigai River, Tamil Nadu. Meenakshi Temple is primarily dedicated to Goddess Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her spouse, Lord Shiva.
A most striking feature of this temple is its construction on the lines of Dravidian architecture with beautifully crafted sculpture at every point is appreciated worldwide.
The temple is considered as a popular site for Hindu weddings. What makes this temple different from the others is the fact that both God and Goddess are worshipped together.
History Of Meenakshi Temple
With reference to the Tamil text Tiruvilaiyatarpuranam, King Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai performed a Yajna seeking a son for succession. Instead, a daughter was born who was already 3 years old and had three breasts.
Lord Shiva intervened and said that the parents should treat her like a son, and whenever she would meet her husband, she will lose the third breast.
They followed God’s advice. The girl grew up, the king crowned her as the successor and when she met Lord Shiva, her husband, she took the true form of Meenakshi.
Shrines In The Temple
● Goddess Meenakshi: It has the greenstone image of Meenakshi, standing in bent-leg posture. Her raised hand holds a lotus, on which sits a green parrot. The parrot is generally associated with the Vaishnava Ishwar saint Andal.
● The Sundareswarar shrine has a stone linga in its square plan sanctum. There is another metal symbolic image of Shiva called the Cokkar, which is kept near the Sundareswarar sanctum all day.
● The tall sculpture of Ganesh carved of a single stone located outside the Sundareswarar shrine is called the Mukuruny Vinayakar.
Priests perform the puja ceremonies on a daily basis, and during festivals. Icon of Sundaresvara is moved in a palanquin to goddess Meenakshi’s chamber every night so that they can be together, then waking the two and returning God Sundaresvara to his shrine every morning.
The temple has a six-time pooja every day.
● Abhisheka (sacred bath)
● Alangaram (decoration)
● Neivethanam (food offering)
● Deepa aradanai (lamp ceremony)
The rituals and festivals are accompanied by the enchantments of the Vedas, music with nadhaswaram (pipe instrument), and other percussion instruments.
The Hindus generally circumambulate the shrines clockwise first before entering the shrine for a Darshana. Meenakshi is typically visited before Sundareswarar by the pilgrims, as she is considered to be the primary deity.
● Meenakshi Thirukalyanam: The festival is about the wedding of the divine couple, celebrated in the Chithirai month, which falls in the month of April. The festival includes a procession, where Meenakshi and Sundareshwara travel in a chariot pulled by devotees and Vishnu gives away his sister in marriage to Shiva.
● Ther Thiruvizhah (chariot festival)
● Theppa Thiruvizhah (float festival).
● Avani Moola Utsavam is a 10-day festival mainly devoted to Sundareswarar describes his various Thiruvilayadal meaning Shiva’s sacred games.
How To Reach Meenakshi Amman Temple?
● Nearest bus stop: Periyar at a distance of 1.3 kilometers.
● Airport: Madurai has its own airport from where the distance to the temple is 11.9 kilometers. A taxi can be hired from outside the airport to reach the temple.
● Nearest Railway Station: Madurai railway station (75.4 kilometers).
● Royal Court Hotel
● MMR Gardens
● Hotel Park Plaza
● Koodal Azhagar Temple.
● Aayiram Kaal Mandapam.
● Pazhamudhir Solai.
● Alagarkoil Temple and Shrine.
● Gandhi Memorial Museum.
● Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal