Latest and Interesting fact about Meenakshi Temple
The Meenakshi temple is located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, situated at the bank of the Vaigai River. The temple has historical and mythological significance. It is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, who is a form of Shakti, and her consort, Sundareswara, a form of Shiva.
The temple is also known as the Meenakshi- Sundareswara temple, which is one of the oldest and most important temples in the country. it is said that this is the place where Shiva in the form of Sundareswara married Parvati (in the form of Meenakshi) at the exact place where the temple is located now. However, this temple is just not known for this, it is also known for its incredible architecture, one of the most unique and beautiful temples. The temple is believed to be one of the seven wonders of our country.
Let’s talk about the History of the temple which is dated back to the 1st century C.E. with legends saying it is as old as the city. It is said that Kulasekhara Pandyan who was the king then, ruled over the entire Pandyan Dynasty, and built the temples by following Lord Shiva’s instructions in his dream. There are few religious texts that belong to the 1-4th century that describe it as the central structure of the city. Texts from the early 6th century, show the temple where the legends met to discuss important things. The temple we are seeing today is the rebuilt version of the 16th century because it was destroyed by the Mughals.
Furthermore, in the 14th century, the commander of the Delhi Sultanate led his army to loot the temple because gold, silver, and precious gems were all taken to Delhi, and the temple was destroyed and left in ruins for a further time period. After that, when the Vijayanagar Empire took the Madurai after defeating the Muslim Sultanate, the temple was rebuilt and reopened for locals.
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The temple was further built during the late 16th century and early 17th century by Vishwanatha Nayakar, who was the king of the Nayaka dynasty. According to studies, while reconstructing the temple, the rulers of the Nayaka dynasty followed the architectural style of Silpa Shastras. Silpa Shastras is an architectural law found in ancient texts. The temple was once again rebuilt by Thirumalai Nayak who ruled Madurai from 1623 to 1655. During his time period, many ‘Mandapams’ (pillared halls) were built. The temple was then rebuilt by many later Nayaka rulers before the coming of the British East India Company. The temple was once again destroyed during British Rule. In 1959, the reconstruction work was started by Tamil Hindus by collecting the donations and by collaborating with historians and engineers. The temple was completely restored in the same place in 1995.
Let’s talk about the temple structure, The temple is spread over an area of 14 acres and is surrounded by huge walls. The entire structure when viewed from the top, represents a mandala. A mandala is a form of structure that is made according to the laws of symmetry and loci. The temple also has a pond named Porthamarai Kulam. The term Potramarai Kulam is a translation of a pond with a golden lotus. This pond is special because the lotus presented here is a hue of gold. It is said that Lord Shiva blessed this pond and said that no marine life would grow in it. Moreover, there is a hall called the hall of a thousand pillars, also known as Aayiram Kaal Mandapam, which is an incredible architectural piece that is said to have been made out of a single rock. Another interesting fact about this colorful temple is the presence of around 33000 sculptures in it. However, it’s especially famous for its vast sculpture of the Nataraja, which is built on a silver altar.