The 500 years old city of Madurai, the temple town of South India is famous for the Meenakshi Amman temple also known as the Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his beautiful consort Meenakshi also known as Parvati. The temple is an architectural marvel dating back to the early 7th century is housed within a high walled enclosure and consists of two sanctums one for Meenakshi and the other for Lord Sundareshwar. These main sanctums are encircled by a number of shrines and many pillared halls and the Gopurams which are essentially soaring towers that kiss the sky based on granite and covered with intricate colored paintings of deities and mythical monsters and animals.
|Meenakshi Temple Name|
|Proper Name:||Meenakshi Sundereshwara Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple|
|Meenakshi Temple Location|
|Meenakshi Temple Architecture and Culture|
|Primary Deity:||Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati)|
The Gopurams or the Gopura are a prominent feature of Hindu Temples in the South of India. Gopurams are monumental towers, ornately decorated and are the gateways through the walls that encircle the temple. The massive Gopurams overshadow the Temple inside and also rival the main sanctum in terms of ornate decoration.
The Gopurams are mainly rectangular in shape tapering as they rise to the sky. The base of the Gopurams has ground level wooden doors ornately decorated which provide access. As the Gopuram rises up, it tapers, and divides into gradually diminishing storeys as the tower of the Gopura narrows. The Gopura is topped with the Sikhara Amalaka, a bulbous stone finial. The Gopurams are richly decorated with sculptures and carvings of figures derived from Hindu mythology especially those associated with the presiding deity.
The Grand Meenakshi Temple has 14 Gopurams divided as per the stages there are: four Rajagopurams, the majestic towers, five Gopurams on the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord, three Gopurams on the temple of the goddess Meenakshi and the two golden Gopurams.
of 102 ft by 63.6 ft and is sculpted with 1124 mythological figures.
The five Gopura above the sanctum of the Lord are:
These are the three Gopurams situated above the temple of the goddess.
|Sabha (Court)||Place||Deity Made of|
|Ponnambalam / Porsabai||Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram||Gold|
|Chitra Sabai||Kutraalanaathar Temple, Courtallam||Painting|
|Ratna Sabai||Vataaranyeswarar Temple, Thiruvaalangadu||Gems|
|Rajata Sabai||Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Madurai||Silver|
|Taamira Sabai||Nellayappar Temple, Tirunelveli||Copper|