This is the 3rd destination of my south India Travel, to read about previous destination ,click here and here.
Madurai, is the third largest city, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the River Vaigai, Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
It is happens to be one of India's most prominent Hindu pilgrimage centres and therefore, my family(my in-laws) were very keen to visit this city on our South India trip.
I, on the other hand was not so keen, as visiting a overgrown congested city is not my idea of a holiday , but family holidays are all about adjustments, so I relented and we landed up for a day in Madurai, the famous temple town of south India.
The city is most famous for Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple . Before I saw it, I wondered how big can a temple be to sustain a whole city for 2 millenia.
But when i saw the main entrance of the tempe, boy was I blown away!!....simply put, it is a magestic temple built in epic proportions!!
Some Basic Info on the Meenakshi Amman Temple(courtesy wikipedia) - It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva named here as Sundareswarar(beautiful deity). The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gopurams(gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana(shrine) over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE.
It took us 3 hours to go around all the temple complex, visiting various deities, shrines, decorated corridors and sculptures.
It is one of the few temples which allowed photography inside the premises and I had a wonderful time clicking pics here!!
The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays and gets an annual revenue of sixty million INR. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".
I never had so much fun inside a temple and never before so fascinated......in the end i concluded, the city of Madurai was worth visiting just for the temple!!
And so ended another wonderful (but by now somewhat tiring) day of our south India tour!!