Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Dedicated to
Parvati, Shiva

Deity Posture

Architecture Style


Kulashekhara- The Pandyan King

Completed on

6th Century

About Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple, is also called Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is supposed to be one of the oldest and most crucial temples in India. Situated in the city of Madurai, the shrine has an incredible mythological and ancient importance. The story suggests Bhagwaan Shiva took the form of Sundareswarar (the handsome one) and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the location where the shrine is now situated. Well-known for its amazing architecture, Meenakshi Temple was selected as one of the marvels of the world, but couldn’t make it into the list of ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. Nonetheless, the shrine is one of the ‘Wonders of India’. It is also one of the major attractions of South India with thousands of followers visiting it every day.

The Legend

The divine goddess Meenakshi is the primary deity of the temple, unlike most Shiva temples in South India where Shiva is the main deity. According to lore found in the Tamil text Tiruvilaiyatarpuranam, Emperor Malayadwaja Pandya and his wife Kanchanamalai conducted a Yajna striving a son for succession. Instead, a daughter is born out of the flame who is already 3 years old and has three breasts. Then, Shiva appeared in front of the parents and explains to the parents that they should treat her like a son, and when she finds her husband, the third breast will be lost. They obey the direction. The girl matures, the king crowns her as the heir and when she confronts Shiva, his statements come true, she assumes her real form of Meenakshi. This may indicate the matrilineal beliefs in South India and the local belief that “penultimate [spiritual] energies rest with the women”, deities listen to their spouse, and that the destiny of nations rests with the women. The honour for Meenakshi is a part of the Hindu goddess belief that incorporates with the Dravidian Hindu community where the “woman is the backbone of the system” of social bonds. The union of Meenakshi and Shiva was the biggest occasion, with all gods, goddesses and living beings huddled. Vishnu is presumed to be the brother of Meenakshi. Vishnu offers her away to Shiva at the wedding.


The shrines of the Meenakshi temple are entrenched inside three-walled compartments and each of these possess four gateways, the outer pillar growing larger and reaching higher to the complementary inside one.

The temple has 14 gopurams, the tallest of which is the southern tower grows to over 170 ft (52 m) and was renovated in the late 16th century. The very old gopuram is the one which is on the East side (I on plan), constructed by Maravarman Sundara Pandyan during 1216-1238. Each gopuram is a multi-storeyed system, decorated with sculpture painted in glorious hues. The outer gopurams are elevated pyramidal tower serving as a landmark indication for arriving pilgrims, while the inner gopuram is minor and assist as the opening gateways to numerous shrines. The temple area has 4 nine-storey gopurams (outer, raja), 1 seven-storey gopuram (Chittirai), 5 five-storey gopurams, 2 three-storey, and 2 one-storey gold-gilded temple tower. Of these five are doorways to the Sundareshvara shrine, three to the Meenakshi shrine. The towers are decorated with stucco images, some of whom are God figures and others are figures of saints or scholars. Each group or bunch of panels in each storey present an event from regional or pan-Hindu legend. The four highest gopurams on the outer walls alone illustrate nearly 4,000 mythological stories.


The Meenakshi temple has two distinct shrines for the goddess Meenakshi (Parvati, Devi, Amman) and god Sundaresvara (Shiva, Deva, Cuvami), just like maximum Shaiva temples. Both open to the east. The Devi idol is on the south side (B), while the Deva idol is placed centrally, to the north (A), thus positioning the goddess as the pradhana murti or the “Primary ” right side within the temple complex.

The goddess shrine has the green-stone image of Meenakshi, standing in bent-leg posture. Her lifted hand grips a lotus, on which sits a green parrot. Her left hand dangles by her side. This picture is set in a square garbha griya (central sanctum). A replica of this image has been created from metal and is kept in the temple complex. The metal interpretation is used for a festive ceremony. A unique characteristic of Meenakshi in terms of iconography is the existence of a parrot in her right hand. The parrot is commonly correlated with the Vaishnava azhwar saint Andal. The Sundareswarar shrine has a rock linga in its square plan shrine, and this anicon is cloaked under a rock cobra hood. In the northeast corner is another stone impression of his consort. None of these travel during a festive ceremony.


Aloof from the major festival, which is the marriage ceremony of the divinities, several other festivals are commemorated in the temple. Few of these include ‘Vasantham festival,’ ‘Unjal festival,’ ‘Mulai-Kottu festival,’ ‘Arudhra Dharsan festival,’ ‘Thai utsavam,’ ‘Kolattam festival,’ etc. Each of these festivals has its importance and is enjoyed during different months throughout the year. The temple also commemorates the ‘Navarathri festival.’ During ‘Navarathri’ the shrine displays colourful dolls which are altogether called ‘Gollu.’ ‘Gollu’ frequently express stories from mythological events.

Architecture of Meenakshi Temple


King Kulasekara Pandya constructed Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar in (1190-1216 CE). He created the central Portions of the three-storeyed gopura at the passageway of Sundareswarar Shrine and the main fraction of the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine are some of the earlier withstanding parts of the temple.

This temple architecture is of Dravidian style completely exhibiting the Vijayanagara architectural layout. However the shrine has historic origins, most of the existing campus building was renovated after the 14th century CE, further rebuilt, remodelled and broadened in the 17th century by Tirumala Nayaka. In the early 14th century, the regiments of the Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur ravaged the temple, looted it of its valuables and demolished the Madurai temple town along with numerous other temple cities of South India. The recent temple is the outcome of rebuilding actions commenced by the Vijayanagara Empire emperors who rebuilt the foundation and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was expanded further and strengthened by the Nayak ruler Vishwanathan Nayakar and later others. The renovated complex now houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), varying from 45–50m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The temple area has a number of engraved pillared halls such as Ayirakkal (1000-pillared hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam. The shrines are devoted to Hindu deities and Shaivism philosophers, with the vimanas over the garbhgriha (sanctums) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara covered with gold.

How to reach Meenakshi Temple?

By Train: Madurai is well connected with all parts of India. Direct trains available from all major cities.
By Air: Madurai Airport is connected with major cities.Temple is 11 km away.
By Bus: Direct buses to Madurai will be running from Chennai at high frequency.

Meenakshi Temple Timings

Temple Timings

Timings                                             Pooja / Darshan
4:30 am                                       Temple Opening Hours
4:30 am – 5:15 am                     Maalai Pooja
5:00 am – 6:00 am                   Thiruvanandal Pooja
6:30 am – 7:15 am                     Vizha Pooja
6:30 am – 7:15 am                     Kalasandhi Pooja
7:15 am – 10:30 am                   Darshan
10:30 am – 11:15 am                 Thrukalasandhi pooja
10:30 am – 11:15 am                 Uchikkala Pooja (Noon Pooja)
11:15 am – 12:30 pm                 Darshan
12:30 pm – 4:00 pm.               Temple remains closed
4:00 pm                                      Temple reopens
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm                   Darshan
7:30 pm – 8:15 pm                    Ardhajama Pooja (Night Pooja)
8:15 pm – 9:30 pm                   Darshan
9:30 pm – 10:00 pm                 Palliarai pooja
10:00 pm                                    Temple Closing Hours

Madurai Temple Darshan Timings

Morning Hours: 6:00 am to 12:30 pm

Evening Hours: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Temple will be crowded on Sat, Sun, Fri, Nov, Dec, May, Jun and Navaratri festival days.

Meenakshi Temple Images

Meenakshi Temple on Map

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