Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu

Thevaara Paadal Petra Shivasthalangal

Meenakshi Sudaraeshwar Temple, Madurai (TiruAlavoi)

Information Board
Location of the templeTiruAalavoi (now known as Madurai)
Deity known asSundareswarar, Somasundarar, Sokkanathar
Female deity known asMeenakshi
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sambandar
How to reach This temple is centrally located in Madurai city and is about 1 Km from both Madurai Railway Station and Madurai Central Bus stand. Madurai City is well connected with Road, Rail and Air. There are many trains passing through Madurai. Regular bus facility available from almost all towns of Tamilnadu State and from a few cities of neighbouring states.TiruAppanaur, Tiruvedagam, and Tirupparankundram are the other paadal petra sivasthalams situated in the vicinity of Madurai city.
Temple AddressArulmighu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
PIN 625001
Shakthi peetamMadurai Meenakshi - Manthrini peetam
Near by Divya Desam1. Koodal Azhagar Perumal
2. Kallazhagar Perumal
3. KaaLa Megha Perumal

  • Located at the center of the city, the Meenakshi temple serves as the focal point around which the city is constructed. The roads leading to the temple are primarily designed as 'one-way' roads, prohibiting four-wheelers from parking along these routes. However, visitors can utilize the multi-level car parking facility situated near the east-tower. From there, a short walk is required to reach the south-tower, which serves as the primary entrance to the temple.
  • The temple strictly prohibits the use of electronic devices within its premises. Visitors are required to deposit all their devices at the kiosk located near the entrance of the south tower. During peak seasons, handbags may also be prohibited inside the temple.
  • The temple draws in a large number of tourists, resulting in extended queues and wait times.
  • It may require a few hours or longer to finish the darshan of Goddess Meenakshi and Sudareshwarar and exit the temple. Allocate at least half a day to explore this expansive temple complex.

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The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is renowned as one of the finest temples in the region and holds great significance. The city is known by many names.

The name 'Madurai' itself is derived from the act of God Shiva purifying the poison emitted by snake by sprinkling the nectar of the crescent moon in his hair. In the past, this place was a dense forest filled with Kadamba trees. It is said that a merchant named Dhananjayan discovered a Sivalinga (a form of God Shiva) amidst the Kadamba Trees. Impressed by this finding, he informed the pandiya king, Kula Sekhara Pandiyan, about it. The king, upon hearing this, visited the forest and worshipped the Sivalingam. To honor the divine presence, the king decided to clear the forest and construct a temple for God Shiva. Gradually, a city began to develop around the temple. Interestingly, near the Shivalinga, a sweet nectar was found to drip, and this sweetness became the inspiration for the name "Madurai".

The city derived its name Aalavai, from the unique way in which a snake, one of the divine adornments of God Shiva, encircled itself with its tail in its mouth, marking a boundary around the city.

Madurai, also referred to as 'Nan-Mada-Koodal, gained its name due to an intriguing legend involving Shiva. According to the Legend, God Shiva released four clouds from His braids to safeguard Madurai from the seven clouds unleashed by Varuna. Naanmadakoodal, meaning the junction of four towers, also refers to the four major temples for which Madurai was known for.

It is recognized as one of the 64 Shakti Peethas. Within the temple, the primary shrine is dedicated to Meenakshi Amman, making it customary for worshippers to first pay homage to Meenakshi before proceeding to Sundareswarar.

The Temple covers an area of 17 acres, spans 847 feet in the east-west direction and 792 feet in the south-north direction, featuring eight towers and two vimanas. Positioned on the four sides of the Aadi Street, there are four gopurams with nine tiers each. Notably, the south tower stands at a towering height of 160 feet, surpassing the other towers. The east tower measures 153 feet in height. Except the north tower, the remaining three towers boast numerous splendid colorful sculptures.

Ashtasakthi Mandap is situated opposite the Meenakshi Amman shrine. At the entrance, there is a captivating sculpture portraying the wedding ceremony of Meenakshi, positioned between the depictions of Vinayaka and Muruga. Inside the mandapam, the pillars showcase the eight manifestations of Shakti. Moving beyond the Nayakkan mandapam adjacent to the temple, there is a dedicated shrine for Goddess Meenakshi. From the innermost sanctum, Goddess Meenakshi blesses devotees with her presence, holding a parrot in one of her hands. The emerald stone idol of Goddess Meenakshi is renowned. She is also referred to as Maragathavalli, Thadathagai, Komalavalli, Pandiarajakumari, Manickavalli, and Sundaravalli. Meenakshi's eyes resemble those of a fish, and she safeguards her devotees with her compassionate gaze, akin to a fish nurturing and hatching its eggs with its own eyes.

Sundareswarar, the presiding deity, manifests as a Shivalinga in the innermost chamber, bestowing blessings upon the worshippers. This sacred Shivalinga holds the distinction of being the first to appear among the Shivalingas in renowned locations such as Merumalai, Vellimalai, Thirukedaram, Varanasi, and others. Consequently, it is revered as the Moolalingam.

The 'Kambathadi' mandapam, located across from the sanctum sanctorum, houses numerous sculptures. Positioned at the center of the mandapam are a golden flag post, Nandhi, and Balipeeta. Surrounding the area are eight pillars adorned with magnificent statues. The sculptures of Sankaranarayana, Somaskanda, Arthanareeswarar, and the Dasavataras of Lord Vishnu are truly remarkable. However, the wedding sculpture of Meenakshi Sundareswarar stands out as the pinnacle of all these sculptures. The sculptures of Agni Veerabadra and Agora Veerabadra, located on two large pillars near the Kambathadi mandapam, along with the idols of Urthuvadandavar and Kali on the neighboring pillars, exhibit remarkable beauty.

Sundareswarar, also referred to as Chokkanathar, is believed to be associated with the planet Mercury among the nine celestial bodies. In this temple, it is customary to offer remedies for Mercury to God Shiva.

According to legend, Devendran (Indira - The celestial God) emerged victorious in his battle against the demon Vridhasuran and sought solace by worshipping the Shivalinga in Kadambavanam. In honor of his triumph, He installed the 'Indira vimanam' adorned with 32 lions, 64 Shiva Ganas, and 8 white elephants, supporting the structure.

Madurai hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, with one of the most grandiose celebrations being the 'Chitra pournami' festival.

The city of Madurai is the setting for all 64 'Tiruvilayadal' of God Shiva. These divine scenes are depicted in the prakara surrounding Sudareshwara's shrine. The temple is associated with the sacred Kadamba tree, and the holy water-body or Theertham is the Potramarai tank and Vaigai river. The Crystal Linga, discovered centuries ago in the Potramarai tank, continues to be worshipped at the Madurai Aadheenam.

The Ayiramkal Mandapam, also known as the Hall of Thousand Pillars, is the largest mandapam in the holy temple complex. With a total of 985 pillars, these pillars are arranged in rows from every angle. At the center of the mandapam stands the idol of Chira Sabha, representing Lord Natarajar. Madurai, being one of the pancha bootha sthalams of Lord Shiva, houses this silver sabha (velliyambalam). In most temples, Lord Nataraja is depicted dancing with his left leg lifted, But here he is dancing with his right leg lifted. Additionally, the mandapam showcases a collection of intricately carved sculptures that are visually captivating.

Upon entering through the south gopuram entrance, the first sight that greets us is the shrine of Mukkuruni Vinayaka. This idol of Vinayaka was discovered buried in the soil when Thirumalai Naicker, the ruler of Madurai from 1623 to 1659 A.D., was excavating sand near Vandiyur Teppakulam for the construction of his palace. The idol was consecrated in 1645 and stands at a height of 7 feet. As a ritual, on every Vinayaka Chaturthi, Kozhukattai, a type of sweet dumpling, is offered to this Vinayaka using 18 Mukkuruni (a unit of measurement) of rice.

Madurai Temple Photos

Mukkurini vinayagar
Temple tower
Temple tower
Temple pond
Goddess Meenakshi