A trip to India is often referred as the temple story. Not many places in the world can boast of amazing places of worship like Madurai Meenakshi temple, Natraja temple and the Ekambareshwrar temple. Tamil Nadu covers pilgrimage sites for not only Hindus but all religions. Madurai also known as the “the City of Nectar” is one of the oldest and second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The sanctuary shapes the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old holy city of Madurai and it is a symbolic image for Tamil Nadu. It is the most dazzling illustration of the Dravidian architecture situated on the southern bank of the Vaigai River.
The colossal structure is dedicated to Lord Shiva (known as Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord) and Goddess Parvati (known as Meenakshi). The temple was initially built by Kulasekarer Pandya. But was modified and the credit for the present look of the sanctuary goes to the Nayakas, who ruled Madurai from sixteenth to eighteenth century.
Architectural and sculptural magnificence is the aspect of this temple which makes it popular. The sanctuary is spread over 6-hectare and houses 14 eminent Gopurams or towers and two golden towers for the traditional gods that are intricately formed and painted. The towers range from 45–50m in height. The tallest tower is the southern tower which stands at a height of 51.9 meters (170 ft). The Golden Lotus Tank inside the sanctuary is encompassed by extensive halls; the walls are sculptured with artistic creations portraying the Lord’s supernatural occurrences.
Streets surrounding the temple are pedestrian-only. The temple follows strict dress code, women’s shoulders or legs of either gender should not be exposed and no cameras are allowed inside. Every evening at 9pm, a frenetic carries an icon of Shiva to Meenakshi’s shrine to spend the night there.
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Poojas and Rituals
There are nearly 50 priests in the sanctuary who perform the puja (customs) everyday. The priests live in a closed area north of the sanctuary. The sanctuary has a six time pooja logbook regular, each containing four ceremonies in particular abhisheka (holy shower), alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offerings) and deepa aradanai (waving of lights) for both Meenakshi and Shiva.
Festivals are celebrated every month of the year at Madurai Meenakshi Temple. You can refer to the temple reference portal https://www.maduraimeenakshi.org/festivals.html for up to date views of the festivals.
How to get to Madurai?
Nearest Airport : Madurai has an Airport. The temple is about 15 kms from the airport. There are daily flights to Chennai. Chennai is the closest international airport to Madurai.
Nearest Railhead : Madurai. Madurai is an important railway junction of the Southern Railway and is directly connected to Chennai (Egmore station), Coimbatore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Tirunelveli.
By Road: There are several buses from Chennai, Thiruchanapalli, Coimbatore and Thirunelveli. There are also buses to neighbouring states of Kerala and Karnataka.
Places to Stay in Madurai
Budget Hotels In Madurai:
- Hotel Aarathi – Ph: 0452 2331571 / 2336341. Right behind the Koodal Azhakar Temple with good view of temple towers.
- TM House, Perumal veli street.
Mid-range Hotels in Madurai
- Madurai Residency. 15 West Marret Street, Madurai 625001.
- Hotel Supreme. 110, West Perumal Maistry Street, Madurai 625001.
Star Hotels in Madurai
- Hotel Chentoor, 106 West Perumal Maistry Street. Ph: 0452 3042222.
- Pandiyan Hotels. Alagar Koil Road, Madurai 625002.
- Hotel Sangam. Alagarkoil Road.
- GRT Regency. 38, Madakulam Main Road, Palanganatham, Madurai 625003.
- Azhagar Koil
One of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on Alagar Malai, about 4 km above Azhagar Koil. Adjacent to the temple is a natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bathe.
Located 6 km southwest of Madurai, this rock-cut temple is regarded as one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya. It is a long walk to the top, but the view is spectacular once you get there!