Meenakshi Temple The Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple (twin temples)
is one of the biggest temples in India. The original temple built by
Kulasekara Pandyan was in ruins. The plan for the current temple
structure was laid by Viswanath Naikar and was completed by Tirumalai
12 massive gopurams in the temple, the four tallest gopurams at the
outer walls. The golden lotus pond (Potraamarai Kulam) is located to
the left of the Meenakshi shrine. Sundareswarar gives darshan in the
form of a linga.
thousand pillared hall (Aayirangaal Mandapam) is an architectural &
engineering marvel, built in the 16th century. The pillars have the
Yazhi figure sculpted on them. There are musical granite pillars here,
which when struck yield different musical notes.
Alagar Temple is a Vishnu temple located 2km west of the city,
that has three altars, one on top of the other, in which Lord Vishnu is
in three different poses: sitting, standing, and reclining. The main
deity of the temple is Koodal Alagar, who is in a sitting posture. Above
the shrine of this deity are the altars of Sri Ranganatha, in a
reclining pose, and Sri Surya-narayan Perumal, in a standing pose.There
are intricate woodcarvings here, including one of Lord Rama's
coronation. This is one of the 108 Divya Desam temples. There is a
Navagraha (nine planets) enclosure in this temple.Lord Alagar's (Vishnu)
procession to the bank of the Vaigai River on the full moon day is one
of the most interesting events of the festival. Lord Vishnu rides on a
real-gold horse-chariot to his sister's wedding. Meenakshi is considered
to be the sister of Lord Alagar.
Mariamman Theppakulam was built in 1636.This huge tank also known
as the Mariamman tank is at the eastern end of the city and is almost
equal in area to that of the Meenakshi Amman temple. There is a
mandapam in the centre of the tank enshrining Lord Vigneswara.
This idol was found here when earth
was being dug for the Thirumalai Kayaker Mahal. A tank was created in
this area with the Ganesha idol. This tank is fed with water from the
Vaigai through an ingenious system of underground channels. A colorful
float festival is held on Thai Poosam day (in January/February) to
celebrate the birth anniversary of Tirumalai Nayakar. Various temple
deities are taken in decorated floats.
Thiruparangundram At a
distance of 8 km south of Madurai is Tirupparankundram. You can find the
Pandyan rock-cut shrines dating back to the 8th century and the later
Nayaka Hindu temple here. The temple has a wide range of Hindu gods
carved on the walls. The Subramanya cave temple has a shrine dedicated
to Durga, with the figures of Ganesh and Subramanya on either side.
Located atop a hill, the temple is believed to be one of six abodes of
Alagarkoil Since the presiding deity is of the temple is Alagar
(the beautiful), the temple is called Alagar Koil. This is an important
Vishnu temple, about 18 km northeast of Madurai, at Alagar Hill. This is
one of the most ancient temples in India and round the temple are ruins
of an ancient fortified town. The recently renovated gopurams of this
temple look resplendent.
The Mahabharata says that this temple was visited by both Yudhisthira
and Arjuna. It is said that Koorattalwar, the chief disciple of Ramanuja,
regained his eyesight by worshipping the deity here. Don't miss the
2,000 years old Sudarsana-chakra in this temple.
Solai Amman Temple This
is one of the six of the holiest of Murugan shrines refered to as the
Aarupadai Veedugal Unlike the other five temples, there is no grand
edifice surrounding the central Shrin of worship. However this is
venerated by the Skanda puranam and by
Nakkeerar’s Thirumurugatrupadai of the Sangam period. Arunagirinathar's
Thirupugazh also reveres this shrine.
is located on a hill adjacent to theKallazhagar Temple in the outskirts
of Madurai, a fortified temple complex, revered as one of the 108 abodes
of Vishnu glorified by the hymns of the Alwars. Also near Madurai is
another of the Aarupadai Veedu shrines, Tirupparamkunram.