Meenakshi Temple

Vital Information for Visitors

Meenakshi Amman Temple, East Chitrai Street, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Open & Close:

Open on all days 05:00 AM to 12:30 PM

04:00 PM to 10:00 PM


Puja Timing

Maalai Puja:

04:30 AM – 05:15 AM

Thiruvanandal Puja:

05:15 AM - 06:00 AM

Vizha Puja:

06:30 AM – 07:15 AM

Kalasandhi Puja:

06:00 AM – 07:15 AM

Thrukalasandhi Puja:

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Uchhikala Puja:

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Ardhajama Puja:

07:30 PM – 08:15 PM

Pillarai Puja:

09:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Entry Fee:


Visit Duration:

Approx 2-3 Hours

Dedicated to:

Goddess Parvati & Lord Shiva


Thousand Pillar Hall & Musical Pillars

The grand Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, succinctly called Meenakshi Temple, with majestic towers is situated in the heart of Madurai. In fact, the city was planned around the temple. Lord Shiva (Sundareswarar) & Goddess Parvati (Meenakshi) are worshipped & honored Meenakshi Temple, Madurai’s greatest man-made landmark. It’s always a pleasure being looked upon by a few hundred deities & their incarnations out of the Hindu pantheon from the ‘gopurams’ in Meenakshi Temple. Be a part of rich pandemonium during visit to the temple.

As per the legend, once - upon a time it was a forest — but changed with the presence of Shiva invoked by Indra who had done penance there. A king of Kalyanpur who was looking for a new site dreamt that Lord Shiva was sprinkling honey (madhu) on the forest. He made it his capital and named it Madhurapura, the city of nectar, it came to be called in a shorter form as Madurai.

Another legend explains the reason of installing deities and worshipping them is concerned. In some remote past a king had no son but a highly gifted and beautiful daughter. She was, called Meenakshi, as Meena (fish) for its form was an ideal simile for Akshi (eye). Princess Meenakshi succeeded her father to the throne. The neighboring kings, hopeful of snatching the kingdom from the girl, marched upon Madurai — only to fall to Meenakshi’s fierce sword or to her horse’s kicks. They melted away before the princess and the princess was galloping forth in search of more when, she met a smiling person. He was Shiva. At the sight Meenakshi remembered her identity — an incarnation of his eternal consort, Parvati. Meenakshi’s temple has a shrine for Shiva, known as Sundareswarer.

Another legend explains the situation of the temple: a strange serpent was seen on the site which was chosen for the temple. The sanctum sanctorum stands where the serpent’s head met the end of its tail. The area the serpent covered while crawling, marked the boundary of the temple complex.

The Meenakshi Amman Temple complex occupies an area 830 feet by 730 feet. The central shrines are those of Goddess Meenakshi and Sundareswarer. Of the nine gopurams, the tallest is the southern rising to a height of 160 feet and nine inches. Fergusson calls the thousand-pillared platform “the wonder of the place”. The pillars are filled with beautiful carvings. The thousand-pillared hall, probably built in 1560 AD, is as great a work of structural engineering as it is of art. The pillars are a picture-book in stone — and what pictures! They run the whole gamut of human expression from stateliness and grace to lusty humor and ribaldry.

In the outer corridor are the famous musical pillars — each one sounding a different note when struck. There are several Mandapams the Golden Lotus Tank. This is believed to be the pool in which Indra had bathed. The tank has, through the ages, inspired many literary compositions. It is said that there was a time when a manuscript would be thrown into its water. If it floated, it was a work of merit; if it sank, it was worthless. On the pillars are seen the figures of 24 ancient poets. The Pudu Mandapam, a rectangular porch in front of the temple, constructed by King Thirumala Nayak, is an outstanding monument. This has a granite roof supported by four parallel rows of 124 sculptured stone pillars, each 20 feet high, no one pillar repeating the sculpture or design of another. The temple also contains a hall known as the Kambatti Mandapam where Lord Shiva in all of his various manifestations is represented on sculptured pillars.

The Meenakshi Sundareswarer Temple, dominating the city landscape with its towering ‘gopurams’ is the holiest site midst the historically holy city of India, particularly Tamil Nadu. The massive walls of the temple enclose markets and dwelling-houses, elephant stables and dancing-halls, sacred trees and sacred tanks. The shops within the temple complex sell various articles related to deity worship. Observe the garland-sellers laying out flowers like carpets and toy merchants selling little country gods of sandalwood. Enjoy watching the basket-weavers and umbrella-makers at their trade, while the shouting and laughter of the crowd keeps echoing and re-echoing among the jungle of fantastically carved columns. Most of the shops are huddled around the entrance halls. The ‘City of Temples’ Madurai is also known as ‘City of Festivals’ as almost every day some ceremony or festival is observed in Meenakshi Temple. It’s really fascinating to watch south Indian women, draped in colorfully bright sarees, floating gracefully with flowers stuck into their hair. The devotees take holy dip into the tank of the Golden Lily before offering worship to Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati. Non- Indians will find curiously strange women performing some marvelous sleight-of-hand that enables them to change sarees without ever appearing to be undressed.

It is not known when the earliest temple to this ancient deity had been built. Malik Kafur who invaded Madurai in the early 14th century destroyed the outer parts of the old temple.

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