Madurai Meenakshi Temple has four major Gopuras which stands in the four directions. Among four, Southern Gopura is of 48 ft tall.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple Legends
Indra, God of heaven who came to The Earth to perform penance for Lord Siva, reached Kadamba forest, the present Madurai. His followers did a search in this place and found a small Siva Linga and informed Indra on the same. Indra did penance here and offered prayers to this self-manifested Linga to get out his sinful deed (Killing Brahman).
A merchant from Manavur, by name Dhananjaya, took a night halt at the temple built by Indra. Next day morning, he is surprised to see that the Siva Linga had been worshipped by the flowers. Merchant informed the Pandya King Kulasekara about the miracle. Knowing this King ordered his staff to built a temple and a town at this place.
His heir Malayadhvaja Pandya and His Wife Kanchanamala performed Putra Kameshti Yajna, while the Yajna was progressing a 3-year-old girl born out the holy fire, walked out and sat on the lap of Queen Kanchamala. The girl with eyes likes a fish had three nipples on her chest. The king and queen were upset on seeing the abnormality, a divine voice informed the King and the Queen that “raise her like a boy with all skills, the third nipple will disappear when she meets her future husband”.
As advised, they named the girl “Thadhathagai” and ascended the throne after her father’s death. She expanded the kingdom and declared war on three worlds, conquered Satyaloka (Brahma’s abode), Vaikuntam (Lord Vishnu’s abode), Amaravathi (Deva’s abode) and advanced to Kailash to take on Siva. When she came face to face with Siva, her third breast vanished and in shyness bowed her head down. She realized that Siva is here destined Husband.
Another version, It was Indra who ran to Kailash seeking residence when Amaravathi was conquered. When Thadathagai reached Kailash, encountered Siva, and her third breast disappeared. Siva told her to return to Madurai and anticipate his arrival. Lord Siva arrived Madurai after 8 days and the celestial wedding took place.
Lord Vishnu, could not reach the hall in time and the marriage went on without him. On knowing this, he stopped on the banks of Vaigai and manifested himself as Kallazhagar.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple History
In the 14th Century, this temple was closed for 50 years when Muslims rulers attacked the region. The present form of this temple was built by Nayak Kings. Nayaks were the administrators of Vijayanagara dynasty. They became independent after the fall of Vijayanagara dynasty in 1564 A.D. This temple had a huge contribution during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak during 1623 AD – 1659 AD. Kilikootu Mantap was built in 1227 A.D.
How to reach Madurai Meenakshi Temple?
- Madurai Airport is connected with major cities
- Madurai is well connected with all parts of India
- Direct buses to Madurai will be running from Chennai at high frequency.