The twin Temple comples of Madurai City - Sri Meenakshi and Sundareshwar is synonymous with the city itself. It is not only one of the largest temples of India, but also one of the oldest too. It grew to the present form with an area of about 65000 Sq. mt. with the generous contributions of each dynasty which ruled the city of Madurai. The temple is believed to be first came into existence about 2000 years ago. However, it was substantially expanded during the ruling period of Thirumalai Nayak (1623-55 AD).
Though the temple is a twin complex of Lord Siva in his incarnation as Sundareshwar and his wife Meenakshi (Parvati), meaning fish-eyed, is the main deity unlike in many other temples where Lord Siva used to be the presiding or the main deity. There are four huge gateways enclosing the twin temples. For the Hindu pilgrims (non Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum) it is a pious area but for the tourists it is a marvellous structure with its many paintings and sculptures adopted from the Hindu religion with unimaginable accuracy and perfectness on the hard rock pieces.
A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as the “Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, decorative, bold sculptures that look life like. If you look from any angle, these pillars appear to be in a straight line, reminding the perfect architectural technology of those days and making it a masterpiece in itself. In the outermost corridors are situated the musical pillars carved out of stones. When it is tapped, each pillar produces different musical note.
There is also a pond in the middle of the complex making it more beautiful. Outer part of the temple is used as market place where tourists as well as pilgrims can buy various articles of their choice.
Madurai city is well connected by Air, Rail and Road. There are also many other tourist places near to Madurai such as Kodai Canal, Kanyakumari etc. in Tamil Nadu and Thekkadi, Munnar etc.in Kerala. Conducted tours are also available to these places from Madurai.
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