Sri Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple
Synonymous with Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar twin Temple, the pivot around which the city has evolved. The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city – one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too. The temple grew with the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 Sq m. The temple first came in to being 2000 years ago and was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak(1623-55 AD).
Lord Siva in his incarnation as Sundareswarar and his fish-eyed spouse, Meenakshi, are enshrined in this twin temple. There are five massive gateways enclosing these two shrines. Even a casual visitor is fascinated by the many paintings and sculptures.
A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure know as “Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. View from any angle these pillars appear to be in a straight line, an architectural masterpiece indeed In the outermost corridors are situated the matchless musical pillars carved out of stones. When it is tapped, each pillar produces different musical note.
Timings : The temple is usually open between 0500hrs and 1230hrs and again between 1600 hrs and 21.30 hrs.
How to Reach:
Madurai Airport is located at Avaniyapuram, about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) from the city. It offers domestic flights to select cities in India. The airport has international flights and services to Colombo, Dubai and Singapore. The carriers operating from the airport are Air India, Air India Express, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Indigo and Srilankan Airlines.
Madurai Junction is the major railway station serving the District. Madurai has direct trains connecting other major cities and towns across India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.
Madurai District is well connected with the National Highways NH 7, NH 45B, NH 208 and NH 49 passing through Madurai. The state highways passing through the city are SH-33, SH-72, SH-72A, SH-73 and SH-73A which connect various parts of Madurai district.