Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

The Meenakshi temple history dates back to the 12th century when it was built, it was destroyed in the 14th century by Malik Kafur, and then rebuilt.

Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

The iconic Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple in the city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India is one of the glowing examples of the grandeur of ancient India’s temple architecture. The Meenakshi temple history is as fascinating as the intricate and exquisite murals that adorn its ceilings or the incredible 33,000 sculptures that adorn it. An intriguing medley of the Meenakshi Temple facts, and the unsolved mysteries of Madurai Meenakshi Temple, makes it all the more alluring. Here is the Meenakshi Temple history in brief.

Meenakshi Temple History And Interesting Facts

Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

The history of the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple can be traced to the 12th century. It has had a chequered history since it was built. However, it has always stood the test of time and risen from dust like the proverbial phoenix, displaying a remarkable resilience, that is so typical of many historical temples of India, including the Somnath Temple in Gujarat.

Meenakshi Temple History – The Genesis

If you happen to visit the Madurai Meenakshi temple, the stunning gopurams that number 14, and the more than 33,000 sculptures of different Gods and Goddesses, shall whisper stories that talk about the Meenakshi temple history. The stones of the magnificent temple hold the keys to the many unsolved mysteries of the temple, and the exquisite ceilings bear witness to the many interesting facts associated with this gem of India’s heritage.

The original temple to Meenakshi, the Madurai Meenakshi temple was built in the centre of Madurai in the 12th century. According to historical inferences, the great temple was built sometime between 1190 to 1216 CE, during the rule of Sadayavarman Kulasekaran I. It is believed that the main components of the Gopuram at the entrance to the Sundareshwar temple, as well as the central portion of the main temple, were built by him. It is these parts of the original temple that have survived to this day.

Meenakshi Temple History – The Apocalypse | History Of Madurai Meenakshi Temple

The darkest period in the history of Madurai Meenakshi Temple came in the form of the plundering army of the Delhi Sultanate, led by Malik Kafur. The marauders swooped down on the sacred and beautiful Madurai Meenakshi temple like vultures. The temple was all but razed to the ground and its valuables looted. The destruction extended beyond the temple and included the entire temple town of Madurai. A similar fate befell many other temples and towns of South India, including the famed Ranganathaswamy temple of Srirangam.

Madurai Meenakshi Mandir – The Resurrection

After the destruction at the hands of the invading army of the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. The temple slowly got to its feet and was rebuilt in bits and pieces.

It was to the credit of the Vijayanagara Empire that they ended the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and started rebuilding the region. They renovated the destroyed temple and opened it once again. It is believed that the sacred idols of worship of the temple had been discreetly smuggled out during the invasion by Malik Kafur and his army. They had been hidden in a place known as Nanjil Nadu, which is present-day Kanyakumari.

However, it was only in the 16th and 17th centuries that major repair, renovation, and expansion of the Madurai Meenakshi temple was done during the rule of Vishwanatha Nayaka and subsequently Thirumala Nayaka, of the Madurai Nayaka dynasty.

Today, the hallowed corridors of the Madurai Meenakshi temple see daily footfalls of more than 50,000 people every day and this number is doubled on festival days. Visitors to the massive Madurai Meenakshi temple are awed by its artistic and architectural brilliance, but if they pause to listen, the stones shall whisper stories from the history of the temple.

Meenakshi Temple Facts

  • The Meenakshi Madurai Temple is referred to as the Athens of the East
  • There are two main shrines inside the Meenakshi Mandir in Madurai, one dedicated to Parvati who is worshipped as Meenakshi and the other to Shiva who is worshipped as Sundareshwar
  • There are smaller shrines to Ganesha, Murugan, and other deities inside the temple complex
  • There are more than 33,000 sculptures inside the Madurai Meenakshi temple
  • Meenakshi Thirukalyanam is the main festival of the temple which celebrates the celestial wedding of Shiva and Parvati
  • The 1000 pillar hall which is a famed portion of the temple actually has 985 pillars
  • The temple also has musical pillars that produce different musical notes

When you visit the Madurai Meenakshi temple, do admire the grandeur of its structure and be awed by its mesmerising artistry and architecture, however, do spare a thought to its saga which spans 10 centuries of a tumultuous history.

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Meenakshi Temple History & Facts Madurai, Tamil Nadu

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Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

Meenakshi Temple History | 7 Amazing Meenakshi Temple Facts

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