Meenakshi Amman Temple or Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the ancient city of Madurai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi, an avatar (form) of goddess Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, an avatar of Lord Shiva.
Madurai also has many other temples, and is for this reason, known as the temple city. But the Meenakshi Amman city is the most popular of all of them, and is also called as Madurai Meenakshi Temple.
The temple is situated at the centre of Madurai city, and is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam (a group of about 275 greatest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati in the Indian subcontinent).
The history of the Meenakshi temple and the temple town of Madurai is mentioned in ancient Tamil scriptures. It is said to have been established by a Pandian King called Kulasekara (1190-1216 CE). The temple went through an invasion and destruction by the Delhi Sultanate, a Muslim ruling dynasty in the 14th century, but was later rebuilt by the ruler of the Nayaka dynasty who ruled the surrounding regions between 16th and 17th centuries.
The Meenakshi temple complex is a beautiful grand temple at the centre of Madurai city and consists of a group of monuments inside some concentric enclosures of high masonry walls. The outer walls have four gateways through which devotees and pilgrims can enter the complex from all four directions.
King Kulasekhara Pandya had built the main portions of the three-storeyed gopuram (the grand pointy top part of the temple) at the entrance of the Shrine of Sundareshwar and the central portion of the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine, which are some of the earliest surviving parts of the temple that exists today.
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a popular landmark in the city of Madurai, and so, reaching it is not really difficult once you reach Madurai. Madurai city can be reached by bus, train or air.
Madurai’s airport - Madurai International Airport is well connected to major cities in India and other parts of the world. Madurai’s major train terminal – Madurai Junction Railway Station is also well-connected and can be easily reached from most major cities within India.
The Meenakshi Amman temple is open to devotees and pilgrims between 5 AM to 12.30 PM and 4 PM to 10 PM on all days of the week. There is no entry fee to visit the temple.
*Note (for foreign visitors) – Visitors and devotees are required to leave their footwear out before entering the temple; temples in India do not allow footwear inside.