Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple in South India, Hinduism’s grandest citadel to the goddess, is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Hindus the world over and one of the most famous temples in India. This temple, centuries old and hand carved out of granite, covers an area of 16.5 acres. In Madurai, the Goddess Meenakshi is considered to be queen and the temple her home. The hallways and chambers are crowded from dawn to dusk, filled with pilgrims eager for darshan (sight) of the Goddess Meenakshi in the sanctum sanctorum. Pilgrims come offering prayers, to have wishes fulfilled, to atone for misdeeds or simply to offer their love to the Goddess for Her presence in their life.
The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai has 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45 to 50m in height. The oldest of these towers was built by the King Maravarman Sundara Pandyan during the period 1216-1238, and this tower is located on the eastern side of the temple. Of all the towers in the temple, the tallest one is in the south side and reaches a height of 51.9m (170 feet).
It is estimated that there are about 33,000 sculptures in the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. The towers of the temple are colorfully painted and display countless deities. The hallways within the temple display monolithic carvings of angels (devas) and great angels (mahadevas). It is by far Hinduism’s most impressive ancient temple.
The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day and around 25,000 on Fridays. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, celebrated during April and May, attracts 1 million visitors. As you walk the hallways, meditate in a quiet corner or worship at one of the many shrines, you will experience as a felt-sense the devotion that has been poured into this hallowed sanctuary over millennia by the countless millions of pilgrims. The Hindu religion is alive in this temple and the emanation of Shakti (feminine energetic power) from the sacred sanctum sanctorum is a life-transforming experience in this divine citadel.
A highlight of our 2017 Vedic Adventure will be a visit to Madurai’s Meenakshi Temple. Experience this sacred citadel to the Goddess for yourself on the upcoming immersion into Ayurveda, Yoga & Spirituality with Jasmine Grace, 29 November to 10 December 2017.