TGWOI

Madurai city that never Sleeps

  • Meenakshi Temple

Highlights

  • Sangam literature makes a mention of Madurai in Silapathigaram
  • Thirumalai Nayak was the most popular king, who expanded the Meenakshi Amman temple complex.

It is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a City that never Sleeps. It is 450 Kms from the State Capital and Tiruchirapalli is 135 kms from Madurai. Sangam literature makes a mention of Madurai in Silapathigaram. It is also called as KADAMBA VANAM. According to legends:Lord Indra [head of the Devas] once worshipped Lord Siva under the Kadamba tree and abundance of those trees took the name Kadambavanam.Lord Siva appeared in the dream of King Kulasekara Pandyan and drops of immensely sweet madhu [nectar] rolls down from the matted hair of Lord Siva on the earth. Hence this was also called as Madhurapuri. In due course of time people started calling it as Madurai. Sangam consists of respected and highly esteemed Poets, Prodigies, Critics supported by the Kings. The sangam, Confluence of Tamil Scholars and Critics were convened thrice in this city. 

Historically it is also called as the Athens of the East. Megasthanes visited Madurai as early as 3rd BC. Later Romans and Greeks started visiting this erstwhile Pandya Kingdom and there were serious trade connections between them that flourished till the 10th century. The kingdom passed hands between the Pandyas ,Cholas and finally the Pandyas. It was Allauding Kilji in 1311 invaded this kingdom and laMeenakshi Koilter Thuglaks took control of it. Vijayanagar Kingdom captured it and left it in Nayaks control. Thirumalai Nayak was the most popular king, who expanded the Meenakshi Amman temple complex. Finally the kingdom went into the British Rule before the Independence. 

The Meenakshi Amman temple is the city’s most important landmark. It is one of the five sabhas [divine dance stages] called as Velli Ambalam [silver Hall]. Apart from the face of Pilgrim and Education center, Madurai is a modern Commercial and industrial city. It is also famous for its trade mark Chungudi cotton sarees, color dyeing ,motifs ,Handicrafts, Brassware. Wooden Toys of Madurai is the favourite of the Young and Old as well. Madurai district’s population is 30,38,252 and the city’s population is 10,16,885.

Places of Interest

Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple :
Meenakshi is the Presiding Deity of this 2500 years old Temple, popularly called as Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, a town by itself, is located in the heart of the Madurai town. Lord Siva is named as Sundareswarar in this temple Meenakshi means [meen = Fish, akshi= eyes] Goddess with Fish Shaped Eyes.Meenakshi Kalyanam

Legend about Meenakshi :
The Pandian King Malayadwaja Pandian  [successor of Kulasekara Pandian] and his wife Kanchanamala were childless for a long time. They performed ‘Putrakama Yishti Yagam’ [Yagam / Homam performed for begetting a child] and Goddess Parvati appeared out of the Yagna Fire as a three year old Girl, with three breasts. Voice from the heavens said that the third breast will disappear, when she finds her match in Lord Siva. The king named the girl as "Tadaatagai” and also announced her as the heir to the throne. She was trained extensively in all the 64 Arts including field of war fare science. She went on Dig Vijayam [victory spree], across the stretch and width of the country. While in Kailayam [Mt.Kailash], she meets Lord Siva. She could not fight Lord Siva, because she was shy of her third breast. She later identified Lord Siva and a Celestial Proposal was made. It is then, she understood that she is the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. As instructed by Lord Siva, Tadaatagai returns to Madurai along with Lord Siva. As per the Divine wish, Tadaatagai weds Lord Siva, with Lord Vishnu performing the Celestial Wedding on the Earth , representing Goddess as her brother. After the demise of the King she became the Queen of Madurai. It is also believed that they both ruled the Land of Madurai for a long period and then assumed the form of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, the presiding deities of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Meenakshi Amman Temple is an elegant twin temple of Sundareswarar and Meenakshi and the life of Madurai City revolves around this temple. The construction process of the temple began 2500 years ago. Contributions from different dynasties and special contribution from Thirmalai Naicker, made this complex to extend by leaps and bounds over an area of 65000 sq.m and people rightly and popularly call this temple complex as the City of its own. Four Nine tier Gopurams, One Seven tier Chittirai gopuram, Five numbers of Five Tier Gopurams, Two Three Tier Gopurams and Two Golden Gopurams are the majestic towers of the temple. Because Golden Lotus for Indira’s Puja blossomed in the tank inside the temple, it is still called as Golden Lotus Tank [Pon Thamarai Kulam]. The Hall of Thousand Pillar of the Thirumalai Naicker period is called as Ayiram kaal Mandapam in Tamil. The architectural excellence of this hall is that the pillars viewed from any angle will be on a straight line. The musical pillars carved out of stone decorate the corridors of the outer courts. Temple is open between 5.00 am and 12.30pm :: 4.00pm to 9.30pm.
During the period of Nayakar rule in Madurai, Thirumalai Nayakar linked the Azhagar Thiruvizha and the Meenakshi – Sundareswarar Thirukalyanam [Wedding] ceremony, when Azhagar arrives in his Golden Chariot to conduct the Wedding, which gives Madurai a heavenly atmosphere even today. The 64 miracles of Lord Shiva that are enumerated and available now, are the reproduction of the Sanskrit version of the Halasya Mahatmyam. 

It is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a City that never Sleeps. It is 450 Kms from the State Capital and Tiruchirapalli is 135 kms from Madurai. Sangam literature makes a mention of Madurai in Silapathigaram. It is also called as KADAMBA VANAM. According to legends:Lord Indra [head of the Devas] once worshipped Lord Siva under the Kadamba tree and abundance of those trees took the name Kadambavanam.Lord Siva appeared in the dream of King Kulasekara Pandyan and drops of immensely sweet madhu [nectar] rolls down from the matted hair of Lord Siva on the earth. Hence this was also called as Madhurapuri. In due course of time people started calling it as Madurai. Sangam consists of respected and highly esteemed Poets, Prodigies, Critics supported by the Kings. The sangam, Confluence of Tamil Scholars and Critics were convened thrice in this city. 

Historically it is also called as the Athens of the East. Megasthanes visited Madurai as early as 3rd BC. Later Romans and Greeks started visiting this erstwhile Pandya Kingdom and there were serious trade connections between them that flourished till the 10th century. The kingdom passed hands between the Pandyas ,Cholas and finally the Pandyas. It was Allauding Kilji in 1311 invaded this kingdom and laMeenakshi Koilter Thuglaks took control of it. Vijayanagar Kingdom captured it and left it in Nayaks control. Thirumalai Nayak was the most popular king, who expanded the Meenakshi Amman temple complex. Finally the kingdom went into the British Rule before the Independence. 

The Meenakshi Amman temple is the city’s most important landmark. It is one of the five sabhas [divine dance stages] called as Velli Ambalam [silver Hall]. Apart from the face of Pilgrim and Education center, Madurai is a modern Commercial and industrial city. It is also famous for its trade mark Chungudi cotton sarees, color dyeing ,motifs ,Handicrafts, Brassware. Wooden Toys of Madurai is the favourite of the Young and Old as well. Madurai district’s population is 30,38,252 and the city’s population is 10,16,885.

 

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