The main purpose to visit Madurai, the Athens of East was to explore a different ambience of traditional India in which religious activities are highly imbued. Discovering new places has always been an attraction for me. And in the workaholic atmosphere of Bangalore I barely get time to visit temples or any such institutions, so I decided to have an experience of that too. And for that what could be a better choice than Madurai, a land of famous temples. Checking online I had prepared a list of temples that I would like to visit, and Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai was topping the list.
Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River Meenakshi Amman Temple is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort Shiva; it forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 old city. On entering the temple I was surprised to see the architecture of this century-old temple standing with a number of concentric quadrangular enclosures. The one thing that glued my focus were the bright stone figures of animals, Gods and demons carved on the walls of the ten Gopurams surrounding the temple. To me it was indeed a tantalizing specimen of art and compelled me to contemplate how much labor and patience would have resulted in it.
A three-storied 'Gopuram' stands at the entrance of the Meenakshi shrine where Devi Meenakshi is depicted as the fish-eyed goddess, radiating love and grace. The stone figures displayed on the sanctum of Sundareswarar were just amazing pieces of art. But topping them all lay the Hall of thousand pillars, which is an excellent testimony of Dravidian architecture. I was spellbound to see the arrangement of 985 pillars, which appeared to be in a straight line irrespective of the angle from which they are being viewed. There is a unique exhibition of rare artifacts and idols in this hall.
I never imagined that for a person having interest in adventure sports, a temple and its surrounding could appeal so much. Having liked Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, I was confident that my next ventures would also not disappoint me. After the tour of my first destination I returned to my hotel to gear myself for the next destination of my list, Mariamman Teppakulam Madurai.