Meenakshi temple is known by other names that are Meenakshi Amman Temple, Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Tiru-aalavaai and Meenakshi Amman Kovil. It is an ancient Hindu temple situated on the southern bank of the Vaigai River which is lying in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding goddess of this temple is Parvati called as Meenakshi and her companion Shiva to which we call Sundareswarar. Every demand of the devotee is fulfilled in this temple. The demand can be of happy wedding, children, prosperity, health and longevity. The prayers of the devotees are offered under the lotus feet of the goddess Meenakshi.Mental peace and soul’s salvation can be achieved in this temple by offering prayers to the goddess with true heart. There is another name of this divine goddessin chaste Tamil that is called as Angayarkanni which means “her eyes are in the shape of a fish”. As the eye of the fish is open all the time similarly the eyes of mother goddess is open throughout the day and night so as to take care of her devotees all the time.The best place of meditation is its corridor. The divine sound of Ohm can be heard in this temple.
Visitors can reach to this temple by mean of local buses, rickshaws and hiring taxis from Madurai. They can reach Madurai by air and railway networks.
Security And Some Tips
So many security arrangements are made by the police to protect the temple and its devotees from terror and unwanted happenings. As a much of the crowd is flocked towards this temple so people should not carry cash and ornaments with them. People should keep their luggage in the hotels where they are having stay.
When To Visit
Meenakshi temple is open all the days of the week. The timings of this temple are 5 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 10 PM. The duration of the visit is 2 to 3 hours. A large number of people visit this temple so as to get blessed by the Goddess Meenakshi. There is no entry fee to visit this temple.
What To See And Do
Meenakshi temple consists of four towers and entrances whose positions are expressed in terms of four directions viz north, south, east and west. The tallest tower is southern tower which consists of two temples which are worshipped in honor of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva. The temple of mother goddess entails 1,000 pillared hall, temple art museum, holy golden lotus tank, musical pillars, stalls, and many other smaller temples. The building material of the temple’s bottom is granite and of temple’s towers (gopuram) is limestone. The towers of the temple are covered with sculptured and radiantly painted gods, goddesses, animals, and demons. At the time of darshan devotees perform the ceremony of abishek by mean of milk, oil, green coconut, sandal etc. They use to take fasts and also offer silk sarees to goddess Meenakshi and vastra to Lord Shiva. Devotees express their true feeling of faith and devotion by mean of donations, poor feeding, penance, meditation etc.
Where To Stay
The best hotel of Madurai near Meenakshi temple is Hotel Saratha Rajans which provide luxury rooms, banquets, meeting halls and multi cuisine restaurants. The other hotels near Meenakshi temples are- Royal Court, Hotel Padmam, Hotel International, Moskva Hotel, Kathir Palace, The Madurai Residency, Astoria Hotels, The Golden Park etc.
Where Else To Stay
Visitors can also stay at dharamshalas as their stay is cheap if compared to Hotels near Meenakshi temple. One of the dharamshalas in Madurai is Bangur Dharamshala.
There are so many festivals which are celebrated in this temple. They are- Chithirai Tiruvizha which is celebrated in April-May which follows the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Shiva, Navarathri in September-October, Aavani Moola festival in August-September, Thai float festival in January-February, Aadi Pooram in July-August and Pongal in January-February. There are many other festivals like Deepavali, Tamil and English New Year days, Vinayaka Chaturthi etc. Special pujas are organized once in a month.
There are many other places to visit other than Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. These places are: Thirupparankundram Temple, Mariamman Teppakulam, Gandhi Museum, and Thirumalai Nayak Palace etc.
Devotees should cooperate with the police so as to ensure security. They should hold their materials of offering tightly and if it is difficult to carry then it should be placed at a secured place. People should have their personal diary so as to keep record of each and every part of the temple and its visit.