The Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple is one of the greatest
Shiva temples in India, known for its sprawling landscape filled with sculptural wonders;
halls, pillars and lofty towers with lavish artwork in all forms. Madurai is a
vibrant cultural center speaking of the glorious traditions of the region. It is the siite
of the 64 Tiruvilayadalgal of Shiva (Tiruvilayadal puranam and Halasyamahatmiyam) and is
one of the 5 Pancha Sabhais of Nataraja - Rajata (Velli )Sabhai - where Shiva dances with
a raised righ food. The other dance halls are Chidambaram,
Tiruvalankadu, Tirunelveli and Kutralam. In terms of the richness of the legends, the
abundance of literature & the stunning architectural& sculptural splendour,Madurai
is second to none in representing the rich cultural traditions of India.
Madurai is regarded as the 1st of the Tevara Stalams in the Pandya
region of Tamilnadu.
SPECIAL FEATURE ON MADURAI
Madurai has been a seat of Tamil culture since very ancient times. Nakkeerar, Appar and
Sambandar have sung of its glories. The original temple was razed to the ground by
invaders & the current magnificient structure was built by the Nayak Rulers.
Legends: Shiva is said to have been worshipped by Indra in the
Kadambavana forest and hence Sundareswarar's vimanam is known as Indra Vimanam. Legend has
it that Meenakshi (Parvati) the daughter of Malayadwaja Pandyan married Shiva here.
Together, Shiva (Soundara Pandyan) and Meenakshi are said to have ruled over Madurai.
There are several legends surrounding this temple.
Festivals: The Chittirai Tiruvizha (Apr 15-May 15) causes the entire
city to take on a festive look; Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken in colorful
processions; the divine marriage and the coronation are enacted.The float festival here is
also of great importance.