On my way back to Bengaluru from Kanyakumari, we had two pit stops. The first being Thirunalveli, to have a taste of the mouth-watering halwas. The second stop was at Madurai, the big town of yesteryears. Though compared to those times, Madurai has slowed down a bit, but it still attracts pilgrims from all over the country and is quite crowded during day time.
Madurai was, is and will always be known for the famous Meenakshi temple. The temple with its huge colourful gopurams looks a stunner even from a very long distance. The beautifully carved sculptures on the gopurams would make one feel that it must have taken many years in the making. There are 12 such wonderful gopurams around the sanctum, of which 4 of them form the four main entrances. Various shades of red, pink, green, blue and yellow have been extensivley used on the sculptures and this makes it astoundingly beautiful. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati. There are also differenet shrines with various deities near the main temple.
I kept gazing at the magnificent works for a very long time even as pilgrims walked briskly past me in order to have a darshan. The lovely temple pond, Porthamarai (Pond with the golden lotus) is situated inside the temple. I found the corridors around the inner sanctum to be very broad with huge carved pillars everywhere. After the darshan I moved towards the very famous thousand pillar hall better known as Aayiram Kal Mandapam. All the pillars shows extensive dravidian architeture and have been well maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. Towards one side of this hall lies the musical pillars. When struck, each pillar produces a musical tone different from the other. My curiosity made me strike many pillars and I listened to some lovely music. This hall also has an art museum which showcases coins, drawings, ivory works etc which are centuries old.
After a photoshoot with the cute temple elephant, we browsed through the many shops selling paraphernalia. Various celebarations and festivals are held at this temple througout the year and in full pomp and glory it would be a sight to behold. Being one of the popular temples of South India, Meenakshi temple at Madurai is definitely worth a vist for its fabulous carvings and the colourful gods.
Signing Note: Witness Gods at their colourful best...!!
Route: Bangalore- Hosur- Krishnagiri- Salem- Dindigul-Madurai
Distance- 440 kms