Meenakshi Amman Temple – Madurai

Meenakshi Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River[2] in the temple city[3] of MaduraiTamil NaduIndia. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva, here named Sundareswarar.[4] The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old city[5] of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature.[citation needed] Though most of the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655 CE.[6][7][8] In the 14th century, the Sultanate Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple and looted it of its valuables. It was rebuilt by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar around the 16th century. It was Vishwanatha Nayaka who rebuilt the temple in accordance to shilpa shastra. It houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50m in height. The tallest is the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high,[6] and two golden sculptured vimanas, the shrines over the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of the main deities. The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 on Fridays, and receives an annual revenue of ₹ 60 million.[9]There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple. It was on the list of top 30 nominees for the “New Seven Wonders of the World“. The temple is the most prominent landmark and most visited tourist attraction in the city.[10] The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, celebrated during April and May, attracts 1 million visitors.[11]

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