Meenakshi Amman Temple, also known as Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is one of the oldest and most important temples in India.
Located in the city of Madurai, the temple has a great religious and historical significance.
It is believed that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Sundareswarar and married Parvati (Meenakshi) at the site where the temple is currently located.
According to a legend, Meenakshi emerged out of a ‘Yajna’ (sacred fire) as a three-year-old girl. The ‘Yajna’ was performed by a king named Malayadwaja Pandya along with his wife Kanchanamalai.
Since the royal couple had no child, the King offered his prayers to Lord Shiva, requesting him to grant them a son.
But to their dismay, a triple-breasted girl emerged from the sacred fire. When Malayadwaja and his wife expressed their concern over the girl’s abnormal appearance, a divine voice ordered them not to fret over the girl’s physical appearance. They were also informed that the girl’s third breast will disappear as soon as she meets her future husband. The relieved King named her Meenakshi and in due course crowned her as his successor.
The Mudarai Temple complex in itself is breathtaking, given the fort like walls pierced with lofty towers, surrounding an area of about 640000 square feet.
No less than 12 gopurams or towers adorn this temple and the 4 outer ones tower to a height of over 160 feet. The Meenkashi Temple has been has been a popular place for tourists and devotees from time immemorial. Of late the number of visitors has gone up significantly.
Authorities say an unprecedented number of visitors of about 50,000 people on a normal day visit this holy place.
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