Meenakshi Amman Temple or Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple also spelled as Meenaatchi Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple cityof Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Thirukamakottam udaya aaludaiya nachiyar. Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Shiva (addressed as Sundareswarar here).
The Madurai Temple is the epicenter of the city of Madurai as it was built according to the ancient Indian building manual called Shilpa Shastra.
The temple has 14 gopurams or gateway towers and 33,000 sculptures including two golden sculptured vimanas that are the tower above the sanctum. The southern gopuram is the tallest of them all with a height of 170 feet.
Thirugnanasambandar the Hindu Saint has mentioned the temple in his songs which go back to the early 7th century. The Lord has been described as Alavai Iraivan in his songs. The temple was restored to its pristine glory in the late 14th century when the Hindu Kings came back to power in Madurai. This can also be termed as a new beginning of a new era in the history of the Madurai temple when it was almost rebuilt.
King Thirumalai Naicker played an important role in the construction of the new form of the temple according to records. The restored complex now houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 meters (170 ft).
The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Ayirakkal (1000-pillared hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam, and Pudu-mandapam. Its shrines are dedicated to Hindu deities and Shaivism scholars.
The vimanas above the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of Meenakshi and Sundaresvara gilded with gold. There are several halls in the temple complex including one known as the hall of thousand pillars or the Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam. This has two rows of pillars out of which 985 are carved with images of mythological creatures called Yali, Shiva, Ganesha, and more.