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The Meenakshi Amman temple of Madurai, India
The temple dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi (called Meenakshi Amman Temple) in the city of Madurai, in the state of Tamilnadu is the second largest temple in South India and arguably the best in architecture & decorations. The present temple was constructed by the Nayak King Tirumalai (1623-1655 A.D.) over the partially damaged older temple which dates from Before Christ era.
The temple is a huge one, spread over an area of 15 acres. The main temple is on an area of 847x792 feet. There are four entrances to the temple complex on four sides, South, North, East & West, each one decorated with a huge Gopuram or Gate-Tower. There are in total 12 Gopurams in the temple complex, each decorated with thousands of idols from Hindu mythology. The tallest one is on the south (48.8 meters high) with 1511 idols. It was awe inspiring indeed.
Inside, there were huge halls with exquisitely curved pillars & painted ceilings. Thousands of idols of Hindu gods & goddesses draw the attraction of the visitors. There are two main temples inside, one dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi & the other to Her divine consort Lord Shiva, known here as the Sundareswara Shiva.
In the centre of the temple complex there is a big tank called the Golden Lotus Tank, with a huge golden metallic lotus in the middle.
One very important portion of the temple complex is the Thousand Pillar Hall which actually contains 985 highly decorated stone pillars. There are 22 pillars made of Granite which are hollow & produce musical notes when stricken with pebbles. These Musical pillars are really astonishing.
There is a museum near the thousand pillar Hall. The museum contais many objects of Art, the most beautiful are idols of Ivory curvings.
Thousands of devotees throng the temple daily. Non-Hindu visitors are also allowed inside excepting the sanctor sanctorum.