Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai . The temple is square shaped and a series of concentric streets with names from Tamil months surround the structure. The entire temple occupies around 45 acres, with each side having an entrance of its own.
The temple grew with the contribution of each dynasty and victorious monarchs, into an enormous complex extending over an area of 65000 Sq m. The temple first came in to being 2000 years ago and was substantially expanded during the regime of Thirumalai Nayak(1623-55 AD).
It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva, here named Sundareswarar. There are four massive gateways enclosing these two shrines. Even a casual visitor is fascinated by the many paintings and sculptures.
The temple has huge Gopurams which can be seen from a far off distance. There are total twelve gopurams, but the tallest four stand on the outer walls, each facing one direction. Amongst the four gateways, the south one is the tallest. It is about 50 m high and can be climbed to have a view of the entire city.
A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure know as Ayiramkaal Mandapam or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. View from any angle these pillars appear to be in a straight line, an architectural masterpiece indeed In the outermost corridors are situated the matchless musical pillars carved out of stones. When it is tapped, each pillar produces different musical note.
A number of complex corridors, magnificent sculptures and a heavenly abode suitable for Goddess Meenakshi, include the additions to the temple that were done by different kings. According to mythology, the marriage of Meenakshi and Shiva actually took place in Madurai. It is still celebrated every year with great pomp and show.
The nearest airport to Rameswaram is the Madurai Airport located at a distance of 174 km from Rameswaram.
The Road distance between Madurai and Rameswaram is 172 kms and Train distance is 161 kms.