Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
Dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva the temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE. The complex houses 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high and two golden sculptured vimana, the shrine over sanctum of the main deities. A striking feature of the temple is the astonishing structure known as “Ayiramkaal Mandapam” or the Hall of Thousand Pillars and each pillar features high, ornate, bold sculptures that look life like. Viewed 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. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple. The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays and gets an annual revenue of sixty million rupees.