(Last Updated on : 06-07-2012)
Temples of Madurai district reveals the greatest architectural marvels of India. This district in Tamil Nadu is one of the important districts in South India and the Madurai city is the seventh largest city in the state, situated in the banks of river Vaigai.
Gifted with a rich cultural heritage and glorious tradition, the temples of Madurai district is grouped among the antiques of the nation. The history of the temples of Madurai district dates back to 6th century B.C. During that period, the district was the much-acclaimed capital of the Pandya kings. Madurai functioned as an important commercial center of South India and its temples are considered to be some of the most important ones in south India.
Temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders are plentiful in Madurai district. Madurai district is even called 'The Athens of the East', owing to its magnificent temples. Madurai's Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the greatest architectural marvels in the entire nation. Built by Pandya King 'Kulasekara' and reconstructed later by Ruler Thirumalai Nayak, Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple has patronized literature, art, music and dance ever since its inception. The entire city is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple and it attracts around six thousand visitors a day and gets annual revenue of rupees sixty million. This temple of Madurai district attained 26th place in the list of top nominees for the new Seven Wonders of the World. Lord Siva in his manifestation as Sundareswarar and his fish-eyed spouse, Meenakshi, are enshrined in this temple. There are four massive gateways enclosing these two holy shrines.
Thirupparankundram Temple is located 8 Kms South of Madurai Railway Junction. The temple here is believed to be the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. Its innermost shrine is made out of a solid rock. Alagar koil, a temple in Madurai district, stands as a celebrated Vishnu Temple dedicated to Lord Alagar. The temple is situated on a hill amidst panoramic surroundings. The shrine is known as Alagarkoil and the hill, Solaimalai. The temple also boasts some beautiful carvings and makes the visit rewarding. Palamudirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya is located at the extreme summit of the Hill.
The temples of Madurai district are firmly anchored in Tamil literature and tradition. These temples are home to many poets and artisans and boast an abundance of literary wealth of both classical and modern Tamil architecture. The temples of Madurai district have been centers for learning and pilgrimage for centuries. The city's ancient Tamil kings were great warriors, poets and connoisseurs of art, thus influencing the growth of temples in Madurai district.