This is My India: Story of Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple is one of the masterpieces of Dravidian architecture, designed based on the human body. Built by many generations of Pandyan rulers, the Temple sits on 16 acres of land. There are 14 towers which also serve as entrances into this Temple.

Kulasekara Pandian, the Grandfather of Queen Meenakshi constructed a small temple with a Lingam. Around 300 B.C Meenakshi reigned the Pandyan Kingdom, and ordered the massive construction of this Temple. The Temple was further expanded by the newer generations of Pandyan kings by clearing the forest of Cadamba trees (Kadambakaadu). The temple was partially destroyed by the Muslim Invader Malik Kafur in 1310 A.D. A restoration project was undertaken by Viswanatha Nayak (1559-1600) who also added many new structures to the Temple.

The temple is designed based on the human body. There are 5 main entrances based on the human senses (see, hear, smell, taste and touch). There are 9 smaller entrances to the inside complex that denote the 9 orifices of the human body (2 eyes, 2 nostrils, 2 ears, mouth, urethra and anus). In Hindu culture, it is believed that the air travelling through these 9 entrances (orifices) was the soul itself. If the air stopped flowing, your soul would leave the body. The streets of Madurai are constructed as concentric circles, with the temple at the center. This is also thought of as a "Lotus Formation”.