Updated: Nov 3
Queen of Madurai Meenakshi (Parvati); her third breast dissolves seeing Lord Shiva who became her consort as Sundareswarar. The stone sculpture is located within Thiruparankundram temple in Madurai and the temple gopuram is of the South Gate Madurai Meenakshi temple towering approximately 170 feet. She learned the 64 art forms, a warrior and a conqueror. She is Parvati who came as three year old Meenakshi as the daughter of the Pandya dynasty when the King and Queen prayed for a child during a yakam (yagna).
The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandyan and the city of Madurai was laid out like a lotus shape. It is believed that the city was built around the siva linga worshipped by Indra in the Kadamba forest.
To elaborate further, King Malayadhwaja Pandyan and his wife Kanchanamala performed the yakam (yagna) and received Meenakshi who rose from the fire as three year old child. She was born with three breasts and one would vanish when she meets the man (Lord Shiva) to whom she would marry. She went on to conquest the world and met Lord Shiva and immediately, her third breast vanished. Lord Shiva promised to return within 8 days and marry her and the wedding took place by Lord Vishnu giving away his sister Meenakshi to Lord Shiva who came as Sundareswarar.
The current temple structure was completed by Viswanath Naik and later completed by Tirumalai Nayakar. The streets are named after the months which surrounds the temple. There are 4 tall gopurams at the outer walls with beautiful sculptures.
There is huge idol of Lord Ganesha within the premises before going to Lord Shiva's Sannadhi.
A thousand pillar hall (short of a few) with marvellous carvings of Yazhi sculptures were carved on them. Further on, there are musical pillars that denotes musical notes. The 64 divine play was also displayed inside the thousand pillar Mandapam.
This is the only temple in India where Lord Shiva dances with his right leg up instead of the left leg upon request by the Pandya King.
Scenes of the wedding ceremony of Sundareswarar and Meenakshi can be located within the premises.
A lotus pond within the temple was used to value the literature works during the Tamil Sangam. One such example is the value of Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural.
Meenakshi temple management prohibit photography. You have to leave your phone in the locker guarded by police securities.
Fortunately, this sculpture below was available for photography at the entrance of the Thiruparankundram temple at Madurai.
From my recent visit during the start of Navarathri October 15, 2023 to both Meenakshi and Thiruparankundram temples. What a beautiful love story that still lives on!
I put my faith at the feet of Lord Shiva as Sundareswarar and Parvati as Meenakshi for giving me the opportunity to revisit these temples after a decade to receive their blessings.
Below is a photo from Thiruparankundram temple of Vishnu giving away Meenakshi (Parvati) to Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva). There was a barricade so I could not get a close-up without the glass barricade. You will also see similar sculpture inside Meenakshi Sundereswarar temple.
This sculpture is located at Thiruparankundram Temple dedicated to Lord Murugan in Madurai. Lord Shiva is holding baby Nandi being fed by Goddess Parvati shown as lion.
It is believed that Lord Murugan married Devayani blessed by Lord Shiva and Parvati at this temple Thiruparankundram, Madurai.
Om Saravanabhava, a mantra of Lord Muruga is located at the entrance of the Thiruparankundram temple in Madurai. This temple is believed to be built by the Pandyas in the 6th century. This is the temple where Lord Muruga married his wife Devayani.
This temple deserves additional mention as being revered in Thevaram composed by saint Sambandar.
Front view of the Thiruparankundram temple. As always, Lord Muruga temple is situated on a mountain hill or cave.
I wanted to share the rare sculpture of Lord Murugan/Kartikeya which I captured at the Indian Museum, Kolkata from my journey in August 2023, which I feel is best fit in this article much like I had the best darshan and blessings of Goddess Meenakshi at Thiruparankundram temple.
Note: For the artefacts from Indian Museum, I credit the archaeological team for their dedication in bringing to us such rare gem. I am super excited to share this with you. Photos are from my journey to the Indian Museum, Kolkata in August 2023.
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