Meenakshi Temple Madurai The Best Of Dravidian Architecture

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple which is located in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. This is among the most famous temples of India which is known throughout the world for its outstanding and impressive architectural beauty. In Hindu religion temple is the place which is reserved for spiritual and religious activities that include prayers and analogous rites.
Sri Meenakshi temple of Madurai is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati). Goddess Meenakshi is an incarnation of the Goddess Parvati who is worshiped mainly by South Indians. The utmost architectural wonder of this templeis a testimony to the affluent Dravidian Culture. Some of the prominent features of this colossal temple are:

Temple Architecture:
This temple was built by Kulasekara Pandyan around 2000 years ago. The colossal structure of this temple is among the finest preserved monuments of the Dravidian style of temple architecture. Architectural and sculptural magnificence is the aspect of this temple which makes it popular throughout the world. The temple premise is surrounded by elevated wall which is adorned with various paintings and sculptures. The main deities of this temple are Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi, whose sanctums are encircled by number of smaller shrines and majestic pillared halls. Among the several magnificent structures the most striking ones are the 12 gopurams which are known for their bright colors painting and decoration of stucco figures of deities, animals, monsters, demigods, and celestial nymph.

Ashta Shakthi Mandapam:
This is located at the eastern entrance of the temple which is known for its 1,008 lamp holders. During festive occasions these lamps are lighted which gives spectacular sight to this place. Pillars of this structure are known for their carvings which depict the stories related to Meenakshi’s birth and LordShiva’s Thiruvilayadals (miracles). These pillars are carved on various mythological themes which mesmerizes visitors.

Meenakshi Nayakkar Mandapam:
It is situated adjacent to the Astha Shakthi Mandapam which is known for its 110 pillars. These pillars are famous for their beautiful carvings based on various religious and non-religious themes. A figure of animal with a lions body and an elephants head called Yalli is extremely beautiful.

Porthamarai Kulam (Golden Lotus Tank): >
This is the sacred lake situated inside the temple premises, in which devotees take bath. According to the Indian mythology it is believed that Indra bathed in this tank to wash away his sin, and then worshiped Lord Shiva with golden lotus flowers from the tank. It is surrounded by the corridor which is known for its beautiful sculptures based on various religious themes. The pillars on the northern side of this corridor are decorated with 24 poets of the Third Tamil Sangam.

Some of the other well known attractions of grand Dravidian style edifice are Oonjal Mandapam, Swami Sundareswarar Shrine, Kalyana Mandapam, Aayiram Kaal Mandapam or Thousand Pillar Hall and many more.

Architecture Of Yesteryears

Shingle style architecture is an innovative form of Queen Anne and it was originated in America during the last two decades of 19th century.This name was given by Vincent Scully, a historian of building architecture.Among the various structures in America that are constructed in this style, The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego is considered as the biggest.The houses that are built in this style are horizontal structures built up on a stone laid foundation.The asymmetrical designs and irregular construction make the building process highly complicated and as a result the cost of construction was far beyond the affordable range for common people.Thus it was considered as a luxury homes design. The roofs are more complex in this type of architecture. Many of such houses have gabled roofs with a tower in the front. A few houses have roofs that are hipped. In the gambrel form of roofs, the third storey of the building will be hidden in the roof so that the building will appear as a two storeyed building. The roof shingles and wall shingles will be in different colors. Most of the houses have towers and if a building is without tower, a part of its wall will be bulged out.

This type of architecture has the provision for more numbers of big and small windows. The windows are mostly double-hung with a single sash below and multiple sashes above. For huge walls, the windows will be in 2, 3 or more rows and there are various designs for the windows. In the most complex designs, large windows are kept in bays with 1, 2 or 3 stories. The more stylish windows will be in square, rectangular or circular shapes.Entrance with spacious porch is characteristic of this architecture.People used to relax in the porches which are supported by balusters, columns or stone supports.

The modern houses that are built in Shingle style architecture offer a host of distinctive features including natural surroundings, energy efficiency and healthy indoor atmosphere. These houses demonstrate how wood, stone and sunlight can be utilized to provide a healthy shelter.There are many holiday homes that are built in this style of architecture. Many wealthy people have constructed this type of homes at famous resorts and also at sea-side plots. Natural colors, exterior covered by wooden shingles and an asymmetric structure are the basic features of this architectural form. The other common features are big porches, irregular roofs, towers, verandas, asymmetric floors, chimneys, huge staircases and fireplaces etc.

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