Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

The second largest, and perhaps oldest, city in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is a variant of 'Mathura'. Located on the Vaigai River and enclosed by the Anai, Naga, and Pasu (Elephant, Snake, and Cow) hills, the old city, site of the Pandya (4th-11th century) capital, centers on Meenakshi-Sundareshwara (or Parvati-Shiva) temple, also called Sri Meenakshi temple. After the Pandyas, it passed to Chola, Vijayanagar, Muslim, Maratha, and British rulers. The temple, Tirumala Nayak palace, Teppakulam tank (an earthen embankment reservoir), and a 1,000-pillared hall were rebuilt in the Vijayanagar period (16th-17th century) after the city's total destruction in 1310 by Malik Kafur, a lieutenant of Ala'-ud-din Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate. In the 1940s, Madurai became a centre of the civil disobedience movement and remained an important seat of political leadership. Setup in 1955, the Gandhi Memorial museum documents the Indian struggle against the British from 1757 to 1947. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]

Sri Meenakshi Temple

Western gopuram

Western gopuram detail

More western gopurams (more)

Southern gopuram

Zooming in (more)

Religious kitsch on sale

Market inside the temple

En route Shiva's shrine

Pillar details

Hallway and ceiling detail

Pillar details

Holy men

Outside the inner sanctum

Votive lamps

Corridor behind inner sanctum

Holy men

Temple tank

Temple tank (1, 2)

Way to Meenakshi shrine

Meenakshi shrine

Pillared hall

Nandi worshippers

Random temple corner

Pillars and ceiling

Pujari downtime

Pillar tops

Queuing for Amman

Ancient stories on a wall

Sri Meenakshi Temple Museum

Woman or goddess?

Left of museum entrance (more)

Right of museum entrance

Man or woman?

1,000-pillared hall, main passage

Left flank of passage (more)

Shiva & Parvati in the center

Right flank of passage

Resting tourist

Illustrated ancient stories

More stories (1, 2, 3)

Chariot for the gods


Thirumalai Nayak's Palace

Palace entrance

Durbar hall

Lots of pillars

Site of the throne (1, 2)

Ceiling detail

Built in 1636 CE

Indo-Saracenic architecture

Seat of the king

Pillars & ceiling

Columns & arches

Columns & arches

Thirumalai Nayak

Dance & music hall

To entertain the king

Designed by an Italian

Wall detail

Vaigai river

Teppakulam tank (more)

Gandhi Memorial museum

Lunch spot


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