Are you planning for Madurai trip? Looking to visit Meenakshi Temple Madurai? Do you want to learn more about timing and places to stay near the Meenakshi amman temple? Are you looking for other places to visit in Madurai? If yes, you must check this complete Madurai tourist guide excursively prepared by considering all these queries and providing the best possible resource for tourists visiting Meenakshi temple Madurai.
The historic Meenakshi Temple of Madurai is situated at the banks of River Vaigai in the Tamil Nadu state of India. The reigning deity of the Temple is Goddess Meenakshiaka Parvati and her companion Lord Shiva; here known as Sundareshwara.
Meenakshi Temple Madurai History
History says that in the beginning Lord Shiva was worshiped as the primary God, but later the significance shifted to revering Goddess Meenakshi as the chief deity. Visiting and leaving Madurai without visiting Meenakshi Temple is impossible. The aura of the city has the love and blessings of Goddess Meenakshi. It is a very beautiful place and one must visit it at least once. So without any further ado, let us dive into the details on everything that you must consider before your next trip to Madurai.
How to Reach Madurai?
The adjoining airport is the Madurai International Airport. The city is well connected to major cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Tiruchirapalli. If you are visiting Madurai from outside India; the flights are available from Colombo, Dubai, and Singapore.
The Madurai Junction is well joined to numerous significant cities in India like Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Cochin, Goa, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, and Trivandrum with many others as well. A number of trains link Madurai internally to other key towns like Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Karaikudi, Nagercoil, Rameswaram, Tanjore, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, and Tuticorin.
The city is well linked to all main cities in Tamil Nadu along with the adjoining states. Numerous private bus operators also run regular buses to the holy city until late night-time. The roads are spotless and well-built.
Madurai From Nearby Cities
1) Madurai From Kodaikanal
The easiest way to reach Madurai from Kodaikanal is by road only. Private taxi and state-run transport bus services are regularly available from both sides. It takes 3.5 hours to cover 165 km by road.
2) Madurai From Munnar
The easiest way to reach Madurai from Munnar is by road only. Highly recommend using a private taxi service as there is no regular state bus service is available from Munnar to Madurai or back. It takes approx 5 hours by road to cover 150 km. If you are having extra days and want to explore Kerala, you can easily plan your Madurai to Kerala trip, and is the best combination must say.
3) Madurai From Rameswaram
Madurai is well connected by road or by rail from Rameswaram. Though there is no frequent train service, state-run buses and private taxi services are also readily available. It takes 3hrs by road to reach Madurai from Rameswaram.
4) Madurai From Kanyakumari
The best route is by road in a private taxi. There is no direct train from Kanyakumari to Madurai as all the trains coming via Rameswaram.
5) Madurai From Kumali
The best route is by road which takes 3 hours to cover 165 km. A private taxi is the best to save time.
About Madurai Meenakshi Temple
You visit Meenakshi Temple (Also known as Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Thirukkoil) to witness the architecture style of the Dravidian period. A sense of spirituality and tranquility is felt at its best here.
The temple marks its existence 3500 years back. The historic informative books explain that the Meenakshi amman Temple, Madurai was the city center from which the boulevards ascended and spread in all directions. It has been adored in the respected Tevaram, a 7th-century work.
With four main entrances; one in each prime direction; Meenakshi Temple holds its head high. The four Gopurams of each of the main entrances are tortuously engraved portrayal effigies of numerous Gods and Goddesses, divine animals and demons.
Goddess Meenakshi can be markedly recognized wearing a green saree and holding a Parrot in her right hand. The name Meenakshi can be fragmented into “Meen” means Fish and “Akshi” means Eyes, hence giving the sense as the “Woman with the Eyes of a Fish”.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple Timings
Darshan/Pooja Timing: 05:00 am to 12:30 pm & 16:00 pm to 22:00 pm.
Meenakshi Temple Darshan charges
Free darshan available for all Hindus.
Rs 50 for special darshan per head separately
Entry charge of Rs 50 per headfor All foreigners.
Depending upon the time, crowd, and patience; the devotees can decide to have a free darshan or a paid darshan.
Main attractions are Goddess Meenakshi shrine, Lord Shiva Shrine, golden lotus pond, Aayiramkaal Mandapam (Hall of 1000 pillars), musical pillars, Art Museum and especially the evening ceremony are the best. Irrespective of caste, creed, and gender, all are allowed to enter the temple. But only Hindus are allowed to enter inside the Goddess Meenakshi Shrine and Lord Shiva Shrine.
1) Aayiramkal Mandapam – Hall of thousand pillars
After Lord Shiva’s shrine visit, came out from exist which just opposite of Lord Shiva’s shrine, turn left, walk for 15 meters, on the right side you can see Aayiramkal Mandapam. Though it is called 1000 pillars, actually it has only 985 pillars.
Each pillar has a beautifully carved statue of yalli or damon and elephant. The ceiling of this has been beautifully painted. Within this hall, there is an art museum that is also available for visitors. An entry fee of Rs 30 needs to be paid and it will be closed by 8 pm.
2) Evening Ceremony at Meenakshi Temple
Don’t Miss this!!!. Called Palliarai Pooja: The last Pooja of the day begins at 9:15 pm. This is an exceptional Pooja where the idol of Lord Sundareshwara(Shiva) is taken around in a palanquin carried by devotees followed by Nadaswaram (double-reed wind instrument) and Thakil (Tavil or Thakil is a barrel-shaped drum) to the shrine of Goddess Meenakshi and both as replaced to repose for the day.
Some more time the rituals continue in front of Goddess Parvathi and after pooja, the ceremony ends. You can also see traditional dance or music right side of the Lord Shiva shrine if you come half an hour early. Please note that 9:15 pm time is not fixed and sometimes it may start at 9:30 pm or a little bit late as per the pooja schedule of Lord Shiva.
In case you are coming for a simple darshan, it’s always advisable to take a ticket of Rs 50 for a direct darshan.
In case you are coming for darshan and pooja, it is always better to check with the temple website to know more about the pooja offered and its prices, etc.
All You Want to Know Before Meenakshi Amman Temple Visit
1) How to do Darshan or Visit the Meenakshi temple?
Visit Meenakshi amman temple can be termed in two ways. Those who are visiting the temple for religious rituals and tourists who are visiting to experience the temple and its architecture.
2) Is footwear allowed in the Temple?
Footwear needs to be removed before entering the temple and all gates have footwear keeping place Free of Charge (by the Temple administration).
3) Is Mobile allowed in Meenakshi Temple?
Mobile phones, cameras, any type of electronic gadgets, bags, water bottles, etc will not be allowed inside the temple. All these can be kept in a locker provided by the temple administration and available in all the gates for a price of Rs 30 each.
4) Are darshan queues the same for free & paid darshan?
Hindus who are visiting for darshan entering the sanctum sanctorum either can go via free darshan or paid darshan queue. Both these queues are different.
5) Are Non-Hindus & Foreigners allowed inside Meenakshi Temple? If Yes, What are the charges?
They are allowed to a certain place inside the temple, but not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. Non-Hindus or foreigners need to pay an entry ticket of Rs 50 per head for entry.
6) Is there toilet facilities inside the temple?
No toilets or washrooms for the visitors available inside the temple. But E-toilets are available outside temple premises at South Gate.
7) Which is the best entrance to Meenakshi Temple?
Entry from South Gate is by far the easiest way than other entrances. Non-Hindus or Foreigners who are visiting the temple experience, entry from East Gate is highly recommended due to its beauty.
8) Fees for special darshan in Meenakshi temple?
Special darshan is available for a price of Rs 50. In case you want to go direct in front of the deity Rs 100 needs to pay (Hindus only).
9) Best time for old people to visit Madurai Meenakshi Temple?
For old people, recommend having darshan before 7 am as it’s a less crowded time.
10) Are there any facilities for disabled people?
A wheelchair is available with temple authorities for disabled persons.
11) Is there any dress code in Meenakshi Temple?
Dress Code. There is no particular dress code is available for the visitors. But should wear a decent dress while you visit. Dresses with open shoulders and legs are not permitted by the Temple Management Committee. You would not be even allowed to enter the premises.
12) Is Hiring a Guide in Meenakshi Temple a Must?
Govt-approved guides are very expensive and they even do not give service for just temple only. If you feel capable of discovering about the temple, its history, and significance; you shouldn’t be hiring a guide. Alternatively, hiring a guide is a far better decision than not hiring one. The hired guide can explain the temple premises in-depth and saves your time.
13) Why tourists, especially foreigners Visiting Meenakshi Temple?
Meenakshi temple is must visit when in Madurai by foreigners due to its Dravidian style of architecture marvel. It’s believed that this has been constructed during AD 9th Century.
Though foreigners are allowed to visit a certain area inside the temple, this is enough for them to experience the architectural construction of the temple. The main shrines of Deity Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara are accessible to only Hindus. Therefore,
Best way to Experience Meenakshi Temple for Non-Hindus or Foreigners
Experience Gopurams (Towers)
Meenakshi Amman temple has four gopurams with entrances to the temple faces in each direction – South, West, North, and East. The biggest one is the South tower which has a height of approx 170 ft high and constructed in 1559. The Eastern tower is the oldest one which was constructed during the period of 1216 to 1238.
These towers are made of limestone. The main attraction of these towers is an amazing array of sculptured and beautifully painted gods, goddesses, animals, and demons. Thirumalai Nayak who is ruled during 1623 – 1655 has carried out the remaining constructions and completed the work.
You can get battery operated buggy to travel from one gopuram to other gopurams for a fee of Rs 10 per person. Completely mesmerized by the architecture of Gopurams which have around 2000 figures engraved on each of them. The best time to visit the towers either in the morning or in the afternoon.
2) Best Entrance Gate for Foreigners
The best entrance for foreigners is East Gate due to its beauty. If you are entering from East Gate, you can walk straight (golden lotus pond on the left side) to reach in front of Meenakshi Shrine. Turn right from Meenakshi Shrine to reach Lord Shiva temple.
3) Useful Guideline
Enter from South Gate by paying a Rs 50 entrance fee per person. Go straight inside the temple, on the right side, you can see the golden lotus pond.
You can walk around the temple and see the beautiful architecture, murals on the ceiling, artwork on rock pillars, etc. There are two deities – the moment you enter, the left side is Goddess Meenakshi shrine.
Once you experienced this, go straight, enter the next temple where you can see Ganapathy Idol (Elephant God) turn right from there, walk for 10 meters, and then turn left, you can see Lord Shiva shrine.
The interiors of the temple have scriptural paintings, inscriptions that talk about the Nayak and Pandya period. The architecture of the temple shows a blend of cultures, as there are elephants, lotuses, etc used as motifs on pillars and walls.
Came out from Lord Shiva shrine turn left and you can see Aayiram Kaal Mandapam (Hall of 1000 pillars) on the right side.
Note: If you are not having a guide service follow our guidelines to see the evening ceremony. Enter from south gate, go straight to other ends (in between you can see Goddess Meenakshi on the left side and pond on the right), you can see Ganapathi idol (Elephant God), turn right, walk for 10 meters, then turn left, you can see Lord Shiva shrine entrance on the left side.
The procession at 09:15 pm starts from here, you can follow the procession till Goddess Meenakshi shrine. If you are entering from East Gate, go straight (pond on the left side), at the end (Goddess Meenakshi Shrine) turn right, walk for 2mins, you can see Ganapathi idol(Elephant God).
Hotels in Madurai near Meenakshi Temple
The entry of any type of vehicle near the temple is prohibited. One needs to park the car approx one km away from the temple and devotees or visitors need to walk to the temple. During some particular days, there will be a huge rush due to which visit to temple may take more time. Considering this, it’s always recommended to stay in a hotel which is located close to the temple.
Madurai is entitled “Thoonganagaram” which means “The City That Never Sleeps”. To crunch your hunger Madurai offers unmatched culinary joys to you on visiting the city for a day and night. When in Madurai you must taste Badam Halwa, Biryani, Curry Dosa, Idly, and Jigarthanda drink, and lastly Kotthu Parathas. You must also visit Amma Mess, Muniyandi Vilas, Murugan Idly Kadai, and Simmakal Konar Kadai for delicious food.
How can I go to Meenakshi Temple in a Short Time?
Come at 16:00 hours, see the outer towers, enter from south gate, see all the interesting things inside Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva Shrine, came out from the East gate (this is just in front of Lord Shiva Shrine) turn left, walk 15mts, right side you can see the Mandapam (Hall of 1000 pillars), come back to Shiva shrine again to see the procession at 0915pm, came out from South Gate. Please note that the Mandapam will close by 08:30 pm Ticket will be issued till 08:00 pm only.