Things to do in Meenakshi temple – A complete travel guide

Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple is known for its splendid architecture and spiritual aura. If you have planned a trip to Meenakshi temple, here is your perfect travel guide for witnessing this iconic place down South. 

Meenakshi temple

Table of Contents

  1. About Meenakshi temple
  2. Guide to cover Meenakshi temple
  3. How to plan a trip to Meenakshi temple
  4. Hotels and Resorts in Meenakshi temple
  5. Why visiting Meenakshi temple should be on your next travel list


Things to do in Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple is the most well-known and emblematic of the many sites that combine to make South India a cultural haven on earth. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi, has been a popular tourist destination throughout the years and is also called the “Mathura of the South.” This Hindu temple, which is the pinnacle of traditional architecture with breathtaking murals, is in Madurai on the southern bank of the Vaigai River.

There are many things to know about Meenakshi temple. It is Madurai’s oldest temple, exudes a mysterious aura over visitors. Meenakshi is an avatar of Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s bride, and has a 2500-year-old temple devoted to her on the southern riverside Vaigai. Then there’s the commotion and the typical rush and bustle of India, but also the tranquillity and spirituality. 

History of Meenakshi temple 

Analysts believed the Meenakshi Temple history is as old as Chennai, which was founded in the first century C.E. Kulashekarar Pandyan, the king who ruled the Pandyan dynasty for so long, is supposed to have built the temple based on instructions given to him in a vision by Lord Shiva.

The temple is identified as the city’s main building in a few religious writings from the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. When the old temple was destroyed by Muslim conquerors in the 16th century, it was rebuilt. 

The architecture of the Meenakshi temple

Meenakshi Temple

Here are some important details regarding the architecture of Meenakshi temple:

  • The Minakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple, one of the greatest temples in South India, boasts outstanding architecture and enchanting murals all around.
  • It features four Raja gopurams, two gold gopurams, one Chithirai gopuram, five five-story gopurams, and two three-story gopurams, all of which are majestic in look.
  • The temple’s most famous feature is a hall with a thousand pillars, a sacred lake with a golden lotus where you can have a ritual bath, a wedding hall, numerous tiny shrines, gardens, and elephant stalls.
  • The temple is so well-kept that the Central Government named it the “Best Swachh Iconic Place” in India in 2017.

Facts about Meenakshi temple 

People from all over the world flock to see the temple because it is so majestic and grand. Here are some more fascinating facts about the temple that you should be aware of. So look at it.

  • Indra Deva constructed the temple

According to popular legend, the Meenakshi temple is situated in the heart of the temple city and was erected by Indra Deva himself. Shilpa Shastra literature and sculptures can be seen in the temple.

  • The 33,000 scriptures

Tamil Hindus flock to this temple to worship Sunderashwar and Meenakshi. The temple has over 33,000 scriptures as well as 14 entrances with two golden sculptures. With a height of 170 feet, the entryway on the southern side of the sanctum is the tallest.

  • The Thousand Pillars hall

Meenakshi Temple is also one of India’s seven wonders. Another outstanding piece of architecture is the Hall of Thousand Pillars, which is built on a single piece of granite. The rock is shaped into a mandapam, which is used for weddings.

  • Vishwanatha Nayak rebuilt

The temple was robbed and destroyed before being rebuilt by Vishwanath Nayak during the rule of the Pandayan Empire in 1560, around 2500 years ago. Madurai was the capital at the time and was ruled by Tirumalai Nayak.

  • Goddess Meenakshi’s Idol

The Goddess Meenakshi or Parvati idol is sculpted in a greenish stone. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, holy, and has flashy pupils as if the Goddess were alive. This Hindu temple is dedicated to a menstruation Goddess. The goddess can also be shown with three breasts because Parvati was created with three breasts. It was a curse that the third breast would disappear once she met the proper man.

  • This temple attracts up to a million visitors

Friday is considered a noteworthy day in April, and approximately 25,000 people visit on this day. Furthermore, in April, according to a festival commemorating the wedding and union of the Gods. The Meenakshi Thirikalayanam is the name of the celebration. Furthermore, the temple’s annual revenue is approximately $60 million.

Meenakshi temple- The Mathura of South

Meenakshi temple

This temple, which honours Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi, has developed into a popular tourist destination and is frequently referred to as the “Mathura of the South.” But, if you’re still wondering what’s in it for you, trust us when we say that the reasons why you should visit and witness the timeless splendour of this temple are numerous with a travel guide, Meenakshi Temple. Without further ado, let’s get into the details of everything you need to consider before your upcoming trip to Madurai.

Things to do in and around Meenakshi Temple

If you visit the Meenakshi temple, keep in mind the pooja hours, which is the major reason for visiting the temple. The following are things to do in Meenakshi temple with family and friends. 

Things to do in Meenakshi temple with friends

Temple architecture tour

The temple boasts a stunning Dravidian architectural style. Explore the temple’s 14 gopurams (towers) adorned with thousands of colorful sculptures and stories from Hindu mythology.

Attend the night ceremony

Every evening, there’s a ritual where an image of Lord Shiva is carried in a procession from his shrine to that of his consort Meenakshi to symbolize their nightly union. It’s a moving and intimate ritual that’s worth experiencing.

Visit the golden lotus pond

This ancient tank is where devotees cleanse themselves before entering the sanctum. Legend has it that the tank is filled with golden lotus flowers that were offered by the god Indra.

Explore the temple art museum

Located within the temple complex, the museum showcases the history of the temple, its renovation efforts, and various artifacts and sculptures.

Hall of thousand pillars

Marvel at the intricacies of the stone carvings and sculptures in this hall. Each pillar is uniquely carved and when tapped, some produce musical notes.

Visit falls at Kutladampatti

The magnificent Kutladampatti Falls, located approximately an hour outside of the city centre, is a simple day trip from Madurai. The monsoon, which lasts from June to September and is the greatest time to visit, is when they are most magnificent.

Visit Puthu Mandapam for shopping

Puthu Mandapam, the massive 17th-century pillared entrance hall opposite Meenakshi Temple’s east tower. Inside, you’ll discover rows of tailors and stalls offering fabric, scarves, jewellery, fashion items, handicrafts, and paintings. There are good-quality garments available, including realistic copies of temple dresses.

Things to do in Meenakshi temple with family

It’s not difficult to spend the entire day visiting the temple in Madurai. The temple complex also includes a bazaar and a museum. Here are some recommendations for places to visit in Meenakshi Temple:

  • Meenakshi temple gopurams

There are no fewer than 14 ornately decorated towers, or gopurams, at the Madurai Meenakshi temple. Four of them combine to make vibrant entry gates. The eastern gate is the oldest and is 52 metres taller than the south entrance. They all feature intricate sculptures of more.

  • Golden lotus pool
Golden lotus pool

It is easy to get lost given the size of the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. No matter how far away you are from home, you will eventually return to the courtyard with the revered golden lotus lake. This lies in the temple’s heart and provides lovely views of the vibrant gopuram towers in Madurai.

  • Meenakshi and Shiva shrine

Long queues of people are awaiting entry into the temple because the Meenakshi and Shiva shrines are among Hindus’ most revered locations. 

Places to visit near Meenakshi temple 

The following are a few places to visit near the temple: 

Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple
  • Thiruparankundram Murugan temple

The trip from Meenakshi Amman Temple to Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple is 7.8 km long and takes 21 minutes. This temple is devoted to Lord Murugan and is called the Subramanya Swamy temple. Pandas built this temple in the sixth century using a rock-cut design.

This cave temple is dedicated to the five elements of the earth, according to the hill known as the “Southern Himalaya.” These five components are referenced in the ancient texts of the Temple. Sekunder is honoured in this Islamic shrine as well.

  • Gandhi museum

The distance between Meenakshi Amman temple and the Gandhi Museum is 3.8 km, and the time it takes to reach the Gandhi Museum is 13 minutes. Gandhiji and Madurai have a special link because Gandhiji revised his dress code after visiting Madurai. The Indian liberation movement was recreated with 265 drawings in the special exhibition space, as well as many other beautiful things related to Gandhi’s time.

  • Samanar hills

Samanar hills are 14.9 kilometres away from Meenakshi Amman temple, and it takes 35 minutes to go there. The hills are near the Madurai village of Keelakuilkudi. The Samanar hills are also known as Samanar mallai in Tamil, where Samanar denotes a Jain and mallai denotes a hill. These caverns were used by Samanar, a group of Jains who lived in the first century AD. Pechchi Pallam is a natural fountain that can be found in this area. The caves have incredible sculptures carved into them.

  • Pazhamudhir Solai 

The journey to the Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple from the Meenakshi Amman Temple requires a 2.0 km (1.2 mi) travel distance, and it takes 9 min to get there. In Tamil Nadu’s Naan Maada Koodal, a shrine called Pazhamudhir Solai is devoted to Lord Muruga. Vishnu previously served as a barrier against misfortune, hence the city’s name. Consequently, the city was given his name, Naanmadakoodal.

  • Periyar Tiger Reserve Park

The Periyar Tiger Reserve is a park well-known for its wildlife, including elephants. The best time to visit this location is from October to June. but a long way from Madurai. 159.4 km need to be travelled to get to the Periyar Tiger Reserve from the Meenakshi Amman Temple, and 3 hours and 23 minutes are needed to complete the journey. The 777 square kilometre Periyar Tiger Reserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna species that give tourists a visual feast.

How to plan a trip to Meenakshi temple

There is much more to Madurai than just temples, even though the Madurai Meenakshi temple is the city’s main draw. Madurai’s vibrant and serene streets are a delight to meander through, and for an Indian city, Madura is incredibly clean and tranquil. Another excellent reason to extend your stay in Madurai is the local cuisine. Here are a few pointers for organising a visit to the temple.

Timings and entry fee

The Meenakshi Amman temple opening timings and other details related to the temple’s timings are given below: 

  • Timings of Meenakshi temple: The temple is open daily from 5:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
  • Meenakshi temple entrance: There is no Madurai Meenakshi temple darshan ticket price. If you want to visit an art museum, the entrance fee is INR 5 for Indian tourists and INR 50 for foreign tourists.
  • Darshan duration: The Meenakshi Amman Temple is without a doubt, the most popular tourist destination in Madurai, and you may find yourself waiting in line for hours to see the deities’ idols. If you want to avoid the crowds, the temple offers special Darshan tickets for INR 50 for viewing the idol of Goddess Meenakshi and INR 100 for visiting both goddesses.
  • The following is the dress code for visiting the temple: You must wear clothing that hides both your legs and shoulders in order to be accepted. Check that you are not wearing any shorts, dresses, lungis, hats, or socks.
  • Valuables are not permitted within the temple: Umbrellas, poles, and anything made of animal leather, such as a wallet or belt, are severely prohibited from carrying into the temple. Also, keep in mind that cameras and cell phones are not permitted within the shrine.

How to reach Meenakshi temple

The Meenakshi Temple in Tamil Nadu temple town has excellent road, rail, and air connections to the majority of South Indian towns. Here are instructions on how to reach Meenakshi Temple.

  • By Train

A train ride to Madurai from the railway station will undoubtedly be full of breathtaking scenery. Because Madurai is well connected to all towns, you can take a train to the Madurai Junction Railway Station, which is only 10 minutes away from the temple. You can use an auto rickshaw or a taxi as needed to get to the attraction quickly.

  • By Road

If you are travelling to Madurai by road in a state or private bus to see the temple, you can get off at the Mattuthavani Bus Stand, where it will require only 20 minutes to travel to the Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple. For a comfortable travel experience, you can book a cab for travelling

If you are traveling from Chennai to Madurai, check out this comprehensive travel guide for all the important road trip information.

  • By Flight

If you fly to Madurai from Chennai, it will take you about three hours to reach the temple. When you arrive at Madurai Airport, you may easily hire a cab that will take you to the temple in 90 minutes.

Best time to visit Meenakshi temple

Although the Meenakshi Amman temple is open all year round, it is better to appreciate its grandeur when the conditions—both the weather and the setting—are perfect for a wonderful outing. While July and August are the best time to visit Meenakshi temple because of the nice monsoons, Madurai’s summer months are hot and muggy. 

However, if you want to visit during the Chithirai Festival, the months of April to May are also fantastic. But October to March is ideal for touring the magnificent temple and the city because the weather is comfortable all day long. In terms of visiting the temple, the best times to go are early in the morning and late in the evening for the night ceremony.

Travel tips for visiting Meenakshi temple

  • Check the weather in Madurai before visiting the temple, as you may not be able to explore it comfortably if it is too hot or humid.
  • Before you decide to visit Meenakshi Temple, make sure you read the crucial information for tourists and visitors.
  • Take a look at all of the do’s and don’ts and follow them intelligently, as not doing so may offend the locals or clerics.
  • Do not bring your camera because photography is now prohibited within the temple.
  • Visit the temple early in the morning rather than during peak hours to avoid wasting time and energy in lines.
  • Attend the night ceremonial procession, which takes place at about 9:00 p.m. every day except Friday.

Hotels and restaurants near Meenakshi temple

As a prominent pilgrimage site and major tourist attraction, the temple also provides lodging in the form of three lodges, which can only be reserved at the time of the visit. The three lodges are located on West Chithirai Street and are known as Birla Vishram, Sundareswarar Illam, and Bakthargal Thangum Viduthi. If you choose to stay in a hotel, several acceptable options are given below:

SN Name of hotel Address Average price per night 
1 Gopuram Residency 23 West Chitrai Street, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 1,610
2 Mani’s Residency 5,Town Hall Road Opp. Bata showroom, Madurai, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 1,099
3 Moskva Hotel 57, Tamil Sangam Road, Madurai, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 2,000
4 Hotel Temple View 55 Dhanappa Mudali Street, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 800
5 Hotel Temple View Annex Sarala Prasad Complex,3Rd Floor,47/48,West Tower Street Near West Tower Of Meenakshi Amman Temple, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 990
6 Royal Court No.4, West Veli Street, 625001 Madurai, India Rs. 4,300

Why visiting Meenakshi temple should be on your next travel list

You now understand why Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai is so well-known throughout India and why you must visit at least once in your life, whether or not you are religious. Witness the grandeur of the temple by booking a Savaari car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install the Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Arathy Subhash Marath

A quick summary
Majestic Spires of Madurai - Things to do in Meenakshi Temple
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Majestic Spires of Madurai - Things to do in Meenakshi Temple
Dive into our concise travel guide centered on Madurai's iconic Meenakshi Amman Temple. From the rich tapestry of its Dravidian architecture to the rhythmic rituals and vibrant bazaars that envelop it, this guide offers a curated snapshot, ensuring every traveler grasps the essence and allure of this ancient marvel. Perfect for those eager to experience spiritual depth and cultural richness in one profound journey.
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About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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