A SWEET WEIGHING OVER 18 KILOS · There is big statue of Lord Ganesh inside the temple. This 6 X 4 feet statue was discovered when the Nayak king was digging the earth for sand and stones for the temple. A big (Mukkuruni) kozukkattai or modak made up of 18 kilo rice and several kilos of jaggery/sugar is offered to it every year on Ganesh Chathurthy day. Kozukkattai or Modak is a steamed rice offering inside which is Puranam made of coconut or other grains.
· Inside the temple there is a wedding hall (Kalyana Mahal) in which two huge circles-Bhugolam and Gagolam- are drawn. The geography of the world is drawn by a famous astrologer.
48 YEAR WONDER
· ·When Malikkaffur, the commander of the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji, invaded Madurai region he plundered all the palaces and destroyed the temples. But the clever priests and administrators removed all the priceless idols and jewels to distant places like Kanyakumari and erected a fake sanctum sanctorum. Behind this was the real sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griham). After Muslim rulers were driven away, the temple authorities opened the temple and the oil lamp was still burning there which was lit 48 years before. The flowers were still fresh. It was recorded in the temple record books called Seethala Puththakam . · Vijayanagar Empire sent a commander by name Kampanna Vudaiyar who drove away the invaders. His brave wife Ganga Devi accompanied him to the battle field and wrote whatever she saw there in Sanskrit poems. The book is called Madura Vijayam. Her live reports from the battled field beat the modern day BBC and CNN war correspondents. She did it 700 years ago
· ·Float Festival in January: Every year in January a float festival is held in a near perfect square shaped tank calledMariamman teppakulam. It measures 950 X 1000 feet. In the middle of the tank is a Mandap. ·Palli Arai Deeparadhanai-Going to Bed room and saying Bye Bye for the day is done every night for the god. The god will enter Meenakshi’s bedroom at 10 pm in the night. A lot of people assemble to see this daily event.
· ·Lord Shiva blesses his devotees in three ways RUPA, ARUPA and RUPARUPA: Form, Formless and shapeless (form but not a shape - Linga). To express this principle there is a festival celebrated every year in Ani Uththiram (June) and Markazi Arudra day. The Nataraja idol is taken to a mandap and a circular mirror is placed in front of the idol. It reflects the idol. ·On that day Aarti/Deeparaadhana is done to Nataraja idol (RUPA), reflected image in the mirror (ARUPA) and the main god in Linga form in the sanctum sanctorum (RUPA ARUPA). A big principle is explained to the general public with demonstration. One feels like a science student attending a laboratory in the science class. ·Near the God’s Garba Griha is Six pillar mandap where in108 dance gestures are depicted. In addition to the five musical pillars in the Adi Veethi , we have musical pillar in the Kampaththadi Mandap and 1000 pillar mandap. The sculptors had selected such type of stones to show their skills.
· ·The jewellery of Goddess Meenakshi is amazing. Each jewel has a story. This is one of the most expensive collections in India. · There is an interesting story about one of the jewels of Goddess Meenakshi. Rose Peter (1812 to 1828) was one of the District Collectors appointed by the British. One day while he was sleeping there was a big thunder storm in Madurai. A little girl appeared before Rose Peter and asked him to get out of the building as soon as possible. When Rose Peter came out a big lightning struck and destroyed the building. His enquiries led him to identify the figure with Goddess Meenakshi. He was a devotee of Meenakshi. As a token of gratitude he made gem studded golden shoes and donated to Meenakshi. Each shoe weighs 28 tolas (A tola is approximately 11.5 grams). 412 red stones, 72 emeralds, 80 diamonds and cat’s eye, pearls, sapphires four each decorated the shoes. ·Pandya country was famous for its pearl industry. So we can see pearls, pearls nothing but pearls everywhere in jewellery. The biggest and rarest pearl is the size of a Jack fruit seed (in Tamil Pala Kottai). Muthu/pearl Cherukku, Pearl crown top, Pearl mango shaped crown, pearl gown (angi), pearl garland, Pearl kadivaalam, parrot made up of pearls.
· ·Madurai was a forest full of Kadamba trees 2,000 years ago. There is one Kadamba tree still protected inside the temple, very near Durga statue. Kadamba tree was the temple tree in other towns like Thiruk kadambur, Kadambanthurai. We can see Kadamba trees growing in many other places. This has got many medicinal properties. A Tamil proverb goes as “udambai kadambaal adi“ meaning “Beat your body with Kadambu”. The hidden meaning is “Treat your body with Kadambu”.
· ·There are 44 epigraphs in the temple. In Kangasabhai next to Kadamba tree there is a musical inscription with Ragas and 35 Talas (Tune and Rhythm).
· ·In addition to separate shrine for the Navagrahas (nine planets), Navagrahas are carved on the ceiling as well.
· ·Tirumalai Nayak and his two wives are portrayed in two places inside the temple and outside the temple. But he has made his figures carved on the floor as well. This is just to get the dust of the devotees from their feet. Hindus believe God’s devotees are greater than Gods themselves. Several stories are there to show that God had asked his devotees to get the apologies from the devotees when they were hurt. . ANCIENT BOOK LAUNCHES
· ·Book Launches: Sacred books are always launched in a temple. According to this ancient custom, Tirukkural of Tiruvalluvar and Meenakshi pillaitamil of Kumara kurubarar were launched in this famous temple. · The marvel of ancient engineers came to light when the plan showed that a straight line from the East tower is drawn to the West tower that line will pass through the main god Shiv Linga of the temple. If a line is drawn between the South and North towers that will divide the Gods sanctum sanctorum in to two halves. So precise is the plan. · Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a curtain where in Meenakshi temple’s daily activities are painted. Meenkshi amman thunai..................
( tnks for reading this.....hope u will search for them all when u visit madurai ....................)