Madurai - Religious Places

Religious Places

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in Madurai and is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city. It is dedicated to Parvati known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city. The complex houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers) ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana (shrine) over the sanctum of main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE. The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day and around 25,000 during Fridays. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".

Koodal Azhagar Temple is a Vishnu temple located in the city. It has idols of Navagraham (nine planet deities), which are otherwise found only in Shiva temples. Thiruparankundram is a hill 8 km away from Madurai, where the Hindu god Murugan is believed to have married Deivanai. The temple is the first among the six holy abodes of Murugan, the Arupadai Veedu, literally "Six Battle Camps", and one of the most visited tourist spots in Madurai. The temple has a wide range of Hindu gods carved on the walls. Alagar Koyil is a celebrated Vishnu temple 21 km North East of Madurai situated on the foothills of Solaimalai. The deity, Azhagar, is believed to be the brother of Meenakshi, the presiding deity at the Meenakshi temple. The festival calendar of these two temples overlap during the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam festival. Pazhamudircholai, one of the other six abodes of the Hindu god Murugan, is located atop the Solaimalai hill.

Kazimar Big Mosque is the first Muslim place of worship in the city. It was constructed under the supervision of Kazi Syed Tajuddin believed to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammed. He came from Oman and received the piece of land from the Pandya ruler, Kulasekara Pandiyan during the 13th century. It is claimed to be the oldest Islamic monument in Madurai. The dargah of Madurai Hazrats called as Madurai Maqbara is located inside the mosque. A Dargah is located at the top of the Thiruparankundram hill, where the grave of an Islamic saint, Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badushah Shaheed Radiyallah Ta'al anhu is present. He came from Jeddah along with Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim Shaheed Badushah of Madinah during the early 13th century. The Urus festival of Hazrat Sulthan Sikandar Badusha Shaheed is commemorated on 17th night of the Islamic month of Rajab every Hijri year.

Goripalayam Mosque is located in Gorippalayam, the name of which is derived from the Persian word Gor which means Grave. The graves of Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badhusha, Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddeen Badhusha and Hazrat Sulthan Ghaibuddeen Badhusha are found here. The urus festival of this dargah is held on 15th night of the Islamic month of Rabi al-awwal on every hijri year. St. Mary’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai.

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