Sunday, December 27, 2015

Meenakshi Amman Temple – Other Interesting Features

Meenakshi Amman Temple – Other Interesting Features
Sculptures: A variety of sculptures are seen all over the temple. These range from crude carvings from the walls in the outer complex walls to exquisite and intricately carved, mythical structures in the inner complex. One notable sculpture is Yali which is a combination of elephant and Tiger (Yaanai = Elephant and Puli = Tiger). They stand in a pouncing position with protruding teeth, but also have the trunk of an elephant. 
There is also another structure called Veerapathirar. He seems to be holding an electric tube light. It is even painted white to make it look like one.
Mukkuruni Vinayagar statue is also a very important one to be seen. Vinayagar is the elephant god of Hindu mythology. There are plenty of Vinayagar statues in the temple, but this is the largest of them all. The name Mukkuruni comes from Moonru=3 and kuruni = 13.2 pounds. Vinayakar is offered 3 kurinis (approximately 40 pounds) of rice dumpling called Kozhukkattai, on Vinayagar Chathurthi festival. 
Underground Mystery: The floor of the entire temple is covered by neatly cut rectangular rocks. These rocks are mostly plain, devoid of any carvings. If you tap on these rocks, it does not sound hollow. But, every certain number of rocks, there are square rocks with a lotus carved on them. If you tap on these "lotus rocks", they sound hollow. This supports the theory that there are hidden, underground structures in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple.
These "lotus rocks" could be secret gateways into underground passages or cellars. It is well documented that most Indian Kings had secret escape routes and hidden treasures underground.
The Rotating Lingam:  On the ceiling between the Meenakshi and Sundarar Sanctum, you can spot the rotating lingam painting. The painting is done in Trompe-l'œil style which depicts three dimensional objects on (2 dimensional) the ceiling. The Mayans had used the same style of painting in Mayapan. No matter which angle you see this lingam from; you will see that the spout at the base always points towards you. The painting was not recently done, but is centuries old. It is merely being repainted every 12 years to look new. 
An Elephant is present inside the Temple complex. It will bless you by blowing on your head with its trunk for a small fee. The elephant is also used for other religious purposes. 
Adjacent to Sundarar shrine, there is a statue of Nataraja (The dancing god), but with a twist. Nataraja normally has Right leg on the ground and left leg raised. In this temple, he is doing the opposite.  
Medicine & Arts: Apart from religious ceremonies, plenty of other activities were performed inside the temple. There was a dedicated area in the temple called Adhoorasalai where doctors treated the diseases. Dancing and Singing were taught everyday in another section of the Temple. Poets would have meetings at the Temple Tank section. These activities are well documented in the ancient Tamil chronicles.

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