"Madura temple, festival for the deities (Shiva and Minaskshi)."
The city of Madurai, also called Mathurai or Madura, is situated south of Madras (Chennai) on the Vaiga River in Tamil Nadu State and is an important centre for the production of silk and cotton textiles. According to local legend, the town was named Madhurapri after 'mathuram' or the nectar that fell from Shiva's locks when he blessed the citizens for a building a temple in his honour. Madurai was the capital of the Pandyan rulers until it was taken over by the rulers of Vijayanagar in 1371, which appointed the Nayaks as governors. During the 200-year rule of the Nayaks art, architecture and education flourished. Madurai has played a significant role in the history of southern India since the 5th century BC. It is a leading place of pilgrimage and has several fine examples of Dravidian architecture, including the famous Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple complex built by the Nayaks between the 14th and 18th centuries AD.

Meenakshi was a Pandya princess born after her parents had performed several sacrificial rites and was believed to be a reincarnation of Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva, who came to marry her in the form of Sundareshwarar. The Meenakshi Temple was designed as a series of concentric courtyards, or parikramas, with the main structures dominating the centre and buildings of steadily declining importance occupying the space out to the outermost ring, which contains practical buildings such as kitchens, dormitories, maintenance areas, shops and parking for the large number of temple chariots. The inner circles contain parikramas for religious singing, bathing tanks and guesthouses. The innermost court contained the sanctum sanctorum or garbha griha with the image of the deity and the treasury and formerly also housed pavilions for the temple-dancing girls. The huge hall in the Meenakshi temple, commonly known as the Hall of a Thousand Pillars, required 985 pillars to support the roof. The temple has 12 gopurams, four of the tallest standing at the outer walls. The southern gopuram, 48.8m in height is the most spectacular with more than 1500 sculptures.

"Abandoned temple in Mahabalipuram, carved out of one single block of stone. (East coast, South India)." [Caption on mount] - "Mahabalipuram.

The imposing palace of Tirumalai Nayak, built in 1523, is located at a distance of one km from the Meenakshi temple. The audience hall, known as the Swarga Visalam, has a dome, which is its most outstanding feature, rising as it does without any support other than the outer walls to a height of 20 meters. Other striking features include massive white pillars, many of which line the corridor running along the courtyard and connected by decorative arches.

Mahabalipuram or Mammalapuram, is an ancient port built in the 7th century by King Mahendravarman of the Pallava dynasty and is located 60 km from Madras. Its name derives from Mammalla - the great wrestler, a title given to King Narasimhavarman I during whose reign the city became prosperous and a prominent port that traded with countries of the Far East. The city is a prime example of the splendid art and architecture of the Pallava period, and particularly that of temples.

The most outstanding example of temple architecture in the town is the skilfully carved rock known as Arjuna's Penance, the largest bas-relief in the world, which depicts Arjuna, hero of the epic Mahabharata, performing penance to attain a boon from Lord Shiva. It includes intricate carvings of animals and heavenly beings witnessing the descent of the River Ganges, and also scenes from the tales of the Panchatantra on which Aesop's fables are believed to have been based. One school of thought, however, believes the principal figure to be that of Bhagirath, that entreated Shiva to let the River Ganga or Ganges to flow over the earth.

Temples Vastu Shastra

The place where the temple stands in holy ground and should be selected with due care and after deep consideration.
We have to take care of the following points while studying about the vastu of the temple.