MEENAKSHI AMMAN | மீனாட்சி அம்மன்
WHO IS MEENAKSHI AMMAN?
Being an avatar of goddess Parvathi, Meenakshi is considered to be the primary deity of the famous city Madurai, located in Tamilnadu at the southern part of India. She is also known with the names ANGAYARKANNI, TADADAKAI for specific reasons behind it and praised as SHRI VIDYA by Adi Shankara. Her divine consort SUNDARESWARAR (CHOKKANATHAR) is a form of lord shiva.
WHAT DOES THE NAME MEENAKSHI REFERS TO?
The meaning of the name in tamil-sanskrit denotes “fish-eyed” in which meena (fish) and akshi (eyed),because of the long and slender structure of her eye which is supposed to protect and end all the sorrows,sufferings and miseries when once gazed into them. In another theory the name denotes the meaning “rule of the fish” in which meena (fish) and aatchi (rule).
ORIGIN OF MEENAKSHI:
In reference with Thiruvilayadal Puranam, During the pandya’s dynasty of Madurai,The childless couple called king MALAYADWAJA PANDYA and his wife KANCHANAMALA, performed a powerful yagna in an extensive manner praying for the progeny for their family. Despite their expectations, a fish-eyed three years old girl (known as THIRUKAMAKOTTAM UDAIYA AALUDAIYA NAACHIYAR) came out of yagna with a striking deformity of triple breasts, one which would vanish only when she met her consort in future.Later on during the conquer of Himalayas she met lord shiva and they both got married(MEENAKSHI CHOKKANADAR KALYANAM) which is believed to be the biggest event on the earth participated by millions.
According to Indian myths Meenakshi is portrayed as green in colour with a rose ringed parrot at her right hand. The green skin tone is because of her dusky complexion of dravidian colour where the ancient dusky women apply turmeric for the face which gradually provides a greenish finish in their skin tone.The Parrot in her hand symbolises the god of love.
THE MASTER PIECE OF MADURAI – ” MEENAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE”
This TEMPLE CITY OF MADURAI (also referred as KOODAL, MALLIGAI MAANAGAR, NAAN MAADA KOODAL, THIRU ALAVAI)known for sangam tamil literature is located at the southern bank of the river vaigai.
It is estimated to be built during early mid 6th century and rebuilt in16th and 17th century by the NAYAKA’S DYNASTY which was once known as KADAMBAVANAM, is one among the 275 paadal petra sthalam and estimated of about 2500 years old.
With a massive area that covers over numerous varieties of mandapams,long endless corridors,high towers and sculptures and huge tall gopurams with various images and statues of dravidian gods and goddesses, the temple spreads over an area of 14 acres with 14 gopurams (in which southern gopuram is the tallest with 170 feet), 33000 sculptures and a grand golden lotus sacred pool known as POTRAMARAI KULAM which is also known as Adhi theertha, Sivaganga or Uthama theertham, considered as the holy site of the temple
WHAT IS THE MAIN SPECIALITY OF THIS TEMPLE:
It is considered to be the largest temple complex and the only temple with 4 Rajagopuram with the masterpiece of Dravidian architecture,which was built with Granite Marble conglomerate slate limestone. Unlike other temples which are devoted to the male deity this Meenakshi Amman temple is the only temple in which is completely devoted to the female deity(MEENAKSHI) which empowers and implies the importance of women in the old ancient days.
- 100 pillared Mandapam by Chinnapa Nayakar – where the statue of lord shiva dances with right leg up instead of left in usual terms.
- Small 6 pillared swing Mandapam – Where Friday rituals take place.
- Kamba thadi Mandapam – contains carved sculptures of 8 forms of shiva(Ardanarishwarar,Rudra,Bhikshadanamurti,Dakshinamurthy,lingodbhava,Ekapathamurthi,Rishaba,Somaskanda,Chandrashekara,Nataraja and Somasundara).
- Ashta Shakthi Mandapam – contains the sculptures of 8 shakthi forms(Koumari,Roudri,Vaishnavi,Mahalakshmi,Yagnarupini,Shyamala,Maheshwari and Manonmani).
- KIli koondu/ Sangili Mandapam- which is considered to be the parrot’s cage and where kolatam dance is performed.
- Kambatadi Mandapam – it is the hall of temple trees, where marriage of meenakshi takes place and the competition between shiva and kali is held.
- Vira vasanth raga Mandapam – it consists of nandi facing the sundareswarar.
- Pudu Mandapam / Vasantha Mandapam – it consists of 124 pillars.
- Golu Mandapam- Where navarathri celebrations take place in which Meenakshi deity is decorated in 9 different forms of shakti each day.
- 1000 pillared hall – it actually contains only 985 pillars and the rest of the gap is filled with 2 shrines.
Besides, various other small mandapams are also available inside this temple.
- Meenakshi Amman
- Mukkuruni Vinayagar
- 63 nayanmars
And also several other deities inside them.
WORSHIP METHODS IN TEMPLE:
The primary deity is served with poojas and routine rituals (where the sundareswarar is taken to meenakshi’s chamber every night and brought back by morning). Special Fridays of Aadi, Thai and Avani Moola utsavam for 10 days are to be noted ones.
The most important festivals celebrated here are
- Ther thiruvizha
- Theppa thiruvizha
- Meenakshi thirukalyanam
- Chithirai thiruvizha(During the tamil month chithirai)
- Vasantham thiruvizha (During the tamil month vaikasi)
- unjal thiruvizha (During the tamil month aani)
- mulai kottu thiruvizha (During the tamil month aadi)
- aavani moolam (During the tamil month avani)
- kolatam thiruvizha (During the tamil month aippasi and karthigai)
- Aruthra darshanam (During the tamil month margazhi)More details about Chithirai thiruvizha
BOOKS AND LITERATURE ON MEENAKSHI AMMAN:
- MEENAKSHI PILLAITHAMIL by Kumaraguruparar.
- TRINITY OF CARNATIC MUSIC by Shyama Shastri in Telugu,Navaratnamalika(garland of nine gems), Also Mentioned in various other Tamil literatures.
MEENAKSHI GAYATHRI MANTRA:
வாழ்வில் என்றும் செழிப்பை பெற உதவும் காயத்ரி மந்திரம்
ஓம் உந்நித்ரியை வித்மஹே
(OM UNNITHRIYAI VIDHMAHE)
ஸுந்தப ப்ரியாயை தீமஹி
(SUNTHAPA PRIYAAYAI DHEEMAHI)
தந்நோ மீனாதேவீ ப்ரசோதயாத்
( THANNO MEENA DEVI PRACHODAYAT)
BENEFITS OF CHANTING MEENAKSHI GAYATRI MANTRA:
It is highly beneficial for all girls in chanting this mantra to attain a beautiful appearance and also to get really good husband. Unmarried will also receive marital pleasure. It can be chanted by everyone in order to get the blessing of goddess meenakshi amman.
- Best Time to Chant this mantra : Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
- Number of Times to Chant : 9, 11, 108, or 1008 times