The Minakshi shrine in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple at Madurai
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of the Minakshi shrine in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple in Madurai from an 'Album of 51 drawings (57 folios) of buildings, sculpture and paintings in the temple and choultry of Tirumala Nayyak at Madura. c.1801-05', by an anonymous artist working in the South India/Madurai style, c. 1801-1805. Each picture is inscribed with a title and a number in ink.
The Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex contains two main shrines; one dedicated to Shiva and one to his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. The construction of this temple-town was made possible by the wealth and power of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). He was the most prolific builder of a long line of Nayaka kings, a dynasty who ruled a large portion of Tamil country in the 16th and 17th centuries. The whole site, which mostly dates from the 17th century, is enclosed within a rectangular precinct which covers six hectares and has 11 huge gopurams or towers, the biggest of which mark four entrances from the four cardinal points. The Minakshi shrine stands in its own enclosure within which are several subsidiary shrines. One of them is the 'bed chamber' where the image of Sundareshvara is brought every night. The drawing depicts the image of the goddess housed in the shrine.