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Hall of the Thousand Pillars. Jain [sic. for Hindu] sculptures [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madura]

Hall of the Thousand Pillars. Jain [sic. for Hindu] sculptures [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madura]

Photographer: Nicholas and Company

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1875

Shelfmark: Photo 472/1(32)

Item number: 472132

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of carved pillars at the entrance to the Airakkal Mandapam in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple of Madurai, taken by Nicholas and Company in the 1870s. This imposing temple complex in Tamil Nadu contains two main shrines, one dedicated to Shiva and one to his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity, and is one of the chief pilgrimage sites of south India. Each shrine is set within its own walled complex containing several subsidiary shrines and mandapams or assembly halls, and artficial pools. 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 thousand pillars of the Airakkal Mandapam (Thousand Pillar Hall) have figures of divinities, attendants and musicians carved in full relief on the shafts.

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