[Carved pillars inside the Viravasantaraya mandapa,] Madura.
Photographer: Wiele and Klein
Medium: Photographic print
View of carved pillars inside the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple at Madurai in Tamil Nadu, probably taken by Wiele & Klein in the 1890s. The photograph is from an album containing views of various locations in India, formerly in the collection of Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, (1850-1916), who was Commander in Chief of India between 1902 and 1909.
The temple complex at Madurai was built under the patronage of Tirumala (1623-60), one of the most prominent of the Nayaka rulers. The temple is dedicated to Shiva known locally as Sundereshwar (the handsome god) and Minakshi or Parvati (the fish eyed goddess). The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are two sanctums for Minakshi and Sundereshwar, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. Especially impressive are the gopuras (pyramidical gateways) which rise to a height of over 50 m. They rise from solid granite bases and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals, monsters painted in bright colours. The Viravasantaraya Mandapa consists of a long hall with piers carved with sculptures of Shiva, Minakshi and the Nayaka rulers.