Sanctum of the Minakshi Sundareshvara temple, Madurai.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the sanctum of the Meenakshi Sundareshvara temple, Madurai, Tamilnadu, from the Album of Miscellaneous views in India, 1870s . 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 gatways) 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.