The Raya Gopuram from E. [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madurai]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph of the unfinished Raya Gopura of the Meenakshi temple, Madurai in Tamilnadu, is part of a collection entitled 'Photographic Views in Madurai ' (Madras, 1858) and was taken by Linnaeus Tripe in 1858. The view shows the unfinished Raya Gopura, on the east side of the temple, with the Pudu Mandapa and the East Gopura visible beyond. The Meenakshi Sundareshvara Temple at Madurai is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Meenakshi, the fish-eyed goddess, Parvati. The construction of this imposing temple-town was made possible by the magnificence of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). The rectangular precinct covers 6 hectares and has 11 huge towers and 4 entrance gopurams. Inside this enclosure there are columned mandapas, tanks, shrines and the two temples of Shiva and Meenakshi. East of the temple Tirumala Nayak began the construction of a new gopuram which was never completed. The most remarkable features are the 4 monolithic pillars measuring over 50 feet high.