The Raya Gopuram from W. [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madurai]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph of the Raya Gopuram from the west 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 Meenakshi Sundareshvara Temple 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.