The Great Pagoda. The east gopuram of the Great Pagoda [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madurai]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph of the east Gopuram of the Meenakshi Sundareshvara temple, Madurai, 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 Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. The construction of this imposing temple town was made possible by the magnificence of Tirumal Nayak (1623-1659). The rectangular precinct covers six hectars and has eleven enormous towers and the external wall is interrupted by four gopurams. These monumental towers attain a height of over 60 metres and are completely covered with figures of divinities, celestial beings, monsters masks, guardians and animals, encrusted with plaster decoration and painted in bright colours.