The Great Pagoda. The western gopuram [Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple, Madurai]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
This photograph of a view of the western 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 Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Minakshi, 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. These gopuras consist of diminishing storeys reaching almost 60 metres and are completely covered with statues of gods, celestial beings, animals, monsters and guardian figures, encrusted with plaster decoration and painted in bright colours. On the vaulted roofs of the arched ends there are rows of pot finials.