Sunday, 17 July 2016

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Shiva Temple – Ammankurichy

This beautiful Shiva temple is located in Ammankurichy, a small and serene hamlet near Pudukottai. This is one among the proud monuments of India belonging to Madurai Nayak Dynasty period (1529 to 1736 AD) and has been enlisted under protected monuments of Archeological Survey of India.


There are two separate shrines for Chokkanathar, the presiding deity and for Meenakshi, His consort. Both these deities resemble the Madurai Chokkanathar and Meenakshi, hence a devotional feel of having Darshan at Madurai could be felt.  On the intersection of these shrines, beautifully carved stone statues of Nayak kings and their queens worshipping the Lord could be seen. The king responsible for construction of this temple is Poochi Nayakar. On each pillar of the temple we could see the lifelike sculptures of Ganesha, Shiva in dancing pose, Kali and other deities. On the back side of the temple premise (inner praharam), there is a small shrine for Lord Subramanya. On the left side of the entrance to the temple, there is a stone slab containing inscriptions that talks about Poochi Nayakar king and the endowments he offered to the temple. The outer praharam of the temple is styled in the pattern of Thanjavur temple, a big banyan tree at the main entrance to the temple adds to the elegance of the temple.


Either Tiruchirapalli or Pudukottai can be the base for visiting this temple. From Tircuhirapalli, buses plying to Ponnamaravathi can be boarded to reach Ammankurichy. Pudukottai district in total contains 58 monuments enlisted in ASI (http://www.asichennai.gov.in/trichy_sub_circle.html) and is a great haven for anyone interested in Archeology and historical studies. This list contains an interesting mix of Siva, Vishnu and Jain temples.


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