If you are visiting Madurai in Tamilnadu, India for whatever reason, business, employment or pilgrimage, you can not forsake the breath-taking view of the four towering Rajagopurams (entrances of the temple) from any part of Madurai city. Put a “Namaskaram” with folded hands to the Rajagopurams (consecrated on 8-4-09 and shining with new paintings, an artistic feast to the eyes).
It is said “Gopura Dharisanam Kodi Pava Vimosanam” – meaning if you just see the Rajagopuram of a temple and worship piously, it will erode a billion of your sins.
The temple is within walkable distance from Madurai Railway Station via the Townhall Road (auto fare Rs.20) to reach the Western side entrance. Open for dharshan from 5.30 am to 12.30 pm and again from 4.30 pm to 10.00 pm.
In all Siva temples the tradition is to worship first the Lord Siva and then his consort “Amman”. But in Madurai, Meenakshi Amman is first worshiped before nearing Lord Siva – Sundareswarar, traditionally, since she is the “Sakthi” (Power) of this universe.
Three Sakthi Beedams are most powerful all over India – Madurai Meenakshi; Kaanji Kamakshi (in Kancheepuram near Chennai) and Kasi Visalakshi (at Varanasi in North India) according to Hindu mythology.
Get up early morning (considered very auspicious to worship in any temple); take a bath and dress up neatly with a pant or dhoti (Lungis, half-pants etc. are prohibited inside the temple); have something on your forehead – holy ash or kumkum (Sathguru Jaggi Vasudev, the world-renowned spiritualist says – when we go out in the open, vibrations, good or bad, are captured through the seven chakras of our body; by putting some thing like holy ash in between your eye-brows, all the evil vibrations are filtered and only good vibrations are permitted).
Take some pooja materials like flowers, coconut, plantain etc., since according to Hindu Dharma, you should not go empty handed when you visit – a home with children; a patient or a deity in a temple.
Enter the Temple by the southern gate via the western entrance (leave your footwear at the free-care kiosk at the entrance). Take a pinch of water (considered holy) from the Golden Lotus Pond and sprinkle it on your head (believed to purify yourself before going near the deities.) You can take a look above to worship the golden pinnacles of Swami and Amman temples from the stairs of the Pond. First you worship “Vibudhi Vinayagar” (the idol is submerged by the holy ash devotees are pouring on it) just upside the Pond.
Now you will enter Meenakshi Amman Sannidhi, after going round the altar, through the main entrance. (Pooja tickets Rs.5; Special Entrance Rs.15). If you choose a normal day, avoiding crowded festival days, you can stay worshipping Meenakshi as your heart pleases (without the jostle of another devotee from behind).
Coming out, you will land into Swami Sannadhi, after worshipping the biggest “Mukkuruni Vinayagar” enroute. Have a pleasant dharshan of Sundarewarar (Lingam) and the Nataraja (idol) on the right side in the dancing pose.
Going round the altar here, you will worship Saraswathi; Dakshinamoorthy; Siddhar; Durgai; and Mahalakshmi. Pray at each of these deities for your well being. When you come out to the second corridor, you will see “Navagraha Sannadhi” (all the 9 Planets of the Universe including Guru and Saturn). Go round 9 times to get the blessings of all of them.
You will have immense mental peace when you come out of the Meenakshi temple for sure.