OUR GLORIOUS EMPIRE
Madura (South India)–Temple Entrance
Madura is a particularly interesting Hindu temple, as it is a centre of South Indian culture.
This is No. 12 of a series of 30 cards issued with the larger packets of the brands manufactured by Godfrey Phillips Ltd., and Associated Companies.
Meenakshi Temple (also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple), is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the center of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts.
According to ancient Tamil literature, the Meenakshi Amman Temple was originally built 2,500 years ago by survivors of the lost continent Kumari Kandam, a mythological triangle-shaped continent that was said to span the Indian Ocean, touching Australia, Madagascar and India. Although this continent’s existence is currently disproven, members of the Tamil Renaissance Movement once believed it to be the hearth of Tamil culture.
But that’s all mythology. In fact, the temple was built by Tamil Hindus native to southeastern India, and it first appeared in recorded history in the 600s AD. In the 1300s, the sacred structure was ransacked and destroyed by the Muslim general Malik Kafur in a successful attempt to spread Islam to Madurai. It wasn’t until nearly 250 years later, in 1559, that the structure was rebuilt by the first Nayak king of Madurai.