Madurai Meenakshi temple and breath-taking ''Puthu-Mandapam'' - to be restored soon '

puthu-mandapam, Meenakshi temple, Madurai, TN

 Located to the eastern side of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, is architecturally grandeur Puthu Mandapam,-It also goes by the name of  Vasantha Mandapam, the name  is  said to have been derived from ‘Vaikasi Vasantha Utsavam’ which is celebrated as a festival in the Tamil month of Vaikasi

This historically important site is religiously significant was  popular for shopping among visitors until in the recent past. Since the fire mishap in a mandapam in February, 2018, all the shopkeepers were asked by the ASI and HR & CE  to vacate their premises. Nearly 50 shops were gutted and the fire broke out at shops located under the thousand pillar mandapam inside the temple complex - the 400-year-old Veera Vasantharaya Mandapam.

puthu-mandapam, Meenakshi temple, Madurai, TN

Above image, Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple,TN puthu mandapam - initially it was used as a venue for annual festivals of the temple such as Avani Moolam. ....................... 

Puthu mandapam is a popular place  to visit in  Madurai temple dedicated to Meenakshi (Parvati) and  Lord Sundareswarar, it was built by King Thirumalai Nayak between the years of 1628 to 1635. The purpose of the hall was to serve as an abode of the Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi for hot summer months. There was a canal nearby the hall to maintain cool temperature in side the hall,  Puthu mandapam  was used as venue for annual festivals of the temple such as, Avani Moolam, float festival, etc.  During Chithirai festival the hall 'll host divine wedding of Lord Sundareswarar and his consort Goddess Meenakshi.

 The huge hall built on a pedestal  with sculpturally rich pillars  is strikingly beautiful and leave the new visitors spellbound.  With a height of 25 feet,  length of 330 feet and breadth of 105 feet, this mandapam is an architectural  splendor and beauty. All the 124 pillars that support the ceiling are  decorated with carvings of 14   rulers and the consorts of the Nayak dynasty .

Known for innumerable shops -nas many as 300, you could get all kinds of stuff related to religion - brass lamps, etc., souvenirs and traditional articles. The bazaar in this amazing hall was quite popular and one of the oldest since 1920 in Tamil Nadu.  A large section of heritage lovers complained the shopping complex had marred the glory and  heritage aspect of this place. Further, some shopkeepers misuse  or deface the valuable sculptures in the mandapam, Some historians complained that shops.had  blocked the view of the valuable arts and sculptures there. Consequently, the mandapam is losing its value.

Madurai temple, TN

puthu-mandapam, Meenakshi temple, Madurai,

Above image:  The puthu mandapam was built to conduct  cultural programs, music consort, etc.  The royal women  from the Nayak family, used stop by at the mandapam  during  visits and to witness cultural programs during chithirai festival. Water flow  in the nearby canal would maintain proper pleasant temperature to keep the people cool inside the hall. Later the canal wa drained out  and several book shops came up on one side. Since it is architecturally rich, when renovation is on, it is emphasized,  special efforts will be taken to maintain the heritage and historical value of this  place. The work will follow strict norms in collaboration  with conservation experts and archaeologists from the ASI.  The govt sanctioned Rs. 2.24 cr to take care of renovation of the hall......................  .nov 12012 June 2, 2023