Madurai: The ban on devotees carrying mobile phones inside the famous Goddess Meenakshi Amman temple here will come into effect from 3 March, officials said today.
A release from the temple administration said the ban was being enforced in line with the recent order of the Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench and in the interest of the security of the ancient shrine.
A bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and R Tharani had on 9 February banned people other than security officials from carrying mobile phones to the temple where a fire mishap gutted several shops recently.
It had also suggested the deployment of CISF personnel to maintain security at the temple.
The order was issued on a PIL seeking to direct the central and State governments to frame guidelines and safety and security code and implement these immediately in the backdrop of the fire mishap.
Meenakshi Temple, also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Minakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the centre of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts.
Though the temple has historic roots, most of the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th century by Thirumalai Nayak. In the early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India. The contemporary temple is the result of rebuilding efforts started by the Vijayanagara Empire rulers who rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. In the 16th century, the temple complex was further expanded and fortified by the Nayak ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar and later others. The restored complex now houses 14 gateway towers, ranging from 45–50m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Ayirakkal (1,000 pillar hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam.
The temple is a major pilgrimage destination within the Shaivism tradition, dedicated to Meenakshi Devi and Shiva.