© 2005 CHARNWOOD ARTS and KALA KAHANI. All photos by © Claude Renault. Graphic Design and website by GATAFUNHO, © 2005
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Water and The Sacred
a photographic exhibition by Claude Renault
Madurai: Woman Praying
2 Madurai: Woman Praying

A woman praying to the monkey god Hanuman inside the magnificent Meenakshi temple in Madurai. The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati, or Meenakshi. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the entire credit for making it as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple.

The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareshwara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. The 12 gopurams are especially impressive. Their soaring towers rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colours.
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