gigantic outer wall with 14 towers was constructed. The space occupied a rectangle 847
feet by 792 feet, numerous temples, mandapas and corridors. But Malik Kafur razed
the old temple to the ground in 1310 during the Mosleminvasion of Madurai. The outer wall
with I towers was pulled down; the streets and buildings it protected were destroyed. The
two shrines of Meenakshi and Sundareswara alone remained. It is said that these escaped
destruction not out of reverence of Malik Kafur mid his hordes, but due to private
dissensions among the vandal
Viswanatha Naick in 1560 laid down the general plans of the temple and the outer-most
walls were commenced during his reign. In succeed ing generations, princes, nobles and the
rich vied with one another for completing the structure, which took 120 years at a cost of
12 million rupees.
The temple is known as Meenakshi Temple. Meenakshi means having eyes like those of a fish.
Fish was the emblem of the Pandyan kings of old. Even as the mother fish has merely to
gaze on her spawn in order to develop life in them, so also does spiritual life stir in
the body of the worshippers the moment Goddess Meenakshi casts her eyes on them.