India's technicolor temples: Dazzling pyramids that are an explosion of vibrant shades and 33,000 sculptures
- The iconic Meenakshi Temple is located in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and includes 14 fantastical towers
- Each rising pillar is adorned with thousands of stone figures of deities, animals and demons - all brightly painted
- The tallest tower rises to 170ft and attracts around 15,000 visitors a day, who flock to the temple for blessings
There is no chance of missing these colourful temples in India as they're painted every shade of the rainbow.
Rising up to 170 feet in the air, the 14 towers of the Meenakshi Temple are adorned by an impressive display of around 33,000 sculptures - all accentuated with a riot of bright colours.
Located in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the radiant Hindu site may grab the attention of tourists and pilgrims now, but it didn't always look so vibrant.
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Over the rainbow: In the ancient city of Madurai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu lies a series of coloured pyramids that make up the Meenakshi Temple
Attention grabbing: Each is decorated with ornate patterns and sculptures of gods, goddesses, demons and animals
The main structures and artwork of the site were created in the 16th to 18th century but the bright paint was applied recently to mark festivals and large events
The thick layers of enamel paint that can be seen today have been applied to the gateway towers, or gopurams, in celebration of big events and festivals over recent years.
Each gopuram forms a pyramid shape, with the stone figures of gods, goddesses, demons and animals covering the multi-storied structures.
The total site covers a 45 acre patch and includes several shrines to the goddess Meenakshi, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Parvati — the wife of Lord Shiva.
In addition to this are figures depicting the tales of battle scenes and sculptures honouring warriors.
The enamel coverings may look captivating, but many fear for the state of the sculptures underneath
During the 200-year reign of Nayakka rulers during the 13th and 16th century, many of the pyramids and decorations were constructed on the temple premises
Several restoration projects have taken place in recent years with the intention of restoring the Meenakshi Temple to its original state
For now though, the rainbow temple catches the attention of thousands of visitors who flock to the Hindu site for blessings
Between 15,000 and 25,000 people visit Madurai's Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple daily to be blessed in marriage (with the promise of health, wealth and children), to eat (meals are given out to the destitute), sleep, and learn.
The Meenakshi Temple was originally constructed in the sixth century BC, with the main structures and artwork created in the 16th to 18th century.
The temple looks dazzling, but only through relatively recent applications of paint and cement. These thick layers of colour actually covered up beautifully ornate - but grey - sculptures.
An effort began in recent decades to restore the temple to its former - less rainbow-like - glory.
The total site covers a 45 acre patch and includes several shrines to the goddess Meenakshi, a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Parvati - the wife of Lord Shiva
Rising up to 170 feet in the air, the 12 adorned towers of the Meenakshi Temple are covered in an impressive display of around 33,000 sculptures - all accentuated with a riot of bright colours
As darkness falls some of the rising gateway towers, or gopurams, are lit up against the night's sky
Between 15,000 and 25,000 people visit Madurai's Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple daily to be consecrated in marriage (with the promise of health, wealth and children)
The lure of the coloured towers has seen innumerable shops spring up selling flowers, coconuts and pooja items
Centrepiece: The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500-year-old city of Madurai
In order to keep the temple in peak condition, the figures of deities on the tower are repaired, repainted and ritually reconsecrated every 12 years
A holy cow statue in the Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple Hindu, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Parvati
In addition to the Hindu gods being honoured on the temples, the site includes figures depicting tales of battle scenes and honouring warriors
It is not just outside that is decorated: isitors can wander around the temple and see sights like this ornate hall
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