- "We greet you, Devi Meenakshi, she who shines like a thousand-million suns, adorned with bracelets and garlands... She who is auspicious, she who embodies existence. I always bow to you, whose compassion is an ocean."
– Adi Shankara
Gurus are underused, even for Religious players, because they aid the quest of spreading Religion, but are not a compulsory part in the process. While Gurus allow religious units to heal in enemy territory, which is tremendously powerful, they are also rather clunky to be used effectively, and since they cannot be put in a Formation with other religious units, have low Religious Strength, and are often found to take up tiles and block Apostles and Missionaries (imagine if Great Generals and support units cannot be put in Formations and you have to march them across the map), and rarely can you perfectly surround a Guru with your religious units to maximize its healing capability (Read more here). What the Meenakshi Temple gives you is the ability to turn Gurus into Religious Great Generals, which enhances the utility of Gurus, and encourages you to march your religious units in groups like you do with your regular land armies. Since you cannot form Escort Formation with the Gurus like you can with Great Generals, your Gurus should ideally be surrounded by Apostles to be protected, but overall, Gurus are sufficiently powerful enough at Theological Combat to survive an attack or two from enemy Apostles and Inquisitors, which they can heal back up afterward.
Adding +5 Religious Strength and +1 Movement to a group of Apostles and Missionaries gives you an edge in not only Theological Combat, but also the speed at which you can spread your religion; the greatest obstacle to spreading your religion when you have huge Faith per turn is rough terrains, which can turn a conversion mission into a painstaking affair. Therefore, adding 1 Movement is just as important as the 5 Religious Strength, if not more so.
The greatest downside of this Wonder is that the AIs, even when playing as civilizations with no religious tendency, really prioritize this Wonder. On higher difficulty levels, it is almost downright impossible to build this Wonder, so if you want it to bolster your religious strength, the easiest way is to wage a war.
The Meenakshi Amman Temple dates back to the first century and is one of the oldest temples in India, still receiving thousands of visitors daily. Devoted to the goddess Meenakshi, a representation of love and fertility, this colorful complex spans 14 acres and is composed of tall walls, various shrines, 14 Gopurams (ornate gatehouse towers), and several Manapams (pillared halls).
Brightly painted ceilings and stone carvings can be throughout the complex, but it is perhaps the thousands of vibrant stone statues lining the towers that have become most iconic. These small sculptures depict moments from Hindu stories – gods, demons, heroes, and animals. Every twelve years, these works are repainted and repaired.
The Temple is host to private prayer and meditation, as well as monthly festivals throughout the year.