At least 30 shops were damaged when a fire broke out in the complex of the famed Meenakshi Amman Temple in Tamil Nadu's Madurai complex but there was no damage to the temple itself, said a fire service official.
No human casualties were reported.
Officials confirmed that the sanctum sanctorum was left intact, but ancient sculptures on walls near Aayaram Kaal Mandapam were damaged.
The fire broke out at 10.40pm near the east gopuram (temple tower) on Friday.
Sources have said that a short circuit could have led to the fire although the exact reason is yet to be ascertained.
Preliminary inquiries indicate that the fire broke out after the shopkeepers had downed the shutters for the day along the Swami Sannidhi area at around 10.30pm and left.
Flames could be seen emerging from the temple museum side as well, according to eyewitnesses.
A police officer told The Hindu that a spark might have started from a shop and resulted in the fire which quickly spread to the other shops.
"We got information about the fire in shops near the 1,000 pillar mandapam in the temple. We rushed five fire tenders and controlled the fire from spreading," the senior fire service official told IANS over phone from Madurai, around 500 km from Chennai.
"There is no damage for the temple. The old wooden door was saved by preventive action. The fire is now under control," he said.
Madurai District Collector K Veera Raghava Rao along with city police commissioner arrived at the spot to manage the situation.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (L&O) Sasi Mohan said that entry for the public into the temple through the east entrance would be restricted for the next three days.
The area has been cordoned off and the electricity supply has been disconnected as a precautionary measure.
(With IANS inputs)