Every weekend I like to go to the Meenakshi as a lot of Indian tourist visit the temple and all people are at ease, very friendly.
The actual word Gopuram could come from Sanskrit meaning 'The tower that guards the sacred'. Puram means city or town and GO could indicate the holy cows as in early days these holy cows sheltered near the gates on the premisses of the temple.
This Gopuram is devoted to Siva as you can see the cows as his riding-animal. If you saw the detail of the newly painted detail in the photo before you can recognize the same on this rooftop repainted in 1998.(correct me if I am wrong). The Meenakshi Temple counts totally 11 Gopurams, only the temple in Trichy got more: 22 Gopurams.
The Meenakshi temple consist actually out of two sanctuaries, one for Lord Somasundara (Lord Shiva) and his fish-eyed spouse, the Goddess Meenakshi. Every year they celebrate their marriage in the Marriage Hall (April-May). For religious people there is a book 'The path to be followed by a worshipper' wich explains the way he has to enter and walk through the temple.
Along a legend that divine nectar was faling from Lord Shiva's locks, it gave the city the name 'Madhurapuri', now known as "Madurai".
Very good info you can find here and here.