Madurai Travel Guide
Location : Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Area : 22 Sq. Kms
Attractions : The Meenakshi Temple, Mariamman
Ideal Time to Visit : November to February
¤ Madurai, The Temple City
Tamil Nadu travel guide will takes you to another temple city of
South India. Madurai is the second largest city of the state of Tamil
Nadu. It is famous for its temples, especially for the celebrated
Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, it derives
its name from the divine nectar (Madhu) that was showered from the
locks of Lord Shiva according to a popular legend. The city has a rich
cultural heritage which it has inherited from the great Tamil era,
which is more than 2500 years old. Once the capital of the great
Pandya kings, Madurai was an important cultural and commercial center
even as early as 550 AD.
Today, Madurai is a well-known producer of some of the finest
textiles in India and some of the best harvests of jasmine flowers.
The city of Madurai is also mentioned in Megasthenes' Indica. He was
an ancient Greek diplomat and envoy to India in the 3rd century BC ,
who wrote praises about this temple city. Madurai's glory reached its
peak, during the reign of the Cholas and then during the Pandyas'
regime in the 13th century.
¤ History of Madurai
Madurai, the city is as old as its history, which dates back to the
Sangam period of the pre Christian era. Madurai's honour returned in
an impaired form in the earlier part of this millennium. Later,
Madurai came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom, after it was
plundered by the destructive armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur).
During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak
Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar. In the Sangam
period, poet Nakkeerar was associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal
episodes of Sundareswarar. Even today these episodes are enacted as a
part of temple festival traditions.
¤ Attractions At Madurai
The ancient and historical city of Madurai has many places that pulls
tourists from all over the world and makes it one of the most travel
destinatiions in South India. Among the most famous attractions at
Madurai, is the Meenakshi Amman Temple, where the main deities are
Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva. The temple has 985 beautifully
sculptured pillars, forming the Thousand Pillar Mandapam Hall. It has
also been the center of Tamil art, music and dance.
The Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is another prime attraction in
Madurai. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vigneshwara. This
temple is also the host of the annual float festival celebrated in the
months of January and February. Thirupparankundram, situated 6 kms
southwest of Madurai, is a small town known for its sacred granite
hill. This place is regarded as one of the six dwellings of Lord
There is also a cave temple and a rock cut temple built by the
Pandyas in the 8th century. Besides these attractions, Munnar,
Thekkadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Palani Hills are other places of
interest around Madurai.
travel offer a number excursion options, which are exciting and
intriguing. Some of the important ones are Vaigai Dam situated at a
distance of 69 km, on the way to Thekkady. It is a beautiful picnic
spot and is popular with the tourists and locals alike. Situated in
the Western Ghats at a height of 2,130 m above sea level, Kodaikanal
is a picturesque hill station. It is about 120 kms away from Madurai.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at a distance of 155 km
from Madurai. The sanctuary is famous as the natural habitat for a
wide variety of animals.
¤ Shopping At Madurai
Shopping at Madurai can be fun, here you can buy cotton and batiks,
for which Madurai is famous. The Prithu Mandapam Market is a famous
market of Maduari, situated just inside the eastern entrance of the
Meenakshi Temple. Let yourself relax and visit the Pottramarai tank to
feel the essence of Maduari.
¤ Festivals At Maduari
Festivals are celebrated in all twelve Tamil months at Madurai
Meenakshi temple. Some of the popular festivals are Chithirai festival
celebrated in the months of April - May and Avanimool festival
celebrated in the months of September - Ocotber. Other important
festivals are the Navarathri Festival and the Float Festival
celebrated in the months of January- February.
¤ Reach Madurai
By Air : Madurai has its own
airport situated 10 kms away from the city. There are daily flights to
Madurai from Chennai, Bangalore, Tiruchi & Coimbatore.
By Rail : Madurai is an important railway junction of the
Southern Railway and is directly connected to Chennai and Tirunelveli.
Madurai is on the Madurai-Tiruchirappalli-Dindigul-Quilon route.
By Road : The city has excellent roads connecting Madurai to
all parts of South India. It has 5 Major bus stand.