|Historical Significance||Remained The Capital Of Pandayan Empire Till 14th Century|
|Main Attractions||Meenakshi Temple, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal|
||Meenakshi Kalyanam In April-May And The Teppam Festival|
"The city of nectar"
Madurai, the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu, is located on Vaigai River. It was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a temple and established a lotus shaped city around it. It is believed Lord Shiva came to bless the city and its people and some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from His matted locks. So the city was named "Madhurapuri"now called Madhurai. This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
The life of Madurai revolves around this temple. This is a carved temple with huge Gopurams(Pyramid-like gateway). Meenakshi temple has a thousand pillared 'Mandapam'(enclosed space within high walls). There are actually 985 carved pillars. There are a few musical pillars which produce music when tapped. These musical pillars are carved out of a single granite rock. The temple has been a hub of Tamil culture and patronizing literature, art, music, and dance in the region. The temple also has an art museum. The city apart from temple is crammed with shops, street markets and temples, hotels and restaurants. Madurai has also developed as a business centre for its traditional handicrafts in bronze and brass.
Meenakshi Amman Temple
A masterpiece Dravidian Architecture, Meenakshi Temple attracts devotees and Tourists as well. From the top of Southern Gopuram of the temple, one can to get a full view of the city.
Vanditur Mariamman Teppakulam
Six times larger than the temple itself, it was a huge built it in 1646 once filled channels from the Vaigai River. Now the river is a mere raft and the tank is empty. It is filled once a year during the Teppam Festival.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
This palace, built in Indo-Sarcenic architecture in 1523 AD, lies in ruins and what remains are its main entrance gate, the dancing hall and the main hall. Lord Napier restored and renovated the palace in 1866-72. Today, the main attraction of the palace is light and sound show, which is based on the life of "Tirumalai Nayak" and "Silapathikaram".
Koodal Azhaar Temple
An ancient- most ancient temples in Madurai is dedicated to Lord Vishnu seen in various postures - sitting, standing, reclining. Intricate woodcarvings are its attractions.
Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, located 18-km northeast of Madurai on a hilltop. The gold image of Azhagar travels for the Celestial marriage during the Chithirai festival.
On the same hills of Azhagar Koil, this temple stands as one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya.
This is one of the abodes of Lord Sundareshwara, a rock cut temple carved out of a mountain, just 8-km from the city.
The Gandhi Museum
The museum was initially the palace of Rani Mangammal. It depicts the history of Independence movement of India. The museum also displays a blood stained Dhoti, which Gandhi was wearing at the time of his assassination.
Shopping in Madurai
Madurai has been a textile center since ages. The Puthu Mandapam, an old pillared hall along the entrance to Meenakshi temple is a popular shopping centre for the cotton fabric and the Batiks. The Sungundi Sarees are in great demand among Indian women. Collectors are delighted to have the Brass lamps from Madurai.
Climate in Madurai
The climate of Madurai is warm. The temperature seldom comes below 20° C even during the winters. The rainfall is frequent and throughout the year. But the flow of pilgrims and tourists remains same throughout the year.
How to Get There
Madurai has its own airport and there are flights, which connect the city with Chennai, Tiruchirappalli. The airline services have at least one flight daily from Madurai to Chennai. From there one can take flight to anywhere in India.
Madurai has one of the major railway junctions of South India. It is connected with the all the major tourist as well as religious places in Tamil Nadu. Though there are not many trains, which connect the city with major cities of India such as, Madurai is easily accessible from any part of the nation.
There are good motorable roads, which connect this, second largest city of Tamil Nadu with other parts of the state as well as other places in India. Madurai has five bus stands, which cater to the needs of the people.
|South India Tourism|