Madurai Travel Guide

By: Vinay Choubey

Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri". This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad.

Places to see in Madurai:

Meenakshi TempleThe landmark of Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple dedicated to Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Kulasekhara Pandya originally built the temple. But the credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayak dynasty that ruled Madurai from 16th - 18th centuries. It is a twin temple; one dedicated to Meenakshi and the other to Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva). The rectangular temple is graced by twelve gopurams (towers). The southern gopuram is the tallest and rises to 49m. The thousand-pillared hall has beautiful sculptures.

Koodal Alagar TempleThis ancient shrine has Vishnu in sitting, standing and reclining postures, one above the other. It has elegantly carved ornamental windows described as "miracles of the stone masons art". There are also intricate wood carvings including a panel of lord Rama's Pattabishekam.

Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist ComplexLocated 6kms from the Periyar Bus stand, Vandiyur Kanmoy (tank) is an ideal picnic spot. T.T.D.C. operates children’s Train and boating service. There is also a restaurant in the tourist complex.

Tirumalai Nayak PalaceTirumalai Nayak Palace is a kilometer away from the temple and was built in 1636 by the ruler, after whom it has been named. Though much of the palace is only in ruins, the entrance gate, main hall and dance hall remain intact.

Vanditur Mariamman Teppakulam This huge tank is covers an area equal to the six of Meenakshi temple. Tirumalai Nayak built it in 1646. It is said that channels from the Vaigai River connect the tank. Today, this tank remains empty for most of the year except during the Teppam Festival.

Naickar MahalThe remains of the palace of the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Naickar who contributed extensively to the Meenakshi Temple. Only a small portion of the original structure which was four times as largeremains. There were originally two parts-Swargavilasa, meant for the King, is harem and housing the darbar court, and the ranka vilasa, which was for the servants. Currently, entrance to the roof is prohibited due the renovation work being carried out by the Archaeological Department. They claim to finish work in 6 months.

Gandhi MuseumThis institution housed in a 300-year old palace is dedicated to Gandhi je and promotes study and appreciation of the Mahatma's teachings. There is a picture gallery, personal memorabilia of the Mahatma, a library and an exhibition of South India handicrafts and village industries.

Excursion of Madurai:

Vaigai Dam Vaigai dam is surrounded by well-manicured gardens and has come up as a popular picnic spots, just 70-km from Madurai.

Megamalai The tea estates on the slopes of the Western Ghats nestles Megamalai. This lovely place is bound to capture your imagination. Good place to stay and enjoy a lovely surrounding. One can also watch the animals roaming in the forest, which is close to Megamalai, Just 130-km from Madurai.

Suruli Falls 123-km from Madurai city is Suruli falls, which are located in a picturesque area. It is an ideal spot and an excellent picnic spot to spend one day.

Courtallam Courtallam is located about 167-km on the Western Ghats and is an excellent health resort in this part of the country. This place is also known as the 'Spa of the South'. Courtallam is located just 160-km from Madurai. This place has got nine splendid waterfalls, which attracts a large number of visitors. TTDC offers here a boathouse accommodation apart from the restaurant.

Palani 118-km from Madurai is the temple dedicated to Lord Subramanyam. The temple is located on top of a hill 180 meter high. The temple attracts many devotees and people coming to Madurai do not miss visiting Palani. From the hill top one gets an excellent view of the nearby area.

How to get there:

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 There are train connections to Madurai from Madras, which takes eight hours via Trichy and from Rameshwaram, takes six hours. If you approach Madurai from Kerala, some spectacular scenes of the Western Ghats can be viewed.

By Road The city has excellent roads connecting Madurai to all parts of South India. It has 5 Major bus stands.

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