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You must be in Madurai if you want to see a location with an illustrious past that displays the architectural genius of the artisans. On the banks of the Vaigai River sits Tamil Nadu’s second-largest city, which has a fascinating history. One of India’s oldest towns, Madurai is home to numerous magnificent temples that date back to the ancient and medieval periods. The fascinating tales surrounding the city of Madurai and its magnificently constructed temples attract numerous tourists to this lovely.
Location: Tamil Nadu
Nearest Airport: Madurai
How to reach: by air/train/road
Famous for: Meenakshi Temple, Hindu Pilgrimage, Jasmin Plantation
Best time to visit: October to March
WHAT TO SEE
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
Saint Mary’s Cathedral
History of Madurai:
According to myth, Kadambavanam, a forest that is now Madurai, was formerly home to Lord Indra and his Swayambhu Lingam worship. In order to construct the beautiful Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple and the amazing lotus-shaped city that surrounds it, King Kulasekara Pandya cleared the forest. The temple is now known as Madurai City.
Culture of Madurai:
The vivid festivals, music, arts, dances, and captivating architectural wonders are a reflection of Madurai’s rich culture, which is gleefully celebrated during festivals like Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam. The old weaving methods that are still utilized today in this country, which is renowned for its arts and crafts, are admired throughout. The colorful culture of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is reflected in some of the prominent dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Ottan Thullal, and Krishnattam, while you won’t want to miss out on the local delicacies like Dosai, Idly, Sambar, and Pongal.
Places of Interest:
Meenakshi Amman Temple: This temple constructed by King Kulasekara Pandya is one of the most popular pilgrim centers with its 14 colorful gateway towers dominating the skyline of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The hall with a thousand pillars is what makes its architectural brilliance worth captivating. The exquisite museum and the statues add up to the beauty of the historic Madhura Meenakshi Temple which boasts intricately carved sculptures and serves as a lifeline of the city.
Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace: One of Madurai’s most famous structures, Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal was constructed in the sixteenth century and is renowned for its imposing Dravidian Islamic architecture and exquisite interiors. This impressive building is praiseworthy because of its sizable courtyard and the stucco work on its domes. The 20-meter-high white pillars that line the corridor and are connected by elaborately decorated arches are what distinguish this castle in a special way.
Gandhi Museum: Housed in the old Palace of Rani Mangammal, the Gandhi Museum depicts the highlights of the freedom struggle sparing no detail about British rule. The museum houses a gallery that preserves some relics including the blood-stained dhoti that Gandhi was wearing when he was assassinated in Delhi. Gandhiji first took up wearing the dhoti in Madurai, in 1921. The museum has an open-air theatre where several cultural programs are conducted and the library in the Gandhi Museum has a vast collection of books by Gandhiji.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Just around the corner from the Tirumalai Nayak Palace, this 20th-century neo-Gothic construction presents a beautiful blend of Roman, European, and other architectural styles. Its magnificent blue-and-white exterior with twirling spires simple stained-glass windows and bold-orange vaulting makes it a place worth visiting in your Madurai Tamil Nadu tour.
Samanar Hill: The ancient caves found here were used by Samanar, the Jains and its carvings date back to the 1st century AD. The religious significant sculptures present a glimpse into the historical richness of southern India. It is a great place to spend considerable time in solitude amid the calmness and spiritual serenity of the hills to rejuvenate. You can trek up the hills and the view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill is worth climbing it. Spend some beautiful moments with the flora and fauna found in the areas nearby.
Chettinad: Discover the intricate heritage of Chettinadu and other extravagant mansions built with the finest materials: Burmese teak, Indian rosewood, English steel, Italian marble, and art and sculpture from everywhere. Several palatial homes have now been converted into gorgeous heritage hotels that are some of Tamil Nadu’s best.
Dindigul: Dindigul is an ancient city in the state of Tamil Nadu which is famous for its processing factories of Tannery and Textiles. The ancient Rock Fort, perched on the top of the hill is the prominent attraction of this city including the famous temples in the city and the meeting point of the rivers Vaigai, Maruda, and Manjalaru. The mouth-watering Biryani among other South-Indian dishes is a famous delicacy to enjoy.
Artisans at work at Velachery Pottery Village: This village is located on the southern fringes of the city and is home to artisans that have been making clay and paper-mâché dolls using molds and painting them by hand, especially for Navarathri, kolu arrangements, idols during Vinayaga Chaturthi. Women here run their production units and function in groups of 15 members which has given them confidence and also an additional source of income.
Hike uphill to Jain Temples: Trekking up the Samanar Hills will allow you to explore the areas nearby to spend some time with the flora and fauna of this place. The climb is worth the cool breeze during early mornings/late evenings. You could see the whole of Madurai Town from up there and the magnificent sunset from the rocky hilltop is a lifetime experience.
Food in Madurai:
Apart from a plethora of street food options, you can visit any fine restaurant to try Madurai’s special non-vegetarian food as well as its vegetarian spread. Some of the things like idlis, idiyappam, egg-rolled Koothu Parotta, Kari Dosai, Kola Urundai (spicy meatball), prawn biryani, etc cannot be missed. You can visit the market that is dedicated to bananas of all kinds. For all those who have a sweet tooth, try out Jigarthanda, a sweet drink essentially made of milk, ice cream, and fruit gum which you can find anywhere with a different set of ingredients by each seller.
Where to stay:
The fascinating Madurai temples with intricate architecture, the amazing delicacies, and the beauty of the surroundings make this place worth visiting. To explore the city at ease, you need a serene place to stay to enjoy a relaxing vacation. So, recommend you the best.
Heritage Madurai – A perfect resort for your perfect vacation. Stay in the chic, airy rooms or the luxurious villas with their living rooms and private pools. Enjoy your mornings in an open-air coffee shop with a wonderful breakfast. This resort is close to all the nearby attractions in the city which mean hassle-free traveling for you.