South India  >  Tamil Nadu  >  Madurai
Brief of Madurai

Madurai or the "city of nectar" is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. Madurai is called Athens of the East because of the way myth meets life here. Originally called Madhurapuram because honey (madhu) is said to have dripped off the locks of Shiva here, Madurai is now the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. This sacred town of south attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from India as well as abroad.

Madurai, Kerala, South India

History of Madurai
This city is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. The Pandyan king, Kulasekhara had built a gorgeous temple around which he created a lotus shaped city. Mythology says when city was being named; Lord Shiva blessed the city and its people. On the auspicious occasion some Divine nectar ("Madhu") fell from the matted locks of Shiva and hence the city was named "Madhurapuri".
Madurai, Kerala, South India


How to reach Madurai

Air
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.
Rail
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.
Road
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.

Climate of Madurai

The climate of Madurai is warm. The temperature seldom comes below 20o C even during the winters. The rainfall is very frequent and spread throughout the year, just like the flow of pilgrims and tourists is the same during the year.

Fairs & Festival of Madurai
Most important festival of Madurai is the sacred wedding ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar. This festival is held during March -April. During this festival the city displays a colourful and joyous mood. Images of the divine couple are taken around the city in a tastefully decorated chariot, amidst the presence of a huge gathering of devotees. The notes of Nadaswaram and drums further aggravate the festive ambience.

The annual float festival marks the images of Meenakshi and her consort floating on the Mariamman tank on an illuminated raft bedecked with flowers. As such there are festivals throughout the year in Madurai. All most 11 big annual festivals are celebrated in Madurai, which are spread through the year with exception of the monsoon months.

Shopping in Madurai
Madurai has been a textile center since ages. The streets and lanes are lines with shops and tailors offering readymade as well as fabric material manufactured in Madurai. The Puthu Mandapam, an old pillared hall along the entrance to Meenakshi temple is popular among the visitors and locals for the cotton fabric and the Batiks. The lovely Sungundi Sarees are in great demand among Indian women. Collectors are delighted to have the Brass lamps from Madurai.

Nearby Cities of Madurai
Coimbatore = 227 km
Rameshwaram = 173 km
Kanyakumari = 253 km
Tekkadi = 137 km
Courtalam = 160 km
Kodaikanal = 121 km

Main Attractions of Madurai
Meenakshi Amman Temple
An excellent example of Dravidian Architecture, the Meenakshi Temple attracts devotees from all over India and Tourist from all over the world. One can climb to the southern Gopuram of the temple to get a great view of the city.
Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Complex
This is an ideal picnic spot with TTDC providing boathouses restaurants services.
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.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
This palace is an excellent example of Indo-Sarcenic architecture. It was built in 1523 AD and originally was four times larger than what it is today. The gardens, the defensive wall all have gone and what remains are the main entrance gate, the dancing hall and the main hall. Lord Napier renovated the palace in 1866-72 and later further restoration works were carried on. 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
One of the most ancient temples in Madurai, Koodal Azhagar temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In this temple he is seen in various postures sitting, standing, reclining one over the other. There are intricate woodcarvings in here, including one of Lord Rama's coronation.
Azhagar Koil
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located 18-km northeast of Madurai on a picturesque hilltop. The gold image of Azhagar travels for the Celestial marriage during the Chithirai festival.
Pazhamudhirsolai
On the same hills of Azhagar Koilthis is again one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya.
The Gandhi Museum
The museum was initially the palace of Rani Mangammal. It gives a clear account of the history of Independence movement of India. This museum also tells some little known facts about Gandhiji but the real piece of Gandhi Memorabilia is the blood stained Dhoti, which he was wearing at the time of his assassination. The local government museum is also situated over here. The small bookshop offers plenty of reading material from Gandhiji's works.
Thirupparankundram
This is one of the abodes of Lord Sundareshwara, a rock cut temple carved out of a mountain, just 8-km from the city.

 
 
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