About Madurai

Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day

Base Station: Madurai

Nearest City to Madurai: Madurai

Best Time to Visit Madurai: October to March

Peak Season: January to February & April to May

State: Tamil Nadu | District: Madurai

Madurai Weather: Maximum: 38°C
Minimum: 20.8°C

At a distance of 464 km from Chennai, 136 km from Trichy, 169 km from Thanjavur, 170 km from Rameswaram, 114 km from Kodaikanal & 209 km from Coimbatore, Madurai is the third largest city in Tamilnadu and one of the most famous centers of pilgrimage in India and also the prime site of heritage in Tamil Nadu. The city is very well known for Madurai Meenakshi Temple and is one of the top Places to visit in Tamilnadu.

Situated on the banks of the River Vaigai, Madurai is also referred to as Athens of the East and Temple Town. Madhurai is the oldest continually inhabited city in the Indian peninsula, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. It has been inhabited since at least the 3rd century BCE. It is considered as the cultural capital of Tamilnadu.

Madurai was the seat of power of the Pandyan Empire. It was built by the Pandyan king Kulasekhara and was the capital city of the great Pandya kings of South India. It was later ruled by Cholas, Later Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagara, Madurai Nayaks and finally British. Pandyas and Nayaks contributed enormously to the development of Meenakshi Amman Temple and Madurai city.

Meenakshi Amman Temple (known as Madhurai Meenakshi) is the biggest landmark of Madurai. It is one of the largest temples in India. The temple has a stunning architecture and a significant testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins for their master architecture in sculpting this temple. The core city of Madurai is built parallel to the streets of Madhurai Temple.

Along with Meenakshi Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal & Koodal Alagar Temple are other important places to visit in Madurai. Madurai is also a base station to visit Trichy, Thanjavur, Rameswaram and kodaikanal.

The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.

Madurai has several bus stations. Most of the long distance buses and inter-state buses start from Mattuthavani Bus Terminus (8 km from Railway Station). Buses to Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy, Rameswaram, Thanjavur, Tirupathi, etc start from here. Arappalayam Bus Station is another major bus station (3 km from Railway Station) with connectivity to Kodaikanal, Palani, Theni, Dundigal, etc. Periyar bus station near Railway station is the hub for local city buses.

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Other Info
Internet Availability: Very Good
STD Code: 0452
Languages Spoken: Tamil, Malayalam & English
Major Festivals: Navarathri festival (Sep-Oct),
Annual Festival (April)
Notes/Tips:
None

How to Reach Madurai

By Air

Nearest Airport: Madurai - Madurai Airport (10 Kms)

By Train

Nearest Train Station: Madurai Junction (0 Kms)
Madurai East (4 Kms)

By Bus

Nearest Bus Station: Mattuthavani Bus Terminus (8 Kms)
Arappalayam Bus Station (3 Kms)

Top 10 Places to Visit in Madurai

Heritage | Pilgrimage

#1 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 2 Km from Madurai Junction Railway Station, the historic Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, also called as Meenakshi Amman Temple, is one of the biggest and most popular pilgrimage sites in India. Dedicated to Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva, the temple is considered an architecture marvel. It was shortlisted as one of the top 30 nominees for New Seven Wonders of the World. It is one of the the prime places to visit in Madurai.

The Madurai Temple forms the heart and lifeline of Madurai city which is 2,500 year old. The original temple was built by Kulashekara Pandya, but the initiative to rebuild the structure was taken by first Nayak king of Madurai, Viswanatha Nayak (1559-1600) under the supervision of Ariyanatha Mudaliar. The temple was substantially expanded to the current structure during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak between 1623 and 1655 CE by the Nayak rulers. The credit for making the temple as splendid as it is .....

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Heritage

#2 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 3 km from Madurai Junction Railway Station and 1 km from Meenakshi Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is a palace complex constructed in the Indo-Saracen style by Thirumalai Nayak in 1636. It is among the major Madurai tourist places.

The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure. It was divided into two parts, Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa and only the Swargavilasa is survived today. The palace was designed by an Italian architect. The ceilings are decorated with large paintings showing Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes. The Darbar hall (courtyard) and the Natakasala (dancing hall) are carry the original glory and are central attractions for visitors. There are 248 pillars, each 58 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. It is believed that the Rangavilasa portion of the palace was demolished by Chockanatha Nayak, the grandson of Thirumalai Nayak and the materials were carried to Trichy to build a new palace.

The most remarkable part of this .....

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Pilgrimage

#3 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 1 km from Madurai Junction Railway Station & 1.5 km Meenakshi Temple, The Koodal Alagar Temple, also known as Arulmigu Koodalazhagar Thirukoil, is another important temple in Madurai. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is believed to be older than the Meenakshi temple. It is one of the important places to visit in Madurai.

A unique feature of this temple is the three different postures of the same God. The three figures of Vishnu are in standing, sitting and reclining postures. These three figures of the deity are known by three different names. The most venerated of the three figures is Lord Vishnu in the seated posture. The seated Lord Vishnu is locally known as Lord Koodal Alagar from whom the temple derives its name. The reclining idol is known as Sri Ranganatha. Sri Surya Narayan Perumal is the name for the standing image of Lord Vishnu.

This temple possesses wonderful architecture and artwork. Adorned with a temple tower followed by the main shrine .....

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Pilgrimage

#4 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 8 km from Madurai Junction Railway Station, Thiruparankundram Temple, also known as Tirupparamkunram Murugan Kovil is renowned for its 8th century rock cut cave temple dedicated to Lord Murugan (Subrahmanya). It is one of the major sacred places to visit in Madurai.

Tirupparankundram Temple is one of the six abodes of Murugan and considered as the first and foremost temple of Lord Muruga. Several myths and legends are associated with this temple and one of them says that it is at this place that the Lord Muruga defeated the demon Surapadman and got married to Deivayani, daughter of the king of heaven, Indra and worshipped Lord Shiva.

The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. There are several mandapas in this temple known as Kambathadi Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam, and Mahamandapam situated at different levels connected by steps. There are several architectural features .....

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Pilgrimage

#5 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 21 km north-east of Madurai, Alagar Koil is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated on a picturesque wooded hill. It is one of the major temples in Tamilnadu and an important pilgrimage site near Madurai city.

The temple is the abode of Lord Vishnu and is the sacred place for several followers of Lord Vishnu in the region. It is situated in the Alagar hills and is also known as Azhagar Kovil. Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhagar'. The statue of the lord is made of stone and is a great masterpiece created from kallalgar. Several different statues in different postures of the Lord are all kept in the temple under the same roof and it is the best form of distinct temples in southern India.

The impressive main tower at the entrance is believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kings. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan (1251-1270 AD) has beautified the 'vimana' with gold plates. Later, during the reign .....

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Pilgrimage

#6 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 80 km from Madurai and 100 km from Tirunelveli, Srivilliputhur Andal Temple is an ancient Hindu temple situated at Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar district of Tamilnadu. This is one of the popular temples in Tamilnadu and also one of the 108 divya desams of Lord Vishnu. The 11 tier Raja gopuram is the tallest in Tamilnadu and is also the Emblem of Tamil Nadu Government.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vatapatrasayi and his consort Lakshmi as Andal. It is believed to be the birthplace of two of the Alwars, namely Periazhwar and his foster daughter Andal. The Alwars lived in 8th century, so that the existence of the temple can be traced even before. Vatapatra Sayanar Temple was constructed by the King Villi who ruled the place. The tall temple tower was constructed by Peria Alwar with the help provided by the Pandian king Vallabadevan (765-815 AD). The Andal Shrine had been constructed by different kings of Pandya dynasty at different times. .....

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Museum

#7 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 4 Kms from Madurai Junction Railway Station, Gandhi Museum is a great master piece in Southern India and it has great historical background and mythology in its background.

The museum is square in shape and created at the height of 5 metres from the ground level and it has a wonderful dome in the centre which is about 7 metres diagonally. It was constructed by Nayak Queen Rani in the earlier 1700 AD. Great cost was incurred in establishing the museum and it was all invested by the government of India, in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation.

Timings: 10 AM to 1 PM & 2 PM to 5:30 PM

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Pilgrimage

#8 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 5 Kms from Madurai Junction Railway Station (on NH 49, towards the banks of Vaigai river), Vandiyur Mariamman Temple is built in the memory of Lord Vigneshwara. It is a popular temples near Madurai city.

It has a huge tank in the compound of the temple and is the biggest tank in the region of Tamil Nadu. The tank is filled with water all year long and the idol of the temple too was obtained from the bottom of the tank, while it was dug in the olden times and hence the temple was constructed at that place itself. So the tank gained its popularity since then and the temple too was constructed in its memory.

Float festival is conducted in the month of Jan/Feb in the tank in a colourful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.

Timings: 8 AM to 7 PM

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Pilgrimage

#9 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 12 kms from Madurai, Narasingam is famous for the Cave temple of Yoga Narasinga Perumal constructed in 770 AD by Madurakavi who was the minister of the Madurai King Paraanthaka Nedunchelzyan. The sculpture of Narasinga Perumal is carved out of the Aanaimalai Hill rocks. This temple is a good example of the cave sculpturing of the Pandya Kingdom. In front of this there is a stone temple for the goddess Sri Narasingavalli.

To the west of Narasinga Perumal temple, there is another cave temple constructed in 8th century AD by Pandia King. In this temple the deity Muruga and the goddess Devasena are seen. On the outer wall of this temple the sculptures of the cock and peacocks are formed beautifully.

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Pilgrimage

#10 of 14 Places to Visit in Madurai

At a distance of 23 kms north-east of Madurai (4 Kms from Alagar Koil), Pazhamudhir Solai is a beautiful temple created in the memory of Lord Subramaniya who is worshipped by several people in southern India. It has great sculptures of lord subramaniya encarved in wood and marble and is a wonderful temple with giant steps in the front of it.

People worship the temple by moving across the periphery of the temple a several number of times, with the hope that their wish would come true. It is the giant temple of Lord subhramaniya in southern India and one of the most beautiful too. It is located on the hills of Alagar koil.

Timings: Not Available.

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