Dating back to the 550 AD, the ancient city of Madurai has always been a hot spot for tourists. The age old temples and their architecture has always interested the history buffs and the pilgrim flocks. A city whose historical places are worth exploring, one will never feel tired of visiting this place. The most visited temple of this city is the Meenakshi temple of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. The architecture of this temples is of the Dravidian style. The Gandhi Museum and Thirumalai Nayak Mahal are historical places that will interest the history buffs. Apart from this, the nature lovers can have a good time at Vaigai Dam. With all this and much more, it has always stayed on top of the most visited tourist destinations of the South.
Places To SeeMeenakshi Temple
This temple is by far the main reason why people flock to Madurai. The temple is dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, considered to be the manifestation of goddess Parvati. There are two temples within the complex, one dedicated to the goddess and the other to her consort, Sundareshwarar (or Shiva). Four imposing gopurams guard the temple gateways. Each tower showcases beautifully painted sculptures mythological themes. The tradition is to enter from the south gopurum, first worship the goddess and then proceed to the temple of Shiva. Alagar Kovil
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is located at the foothills of Solaimalai hill, about 20 km from Madurai. The temple is famous for the Lord Vishnu statue and also for the brilliant stone sculpture and carvings. A natural stream runs close by. Koodal Alagar Temple
This is another important Vaishnav temple in Madurai and has three postures of the lord: sitting, standing and lying down posture. The temple presents magnificent architecture and inlays, and is well worth a visit. Thiruparankundram
The temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga. This ancient shrine is located on a hillock and is believed to date to 6th century AD. The interiors house a rectangular chamber carved out of a hill. There are sub chambers that houses various Hindu deities. Alagar Temple
This is another Vaishnav temple located in the nearby hills. A stream flows from the top of the hill and water is carried from it daily for performing rituals within the temple. The Chittrai festival is held here every year during the first Tamil month (April-May). Pazhamudhir Solai
The temple is dedicated to Lord Karthikeya and is set on a hill in the jungles. At 7pm every evening there is an utsavam of the deity on a golden chariot. Thirumalai Nayak Palace
The palace was constructed by the 17th century ruler Thirumalai Nayak, who played a major role in the construction of the Meenakshi Temple. Only a small portion of the original temple remains. A sound and light show is held every evening. You can also visit the museum which houses some interesting portraits and stone carvings of the 17th century.
Things To DoChithrai Festival
The festival takes place during April and May and attracts millions of visitors. The festivities spread over a period of 12 days and include Coronation of Meenakshi Amman, procession of the goddess, and celestial wedding (Thirukalyanam) of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. Chariot and float processions are also held. Gandhi Museum
The museum displays Gandhi’s blood stained dhoti, some artefacts and texts related to the freedom struggle. Some classes and workshops are held here on diverse subjects including t'ai chi and local herbs. There is also a khadi bhavan which sells handloom products.