The temple city and the pilgrim town of Madurai has captivated visitors for years. Ancient history and culture permeate every corner and mesmerizing Dravidian style temples dominate the skyline. Walking through the streets of bustling places like Pudhu Mandapam, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into the past as vendors call out and encourage you to buy famous Madurai cotton sarees and intricately designed brassware. Yet, the best places to visit in Madurai aren’t confined to temples and shops that look as old as time. There are many more destinations to explore, each as interesting as the next.

20 Best Places To Visit In Madurai

Surely your escape will be magical with these highlights added to your itinerary! These places are definitely worth capturing. Have a look at the top tourist places in Madurai. Do not forget to add them to your list of Madurai places to visit.

  • Meenakshi Amman Temple: Colorfully Aesthetic
  • Koodal Azhagar Temple: Admire The Beauty
  • Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple: Pay A Visit
  • Alagar Kovil: Intricate Carvings
  • Pudhu Mandapam: For Temple-Hopping
  • Gandhi Memorial Museum: Dig Deep In The History
  • Kazimar Big Mosque: Bow & Seek Blessings
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral: Praise The Lord
  • Yanaimalai: Hill Like Elephant
  • Thirumalai Nayak Mahal: See The Indo-Saracen Style
  • Vaigai Dam: Admire The Man-Made Marvel
  • Samanar Hills: For An Ideal Sunset View
  • Athisayam: Fun Place To Enjoy
  • Mariamman Teppakulam: Pay A Visit With Fam
  • ISKCON Madurai: Seek Blessings
  • Goripalayam Dargah: Bow Down & Pray For Well-Being
  • Meghamalai: The High Wavy Mountains
  • Banana Market: An Offbeat Splurge
  • Murugan Idli Shop: Scrumptious Delicacies
  • Vilachery Pottery Village: A Walk Through Artistic Lanes

1. Meenakshi Amman Temple: Colorfully Aesthetic

the best dravidian architecture

The city’s most iconic attraction heads our list of the top Madurai places to visit. In fact, it should be the first stop on your sightseeing tour and things to do in Madurai. Showcasing some of the best of Dravidian architecture, the complex is in the center of the city and instantly stands out with its towering gopurams. 13 acres of fascinating shrines, a golden lotus sacred pool and mandapas wait to be explored. You can spend hours at Meenakshi Amman Temple and you still won’t be able to explore it all!

Location: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 9 am – 7 pm
Entry fee: INR 5 for Indians and INR 50 for foreign tourists

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2. Koodal Azhagar Temple: Admire The Beauty

temple dedicated to vishnu

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Next on our Madurai tourist places list is Koodal Azhagar Temple, a stunning structure built in dedication to Vishnu. As with temples in the city, it’s constructed in the Dravidian style. A glorious five-tiered rajagopuram dominates and stands over 120 feet tall. The temple is situated close to the Meenakshi Amman and you can’t afford to miss a visit. Try to plan your trip during the float festival that runs for 10 days.

Location: Perumal Koil Sannathi Street Near Periyar Bus Stand, Periyar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 7 am – 12 pm, 4 pm – 7:30 pm
Entry fee: None

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3. Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple: Pay A Visit

rock cut structure of temple

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One of the best places to visit in Madurai is the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple. It’s located in Thiruparankundram, which is close to the city. The ancient structure is breathtaking in architecture particularly because it’s rock-cut. Another distinct feature is the placement of the gods, Shiva and Vishnu, who face each other. Considering Shaivites and Vaishnavites have always been two different groups, this aspect sets the temple apart.
Don’t stop your exploration at the temple; take a walk around the complex and visit the nearby pond to see devotees feeding the fish.

Location: Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu 625005
Timings: 5 am – 1 pm, 4 pm – 9 pm
Entry fee: NA

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4. Alagar Kovil: Intricate Carvings

colourful carvings of temple

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At first glance, the village of Alagar Kovil resembles any other in Madurai. Yet, if you look closely, you’ll notice that much of the community and lifestyle revolve around the Kallazhagar Temple. Set against a lush hill, the temple rises up dramatically and lures visitors to explore it. Life-size sculptures and colorful carvings offer plenty to see and admire.
Unlike other larger temples set closer to the city, Kallazhagar boasts a serenity that adds to its allure. Perhaps it’s the hills or the slow pace of village life – either way, it’s one of the top places to see in Madurai.

Location: Alagar Kovil Main Rd, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 624401
Timings: 6 am – 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm – 830 pm
Entry fee: 

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5. Pudhu Mandapam: For Temple-Hopping

shopper's delight area

Take a break from temple-hopping to visit the lively shopping area of Pudhu Mandapam. It’s located near Meenakshi Amman. Set amidst massive stone pillars are vendors selling their wares that consist of everything from wooden toys and fabrics to brassware and stoneware. It really is a shopper’s delight and there are plenty of souvenirs to take back home.
Pudhu Mandapam is one of the more popular Madurai tourist places and sees numerous visitors. Be prepared to haggle for the best bargains!

Location: E Chitrai St, Chinnakadai Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
9 am – 8:30 pm
Entry fee: 

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6. Gandhi Memorial Museum: Dig Deep In The History

beautifully landscaped grounds

A Madurai sightseeing tour should definitely include the Gandhi Memorial Museum. It’s housed in the grand Tamukkam Palace built during the Nayak Dynasty period, dating back to the 17th century. Beautifully landscaped grounds with tall trees and sculptures create a quiet place for reflection and allow you to immerse yourself in history.

The museum is divided into three sections and all are worth a visit. The ‘India Fights for Freedom’ gallery features illustrations on panels depicting the freedom movement. The ‘Visual Biography of Gandhi’ gallery, meanwhile, gives visitors a glimpse into his life through photos, manuscripts and selected letters. The last gallery, ‘Relics and Replicas’, exhibits artifacts used by Gandhi. A part of his blood-stained garment worn at the time of his assassination is also displayed although some say it’s a replica. It is one of the Madurai famous places.

Location: Collector Office Rd, Tamukkam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625020
Timings: 10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 5:45 pm 
Entry fee: None

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7. Kazimar Big Mosque: Bow & Seek Blessings

Kazimar Big Mosque

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Next on the list of Madurai tourist places is Kazimar Big Mosque, which is believed to be the first mosque in the city. It was founded by Hazarat Kazi Syed Tajuddin who is said to be a direct descendent of Muhammed.

The mosque is huge and can accommodate as many as 2,500 people. It’s also known for its maqbara of important hazrats of Madurai.

Location: Kazimar St, Periyar, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 4:30 am – 11 pm
Entry fee: None

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8. St. Mary’s Cathedral: Praise The Lord

known for its peaceful ambience

St. Mary’s Cathedral is a wonderful blend of architectural styles that include European and Roman influences. It’s one of the best places to visit in Madurai with its peaceful ambience. Try to go during Christmas to see the striking Nativity scene and illuminations.

Although built as a modest chapel in the mid-19th century, it was given the status of a cathedral in the late 1960s. Today, it’s the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madurai. The cathedral is beautiful as a whole but the bell towers and orange vaulting are particularly arresting.

Location: E Veli St, Mahalipatti, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 7 am – 8 pm
Entry fee: None

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9. Yanaimalai: Hill Like Elephant

overview of a hill

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Yanaimalai or Elephant Hill is awe-inspiring in its majesty. Shaped like an elephant, it’s one of the top Madurai India points of interest. Its appearance isn’t its only allure, however; it stands out for being home to Shaivite and Vaishnavite temples and Jain sculptures. The latter are situated in caves on the top of the hill while the temples are located at the foothills.

Yanaimalai offers terrific hiking opportunities for travelers eager to get out into nature. Spend a few hours to explore its many attractions.

Location: Narasingam, Tamil Nadu 625104
7 am – 12 noon, 4 pm – 8 pm
Entry fee: 

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10. Thirumalai Nayak Mahal: See The Indo-Saracen Style

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal

Dating back to 1636, this palace complex is built in the Indo-Saracen style of architecture. It is one of the best Madurai places to visit. In the erstwhile era, the palace had two parts, of which only one passed the test of time – Swargavilasa. The interior of the palace is decorated in Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes, with The Darbar hall (courtyard) and the Natakasala (dancing hall) being prime attractions of the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal. And once you are done exploring these places, head to a few places near Madurai on a day trip or weekend getaway.

Location: Panthadi 1st St, Mahal Area, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 9 am – 5 pm
Entry fee: INR 10 per adult, INR 5 per child

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11. Vaigai Dam: Admire The Man-Made Marvel

Vaigai Dam

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If you want to witness true man-made marvel then you must visit Vaigai Dam which is counted among the top tourist places to visit in Madurai. The dam is built over River Vaigai, hence the name. If you want to get the most of your trip then you must visit this place in the evenings on the weekends when the dam is illuminated, rendering a splendid view.

Location: Guest House Rd, Melmangalam, Tamil Nadu 625562
Timings: 6 am – 6 pm
Entry Fee: Free

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12. Samanar Hills: For An Ideal Sunset View

Samanar Hills

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Another one listed in the top places to visit in Madurai is Samanar Hills where you can get a perfect sunrise or sunset view. It is basically a hill rock caves where Tamil Jain monks used to reside. Now, it has turned into a perfect place for tourism for history buffs as the walls of the caves are carved with elaborate drawings. Along with this, you will also find a lotus temple on the premises of this tourist spot.

Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625019
Timings: 6 am – 6 pm
Entry fee: None

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13. Athisayam: Fun Place To Enjoy


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If you are planning a vacation with your friends or family, then one of the most famous places to visit in Madurai is Athisayam Amusement & Water Park. It covers an area of 70 acres and boasts of its water rides and games. The best part about this place is that there is also a 7D theatre where you can experience something out of this world. Besides this, the place is also equipped with a recreation garden meant for kids as well as an eatery where you can gorge on some amazing local food.

Location: Madurai – Dindigul Main Road,Paravai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625402
Timings: 10:30 am – 6 pm
Entry Fee: INR 800 (Adults), INR 500 (Children)

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14. Mariamman Teppakulam: Pay A Visit With Fam

Mariamman Teppakulam

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Dedicated to Lord Vigneshwara, Mariamman Teppakulam Temple is located at a distance of only 5 kms from Meenakshi Temple. It is among the beautiful places to visit in Madurai India. The temple overlooks a huge tank which is considered to be the biggest tank in the whole of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that the idol was dug out from the same tank which is why this temple gained popularity. If you want to see the true magic of this place then plan your vacation during the festival season.

Location: Meenakshi Nagar, Tamil Nadu 625009
Timings: 5 am – 9 pm
Entry fee: None

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15. ISKCON Madurai: Seek Blessings

ISKCON temple

Everyone has heard of ISKCON temples that are scattered all over the world to spread peace and love. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna & Goddess Radha and locals visit this place almost every day. You will hear chantings and songs all the time in this temple. This is what makes it one of the soothing places to visit in Madurai India. Moreover, the devotees are served with prasad and one can find a pure veg eatery on the premises where you can savor some dishes.

Location: Sri Sri Radha Mathurapathi Temple, Mani Nagaram Main Rd, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Timings: 4:45 am – 12:30 pm, 4:45 pm – 8:15 pm
Entry fee: None

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16. Goripalayam Dargah: Bow Down & Pray For Well-Being

Goripalayam Dargah

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If you are looking for religious places to visit in Madurai, then you must consider heading to Goripalayam Dargah which is a famous place in the region. The structure is painted with green and white paint along with a spectacular dome in between with towering minars. The mosque houses the shrines of Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddin Badusha and Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badusha.

Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Timings: 7 am – 7 pm
Entry fee: None

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17. Meghamalai: The High Wavy Mountains


Image Credits: Shivmirthyu for Needpix

Sitting in the Western Ghats, Meghamalai boasts about sprawling grasslands. The aromatic plantations of cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon makes it one of the best places to visit in Madurai. The lush greens found in this destination truly makes it a treat not only for the soul but also for the eyes. This town is also famed for its rich flora and fauna. The diverse wildlife acts a magnet for nature lovers out there. There is plenty to witness when in Meghamalai. From Wildlife Sanctuary to Waterfalls, from dams to view points, this place never fails to impress. 

Sitting on a high altitude, Meghamalai is a great escape from the heat. It is among the best hill stations near Madurai

Location: Western Ghats Hills, Theni District, Tami Nnadu
Timings: Open 24 hours
Entry fee: No entry fee

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18. Banana Market: An Offbeat Splurge 

banana market

Image Credits: DomJ for Pexels

When someone thinks of shopping in Madurai in a market, they usually imagine the basic items such as clothes, handicrafts, accessories, and such. But this market in Madurai is one of its kind. South is known for its bananas and that is exactly what the market sells. One of the unique and famous places to visit in Madurai is the Banana market that sells around 16 different varieties of this fruit. It is a hot trading place located in towns and is always bustling with locals and tourists alike. The market starts getting crowded in the early morning itself when the local vendors bring the fruit from various factory outlets and sell them here. 

Location: No. 4/1, East Swami Shanthi Street, Near Amma Store, East, Swami, Shanthi St, Madurai Main
Timings: 9 am – 7 pm 
Entry fee: No entry fee

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19. Murugan Idli Shop: Scrumptious Delicacies

Murugan Idli Shop

Image Credits: Surya Prakash.S.A. for Wikimedia Commons One thing that the southern region of this country is famous for and boasts about has to be the lip-smacking delicacies that one can never have enough of. Talking about delicacies, one thing that everyone visiting Madurai should try are the idlis. And for this reason, Murugan Idli Shop has found itself a top rank among the famous tourist places in Madurai. The laid-back environment, impeccably delicious food, and friendly staff ensures that one has a great experience in this casual dining eatery.

Location: Madurai Main, Madurai
Timings: NA
Entry fee: None

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20. Vilachery Pottery Village: A Walk Through Artistic Lanes

Pottery Village

Image Credits: pxfuel Another one of the tourist places in Madurai that one should not miss out is the quaint, little pottery village of Vilachery. This is the spot in the southern country where a variety of different idols of Gods and goddesses are structured. The vibrant colors, stunning artwork, and the artistic flair is a treat for both eyes and souls here. Just stroll through the village, admire the beauty of craftsmanship, and capture the beautiful moments as you visit this town.

Location: Vilacheri, Madurai
Timings: 9:30 am – 11 pm
Entry fee: None

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These places to visit in Madurai offer truly take you back in time – to the good old days when life was simple. So if you’re planning a visit to this spiritual – historic city, do let us know about your experience in the comments section below. It is time to plan a vacation to Madurai!

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Frequently Asked Question About Places To Visit In Madurai

What is the famous food in Madurai?

Madurai is famous for its enormous spread of street food options, among which one of the best ones is the Idli which is fluffy and soft in its texture. You will get crispy Dosas here as well alongside Kari Dosa in other street food options. The whole range of South Indian food is considered to be the best type of food in Madurai.

What are the most popular things to do in Madurai with children?

There are many interesting things to do you can engage in, while on a trip to Madurai. These activities include exploring the Banana market, savour authentic south Indian food, visiting Thirumalai Nayak Palace, engaging in Shopping and many more.

Is it safe to visit Madurai during Covid times?

You need to follow all the mandatory safety guidelines mentioned by the authorities to ensure a safe travel experience. Remain masked while stepping out of the hotel and maintain social distance. Avoid visiting crowded places and keep sanitizing your hands after touching surfaces.

Which are the places to see in Madurai?

Some of the best places to see in Madurai include 1. Meenakshi Temple 2. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal 3. Samanagar Hills 4. Vaigai Dam 5. Gandhi Museum 6. Alagar Koil 7. Athisayam Amusement Park 8. Meghamalai 9. Koodal Azhagar Temple 10. St Mary’s Cathedral 11. Mariamman Teppakulam 12. Tirupparankundram Murugan Temple 13. Pazhamudhir Solai

What is Madurai famous for?

Madurai is an ancient city settled on the banks of the river Vaigai. It is mainly known for its highly revered Hindu temple, the beautiful Meenakshi Amman Temple, which has 14 gopurams. It is visited by a large number of pilgrims and travellers from around the world.

What is famous in Madurai for shopping?

Here are the famous and best things in Madurai for shopping: 1. Sungudi Sarees (cotton sarees) from Chinnalapatti Village 2. Madurai silk sarees 3. Bangles from Valayalkara Theru 4. Lotus leaf halwa 5. Metal handicrafts

Is there any beach in Madurai?

No, there are no beaches in Madurai as it is a land-locked area. But there are many wonderful beaches near Madurai, including 1. Aryaman Beach, Rameshwaram (125 Kms) 2. The Beach, Tuticorin (126 Kms) 3. Kunth Kal Beach, Rameshwaram (142 Kms) 4. Villoondi Tirtham, Rameshwaram (144 Kms) 5. Dhanushkodi Beach, Rameswaram (157 Kms)

Is photography allowed in Madurai Meenakshi Temple?

Prohibition of photography is not mentioned in the Do’s and Don’ts on the official website of Meenakshi Temple. But their website has prohibited entry of mobile phones inside the temple premises.

Is there any dress code in Madurai Meenakshi Temple?

Yes, there are certain dress codes to be followed while visiting Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Lunges, shorts, and caps are not allowed. One must not wear anything made of animal skin. Also, make sure that you remove your footwear and socks before entering the temple.

Is mobile phone allowed in Madurai Meenakshi Temple?

No, mobile phones are not allowed inside the temple premises since March 2018. You can safely deposit your phones at North, South, East or West entrance gates for a minimal fee of INR 5 per 4 hours.

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