Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia
As a future tourist if you are looking at the options what things to do in Madurai, then first you should start exploring this ancient city to the best extent possible. As an ancient city with its recognition of a region housing many holy sites or temples, Madurai has much to offer you during your Tamil Nadu tour. This city is one of the most popular ones in India due to presence of many ancient buildings and countless national heritage sites which keep it into the global limelight.
One of the oldest cities in India, Madurai is indeed recognized by the metaphor of the ‘Cultural Capital’ in India’s Tamil Nadu state. This city is not only the 3rd largest one in Tamil Nadu but also 44th most populated city in the country ranking on India level. Besides number of historical monuments depicting the past era and cultural heritage of this region, famous ancient temple namely Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace amongst others are the national landmarks of a global repute. The rich heritage of this city urges large chunk of India visitors to add this place in their itineraries.
Welcoming tourists as well as pilgrims, Madurai city remains an immensely popular one on national and international levels. Several of the historic temples and buildings of this city had been built way back in the 17th century during the rule of the Nayak Dynasty. Such temples and buildings depicting the rich architecture of that era still depicts and literally takes the visitors to that era while they explore this region.
14 Best Things To Do In Madurai
Wondering what to do in Madurai? Whenever you plan a trip to Madurai, ensure delving into the following activities. Indeed, your exploration of the below mentioned activities are going to become a lifetime experience for you to cherish. Here is a list of the top things to do in Madurai that will make your itinerary complete.
- Meenakshi Temple: Seek Blessings
- Puthu Mandapam: It’s Time For Shopping
- Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Spend Some Time Praying
- Thirumalai Nayak Palace: A Must-Visit Place
- Jain Caves: Get Ready For A Hike
- Banana Market: Unravel The Mysterious Place
- Gandhi Memorial Museum: Gain More Knowledge
- Thiruparankundram: Explore The Abode Of Lord Murugan
- South Indian Food: Treat Your Taste Buds
- Vaigai Dam: Witness The Blend Of Natural & Man-Made Marvels
- Alagar Kovil: Embrace The Essence Of Spirituality
- Athisayam: Satiate Your Inner Child
- Meghamalai: Lose Yourself In Nature’s Beauty
- Chithirai Festival: Be A Part Of Its Colorful Culture
1. Meenakshi Temple: Seek Blessings
Popularly known as the Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, Meenakshi Temple is a world famed Hindu Temple in the region where devotees from worldwide locations keep visiting throughout the year. Located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city Madurai in Tamil Nadu, this temple had been built in 17th century. It attracts the pilgrims round the year. That is why it is always flocked by the devotees.
This temple remains one of the must-see South Indian temples during the Madurai visits as it mentions in the Tamil Sangam literature to describe the 6th century CE texts. With 500 pillars and 14 towers, it covers an area of 15 acres. Although this temple remains open round the clock for the visitors, tourists are advised to visit this temple either in the morning or evening hours.
Location: Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 4-5 hours
2. Puthu Mandapam: It’s Time For Shopping
Your visit to Madurai will perhaps remain incomplete if you don’t explore the Puthu Mandapam shopping area. Located just opposite to the famous Meenakshi Temple, this shopping complex is home to the rows of tailors and stalls who sell wide range of countless varieties of fabric, scarves, jewellery, fashion accessories, handicrafts and art work. You can buy any such stuff that becomes a perfect souvenir that you visited Madurai. Almost all tourists visiting Madurai ensure exploring this market to buy high quality modern clothes, including decent replicas. Foreigners frequently visit this market to buy clothes which they take back to their respective countries as the memories to keep. So, make sure that you include it in your itinerary as it is one of the fun things to do in Madurai.
Location: E Chitrai St, Chinnakadai Area, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 2-3 hours
3. Saint Mary’s Cathedral: Spend Some Time Praying
People from different religious views and faiths often attend to the prayers at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church in the Madurai city of Tamil Nadu in India which is often denoted with its religious harmony. Popularly known with the name Church of Our Lady of Dolours, the Saint Mary’s Cathedral Church is one of the most popular and visited churches in Tamil Nadu. Constructed in the year 1841 by the New Madurai Mission, this church was later expanded to accommodate large gathering of people that comprised of domestic and international tourists. Notable attraction of this church is the magnificent architecture which features the two tall bell towers. Its stunning stained-glass work appeals to all and so is it a perfect amalgamation of the Roman, European and several other architectural styles.
Location: E Veli St, Mahalipatti, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 1-2 hours
4. Thirumalai Nayak Palace: A Must-Visit Place
Built in the 17th century, Thirumalai Nayak Palace is one of the most visited places in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu state of India. This palace had been built by the then King Tirumala Nayaka who had remained an influential king of the Madurai’s Nayaka Dynasty. Made of the Dravidian and Islamic architecture, this place is worth admiring and exploring while it comes to exploring a Madurai tour today. Besides offering enough avenues to the history lovers to digress into the past era, this palace also keeps the common tourists hooked to visit to enjoy the sound and light shows. Such shows are conducted every evening at the palace to showcase the glimpse of the past era. The palace maintains peaceful and calm surroundings. It is one more reason for the tourist to gather and feel the tranquility here thus enjoy the Madurai tour to the best.
Location: Palace Rd, Mahal Area, Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 3-4 hours
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5. Jain Caves: Get Ready For A Hike
If you are the one willing to explore the Jain sculptures and are looking for adventurous things to do in Madurai, then you must consider a hike between the Samanar Hills to the Jain caves for an experience to keep for the whole life. In the midway, there is a Keelakuyilkudi village, which is popular for its collection of the painted mud horses and Jain sculptures. Tourists stop by the village as they can easily encounter the mud horses in the surrounding of the village’s picturesque Karuppasamy Temple.
Such beautifully decorated mud horses are donated by the potters from Vilachery to the villagers for their village festivals that take place every year. Apart from ancient rock-cut sculptures of Jain deities, a tour to this region lets you to come across a panoramic view over the countryside.
Location: Nethaji St, Thiruparankundram, Tamil Nadu 625005
Time required: 3-4 hours
6. Banana Market: Unravel The Mysterious Place
Are you one of those who love eating bananas? If your answer is in affirmation, then you must plan a tour to the Banana Market in Madurai and unravel how this market remains unique. This wholesale banana market offers you approximately 16 varieties of bananas. Therefore, it receives the attention of the tourists as much as the banana traders. Being one of the main tourist attractions of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, you will be urged in this market to buy variety of bananas. Tourists always spot the workers unloading several dozens of banana branches and selling them in the market. You can directly purchase bananas to enjoy their deliciousness.
Location: Swami, No. 4/1, East Swami Shanthi Street, Near Amma Store, East, Shanthi St, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Time required: 2-3 hours
7. Gandhi Memorial Museum: Gain More Knowledge
Located at the Nayak Queen Rani Mangammal, this famous Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the select few museums in India which is exclusively dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. This museum comprises of several items that were used by him such as his shawl, spectacles, yarn, and the blood-stained dhoti (loincloth). He was wearing those clothes while he had been assassinated in Delhi in 1948. Entry to this museum is free for all.
Location: Collector Office Rd, Tamukkam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625020
Time required: 1-2 hours
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8. Thiruparankundram: Explore The Abode Of Lord Murugan
If you love exploring Indian monuments, then you must plan Thiruparankundram visit which is a notable landmark in Madurai. It receives large chunk of tourists who are both domestic and international travellers. The Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Murugan that is known as a handsome son of the Lord Shiva. Due to being having the deity of the one of the favourite Gods which Tamils worship, this temple in Madurai receives devotees and pilgrims in large numbers every day and throughout the year.
You can also explore a 14th century grave shrine of the Islamic saint Hazrat Sultan Sikandhar Badhusha nearby it. It is an indication of the best religious harmony preserved to showcase the secular values enshrined in the Indian societies which reflects from this place in Madurai.
Time required: 1 day
9. South Indian Food: Treat Your Taste Buds
The city of Madurai is popular for several South Indian food ventures from the rich South Indian cuisines. If you are a food lover and want to taste best of the South Indian food in town, you should consider the renowned Murugan Idli Shop. It is famous among the locals as well as international tourists. Besides the simple and delicious taste of recipes cooked here, this restaurant maintains extreme level of hygiene. That is perhaps one of the primary reasons that this restaurant is always flocked by the food lovers. The famous recipes like Idli and Dosa are the must taste items in this restaurant. Such recipes are served to the food lovers with special blend of spicy chutney powders.
10. Vaigai Dam: Witness The Blend Of Natural & Man-Made Marvels
Sitting over the River Vaigai is a dam that acts as a major highlight for the panoramic landscape that this spot has to offer. This dam is often visited when travelers are visiting the Periyar Natioanl Park and is among the best places to visit in Madurai. This massive dam has slowly emerged as a popular tourist destination among travelers that are inclined towards admiring the beauty of architectural marvels. This is among the popular picnic spots visited by numerous families. One should not miss out on the soft sunrise that leaves the jaws dropped. The dam is surrounded by a lush garden that exhibits several shades of green and is named Little Brindavan. The picturesque hills for a perfect backdrop for one to soak in the alluring beauty.
Location: Guest House Rd, Melmangalam, Tamil Nadu 625562
Time required: 3-4 hours
11. Alagar Kovil: Embrace The Essence Of Spirituality
This town is famed for its essence of spirituality that is spread all around because of all the temples in Madurai. Alagar Koil is one of the must visit temples in this city of the southern country and a temple visit will probably always be the answer to what to in Madurai. Appealing to a majority of Hindu pilgrims from various corners of the country, this town is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The idol of the Lord is made entirely out of stone and its magnificence leaves one in awe. Unlike other temples, one can witness various statues of Lord Vishnu in different postures under a single roof. Apart from being a significant spot for religious blessings, this temple is also famous for its spellbinding architecture. The stupendous halls are massive and a treat for the eyes.
Location: Madurai – Dindigul Main Road,Paravai, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625402
Time required: 5-6 hours
12. Athisayam: Satiate Your Inner Child
The weather in Madurai can get really humid really soon. Sometimes, this can be a hindrance to your plans. But fret not for Madurai is a destination that ensures that your trip to the southern region of the country is one of its kind. Athisayam is a massive water park that offers the perfect opportunity for you to enjoy the city as well as beat the heat at the same time. Sitting on Dindigul National Highway, this water cum amusement park is a great spot for you to enjoy with your family and embrace your inner child at the same time. The park is spread around 70 acres of land and has a 7D theatre, a recreation garden, and an eatery that offers an absolute experience. There are plenty of things to do in Madurai for every kind of traveler.
13. Meghamalai: Lose Yourself In Nature’s Beauty
Meghamalai is one of the destinations in Madurai that is immensely blessed by the wonders of mother nature. From sprawling grasslands to aromatic coffee plantations, from lush green wildlife sanctuaries to magical waterfalls, Meghamalai is a destination that is paradisiacal for all the nature lovers out there. Being a huge part of the Western Ghats, this destination is a great spot to witness the wild roaming around their habitats, spectate the ferocious waterfalls gushing down, soak in the beauty of sunsets from various viewpoints, seek blessings at various temples, and stroll around the plantations of cinnamon, coffee, tea, and cardamom. It surely has countless things to do in Madurai.
Location: Tamil Nadu
Time required: 1 day
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14. Chithirai Festival: Be A Part Of Its Colorful Culture
If your idea of a vacation is to be a part of the culture and traditions of a city, then you should definitely attend the Chithirai Festival in Madurai. It is one of the best things to in Madurai. The celebrations of this one festival stretches over a month and one can witness the vibrancy of this town at its best. There are millions and millions of locals and tourists that gather to celebrate the festival. This festival is celebrated to revisit the legends of the deities of southern India. One can be a part of a caricatured ceremony that takes place in the honor of goddess Meenakshi followed by the celebration of her marriage. You can also get a chance to hear the unforgettable tales of goddess Meenakshi and that of Lord Alagar.
Time required: 3-4 hours
Apart from the above mentioned things to do in Madurai, there are countless historic places to visit. Don’t forget to make plans to this beautiful city for a great Madurai trip. Several hotels facilitate affordable accommodation to guests and offer exceptional services. Madurai welcomes visitors of all budgets. With its ancient monuments, vibrant markets and pleasant atmosphere, this city is worth exploring during your vacation.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Madurai
What is the best time to visit Madurai?
Although Madurai can be visited throughout the year but planning a tour between October to March remains a perfect option. Madurai is best visited by tourists during the winter season because during the summers it has hot and dry climatic conditions.
Do I need to carry baby food to Madurai?
Yes, if you are traveling with babies or toddlers then better you carry such stuffs. It will save your time for searching the specific food for your loved ones. Thus, you won’t worry about what food your baby will have during the trip.
What to do at night in Madurai?
Madurai remains busy round the clock thus during any time of the day or night. You can explore delicious food and entertainment avenues while strolling. Markets remain vibrant throughout the night therefore explore them with friends and family members.
How to Reach Madurai?
Madurai can be reached round the year through Railways, Roadways and by the Airways network connecting it to global destinations. By Air, you can reach to Madurai Airport from anywhere in the country. It is just 10 km away from the main city area. This airport is well connected to all major cities of India. Nearest international airport Chennai happens to be the largest metropolitan city in Tamil Nadu. It remains well connected to the worldwide destinations.
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