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Madurai

3.7 / 5 110 votes

Weather:

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best time: Oct-Mar (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Madurai (Check Flights)

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"The Lotus City"

Madurai Tourism

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India located in Tamil Nadu. It was ruled by Pandya kings for the longest time in its history and is constructed in the form of a lotus.

Madurai is considered to be the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. The place has a great cultural heritage and strong mythological history to be passed on to the coming generations. The reason most people visit the city is the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar. Thiruparankundram is one of the important old temples dedicated to Lord Muruga(Karthikeya) and is located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city. Gandhi Museum houses Gandhi's bloodstained dhoti and some other artefacts. The city is known for its lively and bustling markets. Shopping here is fun and affordable. Another thing Madurai is popular for its amazing street food. Heritage walks are conducted throughout the day. Those who wish to know more about the freedom struggle, though, will be interested in the extensive text housed here. Tamil speakers and long-term visitors may be interested in the classes and workshops offered in subjects as diverse as t'ai chi and local herbs.

Hotels in Madurai

Top Hotels in Madurai

  • Treebo Trip Balini

    INR 1,296 /night onwards

  • Courtyard by Marriott Madurai

    INR 4,675 /night onwards

  • The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai

    INR 4,500 /night onwards


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The city has more than 10 major temples and over 20 smaller ones. Ideal for a pilgrimage. Temples built in different dynasties like the Cholas, Pandyas and Nayaks are found here. The Meenakshi Amman temple is the most famous one. Not only are they spiritual centres, they are examples of magnificent architecture.

The city of Madurai is engraved with a glorious history which dates back to the Sangam period of pre - Christian era, a time when Megasthenes visited the place in 3rd century BC. A swift fragrance of restoration surrounds the air of this present day trading centre, glorifying its demolished structures. According to Sangam literature, this place used to be the capital of Pandyan dynasty. Roman historians Ptolemy, Pliny the Younger and Greek geographer Strabo have mentioned this place in their respective works. The end of Sangam age brought Madurai under the rule of Kalabhra dynasty who were defeated by Pandyas around 590 CE who was overthrown by Chola dynasty in the 9th century. In 1378 CE the city came under the ruling of Vijayanagara and became independent in 1559 CE under the Nayaks. In 1801, the city was under the regime of East India Company which caused the independence movement to start in the region. Mahatma Gandhi led the freedom march in Madurai and is said to have adopted his loin clothing starting from this city.

The city derived its name from the word Marutham which alludes to the type of landscape in Sangam age. It is also known by various other names such as "Koodal" which means an assembly of scholarly people, "Naanmadakoodal" for the four major temples the city is surrounded by "Thiru Alavai", a name used by three prominent Narayana's who inscribed compositions on Shiva. The word ‘Matiray’ has also been used in several documentations which refers to an old Tamil word meaning ‘walled city’.

Built around the central location of Meenakshi Amman Temple, the city imparts aesthetics of architecture in all its establishments. In Tamil Classic records, the temple is portrayed as the central formation of a lotus where the concrete roads connecting the rest of the city are denoted as its petal. One can observe the detailed structural design in many of its buildings, pilgrims, temples and community halls which were developed during the colonial era. An aerial view of the city shows the quadrangular streets emerging from the temple boundary, dividing the city into several square-shaped regions. Each of these squares retains their traditional name of Aadi, Chittirai, Avani-moola and Masi corresponding to the Tamil names of months and festivals associated with it. The 19th-century urbanisation is evident in the colonial buildings, fringe streets and random scribblings or marks made all over the city as a mark of its history.

Madurai is often referred to as the food capital of Tamil Nadu, given the huge variety in styles, cuisines, genres and sizes that it offers. In Madurai, you can taste the most authentic of traditional delicacies as well as indulge in fast food, Bengali, Italian, Chinese and North-Indian cuisines. Also, the food is lip smacking all though its streets to the elaborate restaurants.
The local delicacies include Paruthi paal, jigarthanda, panangkarkandu paal and chettinadu varieties like appam, kuzhi paniyaram, etc. as well as beverages like Paruthi, Jigarthanda as well as the popular Filter coffee . Other than these, find local favorites from all over Bengal Fish curry, Pizzas, Chaats, Fish and Chips, Gulab Jamuns, Samosas, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken and lots more.

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Day 1 - Reach Madurai by morning - noon. Have authentic South Indian breakfast/lunch . Visit the Thirumalai Nayakar Palace in the evening. Do try out the immensely popular Jigarthanda, which is a South Indian version of falooda.
Day 2 - Visit the Koodal Alagar temple, St.Mary's Cathedral and other major places of worship. Have a South Indian thali meal for lunch. Visit the Meenakshi Amman temple in the afternoon. All temples are extremely crowded during the weekends. Try the delicious kothu parotta for dinner.
Day 3 - Try to visit Pazhamudhircholai ( one of the 6 abodes of Lord Muruga ) if possible. Check out the Vaigai Dam. Experience the evening market in the city.

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Madurai Reviews

10 months ago by Ayush Baheti

- When visiting temples or museums, beware of guides, many of whom are or claim to be tailors, who offer to take you to vantage points outside the temple to get a better view.

10 months ago by Yoghi Rajendran

Temple city?? Best travel through own vehicles... culture City Must taste coffee... ??

10 months ago by gayetri subba

A must place to visit if you are near my Madurai...temple is located in the heart of the city, darshan timings are from 0430 to 1230 hrs then 1630 to 2130 hrs, you are not allowed to take your shoes n mobiles n cameras which you can submit outside the temple counter after paying some minimum fee which is safe. No dress code as such. For Darshana, there are three queues... ordinary, rupees 50 and rupees 100.

Review for Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai



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Holidify's Opinion

  What's Great?

Breath-taking temples and monuments. Scrumptious cuisine . The locals are extremely helpful and hospitable.

  What's not so Great?

The public transport system is unreliable. Language may prove to be a barrier as the locals do not speak Hindi and rarely speak English.

For Whom

Those want to go on a pilgrimage, people interested in architecture and foodies.

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How to Reach Madurai

Main modes of transport for travelers are by air and by train. Madurai has a domestic airport which has daily flights to Madras.Madurai is also well connected by trains to major cities of India lik... (Read More)

Latest questions by travellers on Madurai

Answer: The best time to visit Madurai is during October-March.


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