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Best Time: Oct-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Nearest Airport: Madurai Check Flights

"The Lotus City"

Madurai Tourism

Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of India. Ruled by Pandya kings for the longest time in its history, it is called as the 'Lotus City' as it was planned and built in the shape of a lotus.

Madurai is known for Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar. There are many other ancient temples in Madurai, including Thiruparankundram. It is one of the important old temples dedicated to Lord Muruga(Karthikeya) and is located on a hillock approximately 8 km from the city.

Having trade ties with ancient Rome, the place holds a great cultural heritage. With bustling bazaars and fantastic street food, Madurai has heritage walks conducted throughout the day.

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. Madurai is instrumental in promoting Tamil language and preserving the culture.

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Madurai - The Temple City

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.

History of Madurai

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’.

Architecture of Madurai

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.

Restaurants and Local Food in Madurai

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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Suggested Itinerary

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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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.

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 like Chennai , Bangalore, Mumbai , and Delhi. The city is also well connected by buses to all major cities in Tamil Nadu via state government operated and private buses. Buses also commute from important cities in the neighboring states of Kerala and Karnataka(Bangalore, Mysore). One can choose between A/C and non A/C semi luxury buses.

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Madurai Reviews

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Ayush Baheti 1 year ago
- 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.
Yoghi Rajendran 1 year ago
Temple city?? Best travel through own vehicles... culture City Must taste coffee... ??
Lakshmanan Krishna 6 months ago
I was living in Madurai. Moved out of Madurai some decades ago. It gives me great pleasure to view such beautiful pictures. Thanks for the persons who added the photos to this review
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