If you want to delve deep into the religious and cultural cornucopia of India, then Madurai is your one-stop destination. One of the oldest existing Indian cities, Madurai is wadded with several awe-inspiring structures that overruns with rich historical legacy. Almost every lane in this temple city is dotted with age-old shrines that forever bustle with localites and devotees. Although there are tons of temples to espy here, the first thing that catches your attention is the beauty and the divinity of the Meenakshi Temple. In fact, the city is almost synonymous to this temple, which is deemed as its most coveted heritage. Besides this, there are other must-see attractions like the Gandhi Museum, Athisayam and Thirumalai Nayak Palace. Other than sightseeing, a tourist can also explore the traditional Madurai cuisine, gulp down the famous Jigarthanda drink and finally buy some authentic cotton Sungidi Sarees and Tanjore paintings. Never mind if you are an ardent Hindu or not, there are lots to explore and do in Madurai if you are only game for it. To know more about Madurai and its noted tourist attractions, go through the writing below
Tourist Attractions In Madurai
Sri Meenakshi Temple
Madurai's pride, Sri Meenakshi Temple is one of the most revered sites in India. This magnificent temple constructed in the 17th century is spread across a total area of 6 hectares. Although the complex has many attractions, the most fascinating features are its 12 decorative 'gopurams' and the 1000-pillared hall. Dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshvara, the Meenakshi temple is a must-visit on every traveler's itinerary list. Allot a complete day to explore the pilgrimage site that is remarkable for its structure and architecture. Since the place tends to be packed with devotees all the while, the ideal time to visit it is probably either in early mornings or late evenings.
Gandhi Museum is another important landmark in Madurai. Set up by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, the museum gives tourists a deep insight into the life led by the legendary national leader, Mahatma Gandhi. While in the museum, check out the personal belongings of Gandhi including the dhoti smeared with blood, which he wore during the time of his assassination in Delhi. Besides that, you can also check out the picture gallery, which houses paintings, photographs and some photostat copies of Gandhiji's letters. There is an open-air theatre nearby the museum that conducts cultural programs and meetings during special occasions. Visitors are allowed to take pictures and videos but need to shell out extra Rs. 50/-.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace
Thirumalai Nayak Palace that is thrown open to the visitors from 9 am to 5 pm is located about 1.5 km away from the famous Meenakshi temple. Swarga Vilasam, a rectangular courtyard surrounded by pillars is spectacular and visually appealing. Don't forget to check out the dance hall and the main hall that has an impressive structural system. In Every evening, the brilliant sound and light show draws scores of local people and tourists. The shows are available in both Tamil and English versions.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, situated 5 km off Meenakshi Amman Temple, is one of the popular attractions in Madurai. The tourism spot comprises of a huge tank and a Vinayaka temple right in the middle of the reservoir. Though visitors throng the place all through the year, it is especially in the month of Thai (Jan/ Feb) when the religious pilgrims from all over India pour out in huge numbers. During Thai, the renowned float festival is organized to mark the birthday of King Thirumalai Nayak, the man who built Mariamman Teppakulam.
Thirupparankundram temple holds a special significance among the Hindus. Set atop the hill, the walls of the temple are inscribed with images of Hindu deities. There are innumerable shrines within the temple and outside the entrance. Located 8 km off Madurai, Thirupparankundram temple is definitely worth a visit. On Fridays, if you stop over here, you can find women decorating the ground with rangoli patterns and placing candles in front of deities.
If you are tired of visiting the shrines in Madurai, then hitting Athisayam is the best option. This water themed park, located 15 km off the main city, is an ideal getaway destination and a good place to hang around with family and friends. Here, you can enjoy a wide range of water rides and play other fun games.