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Home >> Destination Guide India > Madurai




Madurai was the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India. Madurai has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage, for centuries. Legend has it, that the divine nectar falling from Lord Shiva's locks, gave the city its name - Madhurapuri, now known as Madurai.

Madurai is a place where people ofen tend to visit. There are many places with national importance. It is also known as temple city. Madurai is situated on the banks of Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu, a southern Indian state. It is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu and has a population in excess of 1.1 million. It is well known for the Meenakshi temple situated at the heart of the town which attracts tourists as well as pilgrims. Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old, and has been an important commercial centre even as early as 550 AD.


Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

The Madurai Meenakshi Temple is located just one kilometer from Meenakashi Templethe bus stand in the city of Madurai. Meenakshi is the residing deity in the temple. Kulasekara Pandya was the king who was the one who constructed the temple. But it is said that the temple developed in the reign of the Nayaks. It was in the 16th to the 18th century when the temple was built to what is now called as the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Today the towers of the number that number to about 12 are the landmarks in the city. They are the;

1. East Tower – The east tower has height of 161'3". There are about 1011 sudhai figures in the Gopura.
2. South Tower – The south tower has height of 170'6". There are about 1511 sudhai figures in the Gopura.
3. West Tower – The west tower height is 163'3" with about 1124 sudhai figures in the Gopura.
4. North Tower – The north tower height is 160'6" with less number of sudhai figures than the other towers.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace

The Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal is one of the important tourist attractions in Madurai situated very near to the temple. It was built by the King in the year 1636. An Italian architect built the palace for the king. The king and family resided in the palace. The Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa are the two parts in the palace. There are various other places in the palace where the tourists are allowed to go.

The tourist can visit the palace for an entrance fee. It is said that during the British rule in India , the place was used for administrative purposes. Now the Archaeological Department of the country has declared the palace as a national monument and now the palaces has been renovated and open for public. In the evenings, the Light and sound show takes place in the palace in which the life history of the king and rule in Madurai is being told with sound and light effects.

Gandhi Museum

Madurai stands as the living monument of the “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Memorial Trust came into existence after the assassination of Gandhi in the year 1948Gandhi Museum, through funds raised by public contribution. The trust allocated a huge amount to set up Gandhi Memorial Museums in seven places in the country associated with the life of Gandhi.

Madurai was selected as one among the seven places for setting up the memorial as several important decisions were made by Gandhi during his visit to Madurai. It was during his visit to Madurai in the year 1921, he made up his mind to wear a small towel like dhothi around the waist as his dress after seeing the poor people dressed in scarce clothes. He was mentally agitated and took up a firm decision to give up his rich dressing pattern. Still, one can find a firm proof at the residence where Gandhi started his simple mode of dressing. Also Gandhi visited Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple in the year 1946 when Harijans were allowed for the first time into the temple

Azhagar Kovil

About 21 kms from the city of Madurai is situated the beautiful temple Azhagar Kovilof Azhagar Koil . It is a temple that has the residing deity as Vishnu. The Lord here is known by the name Azhagar. He is the brother of Goddess Meenakshi and when the wedding of the Lord and Goddess takes place in the month of Chithrai, Azhagar travels from here to Madurai to witness the wedding of the Lord.

One of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya, Palamudhirsolai is situated above Azhagar Koil in the hills about 4 kms away. At the top of the hill is situated the natural spring Nuburagangai where the pilgrims take bath.


» Air : Madurai is well connected by air to and from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

» Rail : Madurai is well connected by trains to and from Chennai.

» Road : Madurai is connected by roads to Chennai (472 kms) Madras (472 kms), Trichy (142 kms), Rameshwaram (139 kms), Kanyakumari (232 kms), Bangalore (446kms) and Bombay (1454 kms).



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