Madurai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This 3,500 year old city has been a major centre for Tamil art and culture. Also known as Athens Of The East, Madurai is famous for its beautiful temples. Madurai is well connected to other parts of India via rail, road, and air. Madurai Airport is located at a distance of 12.5 km from the city centre. Many major cities in India have direct trains to Madurai Junction, the city’s primary railway station. However, if you wish to travel by road, you can reach Madurai via National Highway 7, NH 45B, NH 208, or NH 49.
Major Attractions :
● Meenakshi Amman Temple: This is the most significant landmark of Madurai and the whole city is built around the temple. Spread across an area of 15 acres, the beautiful temple has 4500 pillars, 12 towers, and 33,000 sculptures. Visit during the month of April to be a part of the annual 10-day long Meenakshi Thirukalyanam* festival.
● Koodal Azhagar Temple: This temple is located close to Meenakshi Amman Temple. Koodal Azhagar is an ancient temple, which is famous for its three-tier construction.
● Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This magnificent palace was built in the 17th century by King Thirumalai Nayak. The colossal structure has a blend of Dravidian and Islamic architecture. In the evening, you can enjoy a light and sound show depicting the history of the palace.
● Gandhi Memorial Museum: Established in the year 1959, this museum was built in the memory of the Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi. The museum houses some letters written by Gandhi and a part of his blood-stained garment which he was wearing during his assassination.
● Vandiyur Mariamman Temple: It is located at a distance of 3.7 km from Meenakshi Amman Temple. Visit during the month of January and February to observe the colourful float festival.
When To Visit :
The most ideal time to visit Madurai is during the winter season which lies between October and March. A lot of festivities take place at this time of the year and the weather is quite pleasant. Madurai can get hot during the summer season which is from April to June. But, the city receives a lot of rainfall throughout the year, which gives some respite from the heat.
Indian Terms Explained :
Meenakshi Thirukalyanam: Marriage of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Shiva.