Madurai, the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, is one of the oldest inhabited cities of India. Ruled by Pandya kings for the longest time in its history, it is also referred to as the Lotus City; as it was planned and built in the shape of a lotus.
Madurai is known for various reasons, one such reason is the Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar. Apart from this temple, there are many other ancient temples in Madurai as well like Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple - it is one of the oldest 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.
Best Time to Visit Madurai
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. The best time to visit Madurai is between the months of October and March.
History of Madurai
The glorious past of Madurai dates back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. This was the time when the famous Megasthenes had visited the place in the 3rd century BC. If we go by the Sangam literature, then, this was the geographical region which used to be the capital of the Pandyan dynasty.
Even several historians from Rome such as Ptolemy, Pliny and the Younger Greek geographer Strabo have also mentioned this place in their respective works.
As the Sangam age ended, Madurai saw Kalabhra dynasty take over and were defeated by Pandyas around 590 CE who was overthrown by the Chola dynasty in the 9th century.
By 1800, Madurai had come under the regime of East India Company which had sparked the independence movement to start in the region.
Major Attractions in and Around Madurai
1. Meenakshi Temple
Sited on the southern banks of Vaigai River, the Meenakshi Amman temple is filled with historical profundities. It is believed to have been built between 1623 and 1655. The stronghold footing and charm of this temple are such that even today, it holds a certain grandeur about it. You are sure to fall in love with this incredible place.
2. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal
Established in 1636 AD, this palace depicts the perfect concoction of Dravidian and Rajput architectural styles. And since the independence of India, the palace was declared as a national monument and until now continues to be an incredible travel getaway.
3. Alagar Koil
This is yet another example of remarkable Hindu temples where several devotees of Lord Vishnu gather to offer their prayers. This temple is situated in the Alagar Hills and many people also refer to it as Azhagarkovil. In the temple, you will find a lot of statues of various deities. Visiting here can be a humbling experience.
How to Reach Madurai
Madurai is an incredible tourist destination filled with lots of exciting travel experiences. To reach here you will need to cover a total distance of about 2,612, 1,436, 2,154, 436 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Check out the details on how you can reach here by the following means of public transport.
If you are planning on travelling to Madurai by plane, then, deboard at Madurai Airport (IXM). Established in 1957, the airport is responsible for serving Madurai along with its nearby regions and districts. Spanning PAN India, the airport is considered as the 32nd busiest airport of Tamil Nadu. Many prominent carriers operate to and fro this airport with good flight connectivity. Once off the airport, you will need to book a taxi or avail some other means of transport to reach your destination.
From Guwahati - Board Spicejet, IndiGo flights from Guwahati Airport. The airfares start from INR 5,000 - INR 6,000
From Coimbatore - Board AirIndia, IndiGo, Spicejet flights from Coimbatore Airport. The airfares start from INR 6,000 - INR 7,000
From Bengaluru - Board IndiGo, Spicejet flights from Bengaluru Airport. The airfares start from INR 3,000 - INR 4,000
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Madurai
If you are planning on visiting Madurai via train then you can consider deboarding at either of the stations - Madurai Junction (MDU), Kudalnagar (KON), or Tirupparangundram (TDN). Out of all these, Madurai Junction is considered to be one of the major railway stations serving the city along with its nearby regions. Falling under the south railway zone, this station also acts as the headquarters for the Madurai Railway Division. Once getting off the train, you can easily take a taxi or some other means of local transportation option.
Travelling to Madurai via roadways can be an exciting opportunity. Especially, when you are with your friends. The roads connecting Madurai with other cities and districts are smooth and easily accessible thus a long drive will only help you make a lot of cherished memories. You can book private or state buses to reach here, otherwise, you can also travel via a taxi or self-drive here.
Q. What are the top tourist attractions in Madurai?
A. The top tourist attractions in Madurai include the Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Alagar Koil, and Pazhamudhir Solai.