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Visiting Madurai, a City That Never Sleeps

Updated on April 17, 2018
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Srikanth has visited Tamil Nadu many times. He likes this Indian state. He enjoys helping people make the most of their trip to Tamil Nadu.

South Gopuram of the Meenakshi Amman Temple

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Located on the banks of Vaigai river, Madurai is a major tourist destination in Tamil Nadu. It is built around the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is known as the "Athens of the East". This ancient city has been a major settlement for over two millennia.

Madurai is a blend of the ancient and modern. It is well-known for its historical monuments and for its automobile, rubber, chemical and granite manufacturing units.

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History

People have been living in Madurai since 3rd century BCE. Its history dates back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. It was the capital of the Pandyan Kingdom.

Legend has it that Madurai was a forest known as Kadambavanam. Once a merchant passing through the forest saw Indran, the king of gods worshipping a Swayambhulingam under a Kadam tree. He reported what he saw to King Kulsekarer Pandayan.

The king cleared the forest and built a beautiful temple, which is today known as the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarer Temple, around the holy Lingam. Later on he built a beautiful lotus-shaped city surrounding the temple. This city is Madurai. The city flourished in 10th century CE.

Later, the city came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, but the Madurai Sultanate was run as an independent kingdom. In 1378 CE, the Vijayanagara empire annexed the city.

In 1559 CE, Madurai gained independence from the Vijayanagara empire and was ruled by the Nayaks. Later on, it was captured by Chanda Sahib Arcot Nawab and Muhammed Yusuf Khan. In 1801, the British East India Company took over the region.

During the freedom struggle, Gandhiji first adopted the loin cloth as his attire in Madurai.

How to reach Madurai?

Even Madurai has an international airport, it is not a major airport. It handles around 850,000 passengers annually. This busy city is well-connected by road and rail. Madurai Junction is the main railway station in Madurai, which has seven railway stations. Four highways pass through the city. Madurai has three bus stations.

Hotels in Madurai

5 Star Hotel
4 Star Hotel
3 Star Hotel
2 Star Hotel
1 Star Hotel
Heritage Madurai
The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai
Star Residency
Madurai Residency
Hotel Templecity Dreamz Inn
 
Poppys Hotel
Hotel Royal Court
Hotel Park Plaza
 
 
Hotel The Nook
The SPK Hotel
Hotel Kathir Palace
 

Places to visit in Madurai

More than 9 million people visit Madurai every year. Here are some popular tourist attractions in Madurai.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

This historic Hindu temple is dedicated to goddess Parvati, who is also known as Meenakshi, and Lord Sundareswarar (another name of Lord Shiva). The temple complex, which covers around 45 acres, has 12 gopurams(towers). All towers are sculptured and painted.

The Aayiram Kaal Mandapam (which means a hall of 1000 pillars), which is a part of this temple, is a unique monument that was built in the year 1579. The actual thousand pillars are no longer accessible to the general public because they have deteriorated over the centuries.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Meenakshi Amman Temple Timings

Pooja Name
Time
Thiruvanandal Pooja
05.00 am – 06.00 am
Vizha Pooja
06.30 am – 07.15 am
Kalasandhi Pooja
06.30 am – 07.15 am
Thrikalasandhi Pooja
10.30 am – 11.15 am
Uchikkala Pooja (Noon Pooja)
10.30 am – 11.15 am
Maalai Pooja
04.30 pm – 05.15 pm
Ardhajama Pooja (Night Pooja)
07.30 pm – 08.15 pm
Palliarai Pooja
09.30 pm – 10.00 pm

Gandhi Memorial Museum

Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the five Gandhi Sangrahalayas in India. The building that houses the museum was constructed in 1670 during the reign of the Nayak Dynasty. Here you will find a visual biography of Mahatma Gandhi, illustrations that depict the history of the freedom movement, some of his personal belongings, handicrafts and much more.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Trivia

The museum has a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in 1948.

Kallazhagar Temple

Located in Alagar Koyil, around 21 kilometers from Madurai, this Vishnu temple is in Dravidian architecture. The temple is in a picturesque locale and is surrounded by two forts.

Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple

Located on a hilltop around 25 kilometers from Madurai, this temple is also known as the Solamalai Murugan Temple. It is believed to be the last of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. This temple is surrounded by dense forests. It is the only temple among the Aaru Padai Veedu (means six warhouses) temples, where Lord Muruga can be found along with both his consorts Valli and Deivanai.

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal

This 17th-century place was built by Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty, with the help of an Italian architect. It is a blend of Dravidian and Islamic styles of architecture. It houses an auditorium, royal residence, rooms, sanctuary, palanquin place, armory, royal bandstand, garden and pool. The original palace complex was four times bigger than the present structure.

Trivia

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal was the living palace of the Nayak kings of Tamil Nadu.

Climate

 
 
Climate
Tropical
Köppen and Geiger classification
Aw
Average annual temperature
28.8 °C
Average rainfall
840 mm
Driest month
February
Wettest month
October

10 Famous People from Madurai

 
 
Rani Mangammal
Popular administrator of the 17th century
Bodhisena
Buddhist scholar and monk
Ganapathy Baskaran
Theoretical physicist
Anita Ratnam
Indian classical and contemporary dancer.
Sundar Pichai
CEO of Google Inc.
M.V. Muthuramalingam
Founder & Chairman of Velammal Educational Trust
Chitra Bharucha
Former Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust
Narayanan Krishnan
Chef-turned-social worker
S. Venkatesan
Writer
T. M. Soundararajan
Singer

© 2017 Srikanth R

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