Visiting Madurai, a City That Never Sleeps
South Gopuram of the Meenakshi Amman Temple
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.
Have you been to Madurai?
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
The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai
Hotel Templecity Dreamz Inn
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.
Meenakshi Amman Temple Timings
05.00 am – 06.00 am
06.30 am – 07.15 am
06.30 am – 07.15 am
10.30 am – 11.15 am
Uchikkala Pooja (Noon Pooja)
10.30 am – 11.15 am
04.30 pm – 05.15 pm
Ardhajama Pooja (Night Pooja)
07.30 pm – 08.15 pm
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.
The museum has a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse in 1948.
Gandhi Museum Madurai Timings
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.
Kallazhagar Temple Timings
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.
Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple Timing
Open between 5.30 am and 1.00 pm, and between
4.00 pm and 9.00 pm, on all days of the week.
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.
Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal was the living palace of the Nayak kings of Tamil Nadu.
Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal Timings
General visit: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Lunch Break: 01.00 pm to 01.30 pm.
Sound & Light Show: 6.45 pm to 7.35 pm in English;
8.00 pm to 8.50 pm in Tamil.
Köppen and Geiger classification
Average annual temperature
10 Famous People from Madurai
Popular administrator of the 17th century
Buddhist scholar and monk
Indian classical and contemporary dancer.
CEO of Google Inc.
Founder & Chairman of Velammal Educational Trust
Former Vice Chairman of the BBC Trust
T. M. Soundararajan
© 2017 Srikanth R