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A glimpse into one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world

The best tourist attractions to visit for a trip back in time 

Madurai is known as the ‘Lotus City of India’. The bustling city is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu. Also known as the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, the city is known for its numerous temples and places of religious sanctity indeed. Why do you think it is called the ‘Lotus City of India?’ It was planned and built taking the shape of a lotus indeed. Madurai is known for its world-famous Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Thousands of pilgrims across the world flock to the temple to invoke the blessings of the Goddess. The architectural splendor of the temple also lends devotees to a breathtaking experience. You get fluffy idlis, hot vadas, and a drink known as Jigar Thanda across street outlets of the city. Likewise, Madurai tourist places, look astounding and blissful. Come on, let us explore the intricate aspects the city of Madurai offers its tourists on the whole:

Culture

This is one of the oldest cities that was continuously inhabited in India. This was the city that was ruled by the brave Pandya kings across centuries. Or at least over the longest time in the history of the city's inception. You, therefore, have the city known for its cultural diversity while maintaining the traditional roots intact. Take architectural majesty, cultural traditions, woven and intricate customs, handicrafts, folk dances, songs, festivals, and ceremonies. The city has it all. The Madurai tourism department showcases all of its culturally rich aspects vividly and vibrantly.

On the other hand, you also discover a cosmopolitan touch, the city has in its whim. You find companies of technological advancements opening their shops within the city premises. You have broad roads with lined-up shops that sell desi and international brands. Madurai is one of the fastest-growing commercial hubs across Southern India. While the people of Madurai follow the latest technology, they still ingrain roots of traditionality. Tamil is the main language spoken here. Most of them follow Hinduism. While Christians, Muslims, and Jains live in equal harmony with one another.

History

The city has rich cultural roots attached to its acclaim. You have the city taking the shape of a lotus. Again, the city was properly built across the banks of the Vaigai River. As early as the 3rd Century BC, the city was ruled by the Pandya Kings. Trade and commerce flourished during this point in time. Up until the 10 Century AD, the city was ruled by the Pandya dynasty generation after generation. The city then came under the influence of Chola Kings. The great epic ‘Silapathigaram’ was written in Tamil literature. The epic is based on the story of Kannagi who attempted to burn Madurai as revenge for the injustice that was meted out to her husband Kovalan.

During the 13th Century, however, the city came under the influence of the Mughal Empire. In 1371, the Vijayanagar dynasty invaded the empire of Madurai. It was Thirumalai Nayagar who pioneered the growth of the city magnificently indeed. He was instrumental in the construction of buildings, temples, and places of a historical caricature. In 1781, the city came under the influence of the British Raj. We eventually achieved our independence from colonial rule on the 15th of August 1947. This way, you get a brief list of the historical significance the place has to offer.

Tourist sight-seeing

The Madurai Tourism department has quite a lot of exotic locales to showcase amongst the tourists or vacationers who come here for their holiday. A look at some of the popular Madurai tourist places or locales will be discussed in detail. Shall we go on a virtual trip down the lane?

Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple

This is the best Madurai tourist spot that can leave tourists or vacationers on a spell-bound note indeed! The Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple is located across the southern banks of the famous Vaigai River. The architectural splendor of the temple can leave you with a breath-taking experience indeed. This was a temple that was built between 1623 and 1655. The palatial premises of the temple, therefore, invoke worldwide acclaim indeed. The temple is primarily dedicated to the worship of Goddess Meenakshi, i.e. Parvati along with her spouse Lord Shiva. The temple complex has been built in accordance with the Shilpa Shastra. You can discover 14 gateway towers or what are known as gopurams. You further discover golden vimanas, religious sanctums, and holy shrines revered to Goddess Meenakshi. Hence, this temple is a must-visit touring hub while you are here in Madurai for the very first time.

Thirumalai Nayagar Mahal

It was already mentioned to you via the introductory paragraphs that Thirumalai Nayagar was instrumental in the construction of pioneering structures and temples across the whole of Madurai. Hence, the Madurai tourism department showcases a palace in honor of the emperor. Again, this is one of the popular tourist places near Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple indeed. The palace was constructed during the year 1636 AD in the city of Madurai. This was done by Emperor Thirumalai Nayak himself. You can also discover the intricate aspects of the Nayak dynasty while you glimpse through the interiors of the palace façade.

Vaigai Dam

Amid the beautiful Madurai tourist places, this hub is something you truly cannot miss out on. The Vaigai Dam is a serene and scenic location that is built across the River Vaigai. The dam is constructed across the Theni district of Madurai. Hence, this is the dam that lies hardly 70 km from Madurai city center. You can also visit the famous Periyar wildlife sanctuary en route to the place. You can arrange picnics or excursions as you have big hills surrounding the reservoir or dam. You can sit by the warm sunrises and sunsets the place offers.

You also have a beautiful garden lined up with an exotic variant of flowers and plants. Plus, you have a play area reserved for kids too. Again, if you look at it, the dam is beautifully lit up with lights during the evenings. Hence, this is a wonderous spot, your kids and family can enjoy with you as such.

Meghamalai

Are you looking for one of the best tourist places near Madurai? Then Meghamalai is a touring spot you surely must head out to. You can find high and wavy mountains of the majestic Western Ghats. The vacation hub can be considered as a hill-top valley too. The place is located at an astounding 1500 meters above sea level. You can therefore find cool and serene weather during monsoons and winters. You can also discover evergreen forests surrounding the place. You can smell the fresh aroma of cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon. The lush green tea plantations can be visually pleasing to the eye. Newlyweds can opt for homestays to look at expanses of flora and fauna apart from having a spree across the lap of Mother Nature. The place is just 85 km from Madurai city-center.

Seminar Hills

Madurai tourist places offer a vivid view of nature while imbibing tradition and glory at their peak. This is yet another pinnacle vacation spot near Madurai worth drooling over. The Samanar Hill complex is otherwise known as Samanar Malai. Originally, this hill complex was constructed for Tamil Jain monks. The hill caves pave way for intricate aspects of tourism while you find rock carvings depicting the drawings of the monks. You have the interiors of the rock carvings that are spectacular to watch. Plus, you find a lotus temple inside the premises. The place is hardly located at a distance of 8 km from the city center.

Gandhi Museum

Amid Madurai tourist places, Gandhi Museum is a hub that can invoke the historical nostalgia in you as such. The Museum was established in the year 1959 in memory of our beloved Father of the Nation. Located in the heart of Madurai, the museum showcases some of the artifacts Gandhi had used during his lifetime. You can also discover the blood-stained cloth was that was donned by Gandhi while he was assassinated during the year 1948.

Koodal Azhagar temple

This is one of the best Madurai tourist places for the pilgrim devotees coming here. The Koodal Azhagar temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu. The architectural splendor of the temple is a mind-blowing one indeed. The temple has been constructed using the Dravidian architectural style indeed. The temple was built by the Pandya kings. Koodal Azhagar is the name given to Vishnu while Goddess Lakshmi is referred to as Mathuravalli. The temple is built with a palatial gopuram along with a beautiful vimanam. This is a must-visit tourist hub indeed.

Mariamman theppakulam

The pilgrimage hub is constructed in the honor of Lord Vigneswaran. This divine temple is just 5 km from the exquisite Meenakshi Amman Temple. You discover a huge tank within the temple premises where water is filled into. The tank or what is called the Pakula is filled to the brim with water, the entire year along. Several pilgrims take their holy dips before entering the premises of the temple. Again, the Madurai tourist places guide holds the temple on a special prominence indeed. Several festivals are conducted via the temple premises year after year. These festivals and rituals are honored by the pilgrims or devotees with pomp and splendor indeed.

Pazhamudhir Solai

This is yet another picturesque spot in Madurai. You have a beautiful temple that is dedicated to the worship of Lord Subramanya. The exquisite temple is designed using the finest variety of wood and marble. Hence the architectural view of the temple evokes an aesthetic feel for tourists or vacationers who plan to pay a visit to the holy temple. You find giant steps on the front side of the temple. It is located on the hills of Azhagar Koil. There is also a fond belief amongst devotees who come here. They believe that their wishes will come true the moment they step on to the peripheral of the temple vicinity. The Madurai tourism team, therefore, places special importance on the maintenance and upkeep of the temple premises.

These are some of the pretty-looking Madurai tourist places for you to drool over. Now, let us move on to the next segment of the travel guide.

Food

You get authentic South Indian dishes once you arrive here at Madurai. You have hot idlis and vadas that are served across hotels in Madurai. Mallige idlis or giant-sized idlis are quite sumptuous breakfast options out here. You get rice Pongal too with hot and spicy chutney cum sambhar. Alongside, you can opt for hot and brewing cups of café. At households, people make sweet Pongal and jaggery-based payasam. Medhu vadas or channa dal vadas are spicier condiments that accompany the sweeter dishes. Rasam, karai kuzhambu, mixed veg sambhar, and rice are daily staples that form a typical South Indian platter across households. Non-vegetarian delicacies like chicken kurma, mutton curry, and era varuval (fish chips) are consumed by the non-vegetarian counterparts out here. Jigar Thanda and ice-creams are cold beverages preferred by localities staying in the city.

Tourist Activities

The touring activities out here in Madurai are vast indeed. You can go to pazhani hills during typical winters to have a cool and serene feel of the climate out there. It was in Mount Pazhani Lord Muruga stood angrily because Vinayaka, his elder brother got the mango and won the bet. Alongside, you can visit Megha malai to get a glimpse of the rolling clouds during the winter months. You can visit Thirupara kundram, Alazhaghar Swamy temple, and the pabulum if you are a religious deity. Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station in closer proximity to Madurai. Hence, newly married couples can cuddle with one another over cups of coffee while rejoicing the beauty of the hill station and vivid mountains that are present at Kodai. The Madurai tourism department organizes homestays with food, room service, sight-seeing, and accommodation for those of you wanting to go to Kodaikanal from Madurai.

Conclusion

You now have a lovely overview of the cultural, regional, and historical aspects Madurai offers to you on the whole. The rave and vantage tourist hubs have also been discussed with you at length. With this, the online travel guide covering Madurai city comes to a delightful end!

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