Madurai is one of India's oldest cities and is the second largest city in the state of Tamil Nadu after Chennai.
Madurai boasts of a cultural heritage that goes as far back as 2500 years and has functioned as an important commercial center even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was once the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India. Today the city of Madurai is the administrative capital of Madurai district.
Madurai Meenakshi Temple - The Madurai Meenakshi Temple is synonymous with Madurai and is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, the protectress of Madurai . Built in the 16th Century by Tirumalai Nayak, it is spread over an area of 350 hectares. It is almost a city within a city with businesses and a bazaar flourishing here too.
Mariamman Theppakulam - The Mariamman Theppakulam in Vandiyur, just 5 kilometer south east of Meenakshi Temple is one of the huge Temple tank in south India . It was built in 1636 and was commissioned by Thirumalai nayakar in 1646. The area of the tank and the island pavilion with a garden in the center is approximately equal to the area of Meenakshi Temple .
Float Festival - The Float festival is celebrated in Madurai on the Full Moon Day of the Tamil month of Thai - mid-Jan, to mid-Feb every year. The placid waters of the tank turn colorful when the mandapam is lit up and the temple deities are brought to it in decorated floats.
Gandhi Museum – This museum was the great historic Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal during 1670. This palace was the official residence of the district collectors of Madurai for many years. In 1955 the palace and the land around it were dedicated to Gandhi Smarak Nidhi by the government of Tamilnadu in remembrance of the life and work of father of the nation.
Tirumalai Nayak Palace – This palace was built by King Thirumalai in 1636 with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.
Azhagar Kovil Temple (21 kms) - Located 21 kilometers northwest of Madurai is this Vishnu Temple atop a picturesque wooded hill. Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhgar'. During the Chitrai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai . Devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual carry a gold processional icon called the Sundararajar.
Thirupparankundram Temple (8 kms) - The Thirupparankundram Temple is about 8 kms from Madurai , atop a hill. The temple of dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya and is carved out of a rock. It is one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan (Subrahmanya). It is said that the marriage of Lord Subrahmanya with Deivayani, daughter of Lord Indra took place here. Hence this temple is regarded as a sacred place for marriages.
Pazhamudhir Cholai – This is a temple situated 2 kilometers away from Alagar Koil on a small hillock. This is another one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan.
Suruli Waterfalls (120 kms) – This beautiful waterfall is located at a distance of 120 km from Madurai on the way to Thekkadi (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary).
Court allam (150 kms) - It is a summer resort. Waterfalls are the main attraction of Courtallam. The water in this falls have medicinal value.