Madurai prominently known for its ancient architecture and temples has a great deal of aesthetic value which has been a driving force for a large number of tourists around the world. Here are some important tourist places that you definitely shouldn’t miss on your tour to Madurai.
Why not begin your tour with a pilgrimage venture? Madurai is also referred as the ‘Temple City’ which is mainly attributed to these gorgeous worship sites with immense architectural and spiritual value. Below is the list of most famous temples in Madurai.
- Meenakshi amman temple:
Visit the most iconic landmark of the district, Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple not only for its spiritual significance but also to witness the grandeur of the Pandian construction. The marvelous Aayiram kaal Mandapam(translated as the thousand legged hall) which is part of the temple is definitely a feast to ones eyes. Do not forget to take a stroll through Puthu Mandapam a long hall of shops located outside the temple. These shops contain a wide array of fancy goods from jewelry, clothes to even books. You may even discover some interesting souvenirs here.
Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple, Aayiram kaal Mandapam, Puthu Mandapam
- Azhagar Kovil and Pazhamuthircholai:
These two temples which are located on the hilly regions of Madurai have massive spiritual value. The Azhagar temple is particularly auspicious during the Chithirai festival, celebrated with great zeal by the people of Madurai, which is possibly the largest gathering of the year. The Pazhamuthircholai located near the former is one of the six abodes of lord Muruga.
- Koodal Azhagar temple:
This is a temple located in the central region of Madurai dedicated to Lord Vishnu. One of the oldest pilgrim sites constructed in Madurai for the deity. Visit this Koodal Azhagar temple to witness yet another splendid example of Dravidian architecture.
- Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam:
Teppakulam translates for temple pond in English. This Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a mighty structure attached to a temple with goddess Mariamman as the supreme deity. The pond is a gigantic square construction which carries a colossal amount of water during the rainy season. This is definitely a ‘must go to place’ when you visit Madurai.
This is a hill temple located on the outskirts of Madurai. Thiruparankundram is also one of the six abodes of lord Muruga. This site of worship not only expands our spiritual experience but also enables us to enjoy the aesthetic pleasures of being on a hilly region surrounded by greenery. Definitely worth the travel!
Thirumalai nayakar mahal:
This is undoubtedly one of the architectural marvels of Madurai with its grand pillars, carvings and domes. The palace is a 17th century monument constructed by the king Thirumalai Nayakar of the Nayaka dynasty. This is definitely a must visit site when you come to Madurai.
Madurai is not restricted only to historical monuments and pilgrimage sights but also has a two decades old water theme park Athisayam fondly known as the ‘queen of theme parks’. This place not only attracts local visitors but is also a magnet for tourists and foreign visitors. The theme park has several water games and other rides as well. So, don’t miss it.
Vishal de mall:
This is definitely the most well-established and prominent malls in Madurai. Vishal de mall is loaded with shops selling garments, shoes, toys and almost everything. It even has a built in Inox theater, arcade, indoor bowling pit, haunted house, mirror maze and a ton of other fun loaded activities. The mall has a few high-end restaurants but usually the food court attracts more people. This is one place in Madurai that will never disappoint you.
This elephant shaped mountain almost forms a protective wall for Madurai being a gigantic structure. Yaanai malai is undoubted a perfect trekking spot with added historical and cultural elements like the Narasingam Yoga Narasimha Perumal temple, Murugan Temple, Ladan cave temple also devoted to Lord Muruga, along with many Jain sculptures, caves and carvings. This is why the hill region is a protected monument yet a largely popular tourist attraction.
This is another landmark of Madurai that everyone would definitely visit on their trip to the district. The Vaigai dam was constructed during the mid 20th century which provides water for irrigation and daily needs of the local residents till now. The view from the top of the dam is splendid which explains the ever-lasting visitors for this construction.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral church:
The 150 year old church is not only renowned in Madurai, but is popular all over Tamilnadu for both its spiritual and structural significance. The massive establishment along with elegant architecture has made Saint Mary’s Cathedral church a classic tourist spot.
Kazimar big mosque:
This is the oldest mosque in Madurai constructed in the year 1284 AD. The Kazimar big mosque or Kazimar periya pallivasal as termed in Tamil is a gigantic 7 century old monument that impresses its visitors with its refined establishment and picturesque construction. The ancient styled mosque is definitely a prominent landmark of the Madurai district.
This hill located in the Keelakuilkudi village, Madurai is also a protected monument maintained and surveyed by the Archaeological survey of India. The Samanar malai (Jain hill) is known to be a great source of historical value with a lot of artifacts and carvings discovered on various excavation. Even, for tourists the hill climb can be a fun rock climbing experience with a spectacular view waiting at its top with many small caves to be found on the way. There is even a temple at the foot of the hill. This visit would definitely be a refreshing experience.
Gandhi memorial museum:
This is one of the five museums constructed in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi in India. It was built to honor Gandhi’s arrival in Madurai and his decision to follow simplicity throughout his life. In this memorial museum one can find various historical references on Gandhi’s path to the freedom of India and his life depictions. A great place to visit for history seekers.
Ulaga Tamil Sangam:
This is a prestigious monument constructed to protect and enhance the Tamil language and also serve as a platform for the upcoming generations to show case their abilities in the literary fields. Currently, Ulaga Tamil Sangam (World Tamil Sangam) houses various artifacts and linguistic material as protection and display for visitors. Do make an attempt to visit this magnificent building for a great historical journey.
Vilachery pottery village:
This is probably the best place for souvenirs on your visit to Madurai. This small village with only about 60 families thrives only by its ancestral skill of pottery. Though the skill may be ancestral the dolls, idols, and even sculptures crafted here are fully customized and up to date. The sculptors here can make anything you ask them to. From miniature dolls to huge statutes they make it all.
If you love to explore local markets or simply love bananas go check out this banana market in Madurai. You can find 16 different varieties of bananas here and obviously, at a low cost since its an export spot. You can definitely get hold of some yummy bananas here and even bring home your stash for later. It is a 30 mins stroll in and out of the market with mornings being the ideal time to visit.
If this article made you interested in traveling to Madurai but you are worried about accommodation and food then don’t even think twice, as the district offers some really amazing choices. You can find the cheapest of lodges and the luxurious of hotels here. Madurai is known for its food. You can find a restaurant almost in every street, so that must be least of your concerns. Happy travelling!!!