Once the capital city of Pandyas, Madurai is today the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is famous for the Meenakshi Temple with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures. The city is said to have got its name from the drops of nectar (Mathuram) that fell from Shiva's locks when he came to bless its people for constructing a temple for him. Originally named Madhurapuri or the 'land of nectar', the name later got modified as Madurai.
Madurai lies on the banks of the river Vaigai. The temple and the old city are on the banks, while modern Madurai with its textile mills, engineering industries and large university sprawls around.General Information
Area 22 sq. kms.
Population 1,093,702 (1991 census)
Altitude 101 meters above sea level
Climate Max. Min.
Summer 37.1º c 25.0º c
Winter 29.0º c 20.0º c
Rainfall 85 cms average
Season Throughout the year
Languages spoken Tamil, Sourashtra, English
STD Code 0452 Places of interest
Located at the heart of the city, the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple has long been the focus of both Indian and international tourist attraction as well as one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage. The temple is dedicated to both of Meenakshi of the limpid fish-shaped eyes, the lovely consort of Lord Siva: and to Lord Siva himself (Sundareswarar). For the people of Madurai, the temple is the very centre of their cultural and religious life.
Koodal Alagar Temple
This ancient shrine has Vishnu in sitting, standing and reclining postures one above the other. It has elegantly carved ornamental windows described as "miracles of the stone mason's art". There are also intricate wood carvings, including a panel of Lord Rama's Pattabhishekham (coronation).
Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Comlex
Located 6km from the Periyar bus stand, Vandiyur Kanmoy (Tank) is an ideal picnic spot . TTDC operates a Children's train and boating service. There is also a restuarant in the Tourist Complex.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
This enormous temple tank is fed by the water brought from the Vaigai through an ingenious system of underground channels. The tank has a mandapam at the centre enshrining Lord Vigneshwara.
The institution housed in a 300-year old palace is dedicated to Gandhiji and promotes study and appreciation of the Mahatma's teachings. There is picture gallery, personal memorabilia of the Mahatma, a library and an exhibition of South India handicrafts and village industries. The government Museum is also in this comlex.
Timings 10.00-13.00 hrs. and 14.00-17,30 hrs. Ph : 531060
Located 8 Kms south of Madurai junction, the temple here is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya. Its innermost shrine is cut out of a solid rock.
Located 21 kms northwest of Madurai is a Vishnu Temple on a picturesque wooded hill. Here Vishnu presides as Meenakshi's brother "Azhagar'.Excursions
Vaigai Dam (70kms)
This is famous picnic spot. Man-made gardens on one side of the dam contrast with the rugged terrain on the mountains. On sundays the dam is illuminated.
Kodaikkanal (120 kms.)
Kodai is a hill station 2130 m above sea level in the Western Ghats. Wooded hills, pleasant walks, picturesque waterfalls and a magnificent lake make Kodai one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. More Info
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (Thekkadi) (155 kms.)
The forests of this beautiful sanctuary slope down to a man-made lake. On motor launches from this lake , one can view wildlife in its natural habitat. Elephant, gaur, sambhar and even tigers which come to the lake.
Megamalai, 130kms from Madurai, lies 1500 m above sea level. One has to climb up from Chinnamanur side. There are many caradamon estates and tea plantations in the hills. Wild animals like Sambhar, Elephant, Tiger, Cheetah, Gaur and Spotted Deer are found amidst thick vegetation.
Vedanthangal (85 kms.)
Vedanthangal is one of the largest bird sancturies in India. It is a marshy, 30 hectare park with lake visited by over 1,00,000 migratory birds every year. The majority of these birds can be seen between November and February. The variety of birds include Herons, Darters, Spoonbills, Pelicans, Sandpipers, White Ibis, Cormorants,Blue winged teals and Swans. More Info
Suruli waterfalls lies 123 kms from Madurai on the way to Thekkadi via Uthamapalayam. The location of the falls, in a salubrious setting makes it a good picnic spot for domestic tourists.
Viraganur Dam with a picturesque garden lies 8 km from Madurai adn far from Vandiyur Mariamman tank. This is a nice picnic spot.
Kumbakkarai Water Falls
It is 105 kms from Madurai and 6 kms from Periyakulam, Kumbakkarai water falls is an ideal picnic spot.Festivals
Avanimoolom Festival August/September.
Float Festival January/February.
Madurai Chithirai Festival April/May
Govt. Chithirai Exhibition April/May. How to get there ?
Madurai Airport is connected with Chennai, Bangalore and Tiruchirapalli.
Madurai is a major Railways Junction connected with important cities of Tamilnadu.
It is connected with all important cities of South India.