Often referred to as the city that never sleeps in Tamil Nadu, Madurai is one of the busiest cities with great past and present temple scenes. Flaunting its architectural marvel, Madurai is one of the fantastic cities in India to experience the traditional and cultural heritage of the country. Madurai is also one of the ancient cities in the country, having historical references and enough proofs that show trading history between Madurai and Rome. Madurai city can be traced back to the 3rd century BCE. It is one of the major cities in Tamil Nadu with age-old history promotes Tamil culture and traditions from Sangam age.

Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. Thousands of tourists from all over make a stop at this beautiful city to experience colorful temples and aural senses. Madurai is also pretty famous for its lip-smacking cuisine. One of the popular beverages here is Jigarthanda – a must-try drink for all. Home to many historical monuments and medieval temples; let us look at the most important attractions in Madurai.

List of places to see in Madurai

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Located on the bank of the Vaigai River, Meenakshi Amman temple is the most popular tourist attraction in Madurai. It is also one of the oldest temples in India dated back to 2500 years. Dedicated to Meenakshi an avatar of Goddess Parvati, it is believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati tied the knot in this temple. Known for world-class architecture, Meenakshi Amman Temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture during the time of the ruler Kulasekara Pandya. The most attractive feature of this temple is the thousand pillar hall known for its architectural brilliance. One must not miss the religious procession carried out by the priest of the temple. The ceremony is simply one of the most beautiful experience to witness thousands of devotees gathering to see the colorful procession of Sundareswarar in a chariot to Meenakshi. Click some colorful pictures during the procession.

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

Constructed in the 17th century, Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal is a popular attraction belonging to the Nayak Dynasty. Depicting the beautiful blend of Dravidian, Rajput and Italian style of architecture. Located very close to Meenakshi Amman Temple, Thirumalai Nayakar palace has about 248 pillars with excellent work on domes and arches of the palace. Indulge in a beautiful sound and light show.

Alagar Koil

This beautiful temple is built by the Pandya dynasty, is known for an impressive structure on the top of the hill. Surrounded by the ruins of the fort, Alagar Koil or temple is situated in Alagar malai (hill). Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Alagarkovil is a sacred place for Vishnu devotees. Located about 21 km from the main city of Madurai, Alagar Koil is must visit. Witness the beautiful Mandapas and pillars within the temple and appreciate the architecture.

Gandhi Museum

Constructed as a memorial for Gandhiji after his assassination, Gandhi Museum houses Picture Gallery presenting Gandhiji and his freedom struggle. One can also see the visuals of Gandhi Ji's biography and a special exhibition of the Indian Freedom Movement. The exhibits also include Gandhi Ji's personal belonging especially loincloths worn by him at the time of the assassination. Visiting this museum is a must when in Madurai

Koodal Azhagar Temple

Koodal Azhagar temple is another famous and unique temple located within the city of Madurai. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this beautiful temple structured in the Dravidian style of architecture. It is believed to have been built by the Pandiyas, who is known to have a fantastic taste in sculptures and intricate carvings. And Koodal Azhagar Temple is exactly known for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings. This temple is also considered to be one of the highly revered temples by the Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism.

Mariamman Teppakulam

It is a huge tank situated in the temple compound, is located about 5 km from the Meenakshi temple. This water tank holds the record of the biggest water tank in the region. It water in the tank is stored all through the year; it is also believed that the idol of the temple was obtained from the bottom of the tank.

Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple

Thiruparankundram is a famous Murugan temple, which is also believed to be the 6th abode of Lord Murugan. This beautiful temple is built on the hilly terrain depicting rock-cut architecture and Dravidian style of architecture.

Best time to visit

Like many cities in India, winter is probably the only right season to visit Madurai. While the weather remains hot and dry throughout the year, the best time to visit Madurai when the weather is relatively pleasant in winters i.e October to February. It is during this time one can visit the temples and beautiful monuments without being worried about the heat.

What to eat in Madurai

Popularly referred to as the food capital of Tamil Nadu by the locals, Madurai has a fantastic variety of cuisine and style. Known for lip-smacking street food, one must definitely try the local delicacies such as Paruthi Paal, Jigarthanda, and Filter coffee. Apart from that, Madurai is known for its fantastic non-vegetarian dishes such as Paaya and biryani, Chettinadu chicken, etc.

How to reach?

Madurai's major mode of transportation is by air, road, and rail. Having a domestic airport, Madurai has good connectivity to major airports such as Chennai and Bangalore. There are many state transport buses from almost all major cities in the country that connects Madurai. From A/C to non-A/C buses, one can travel to Madurai very easily as there are good connectively by the road with great frequency. Madurai also has a junction railway station, connecting to almost all the cities and towns within Tamil Nadu and major cities in Kerala.