Madurai Tour

Madurai Tour

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Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Tour Information & Highlights
Madurai the second largest city of Tamil Nadu, is situated on the banks of Vaigai River. The town with an area of 22Sq. Kms has a population of above 1.1 million. Madurai was the capital city of the Pandya kings of South India.

The Meenakshi temple in the heart of theold town, attracts tourists as well as pilgrims. One of south India's oldest cities, Madurai has been a centre of learning for centuries. Madurai has a history dating back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era.

It has arich cultural heritage coming from great Tamil era, more than 2500 years old. The city has remain an important commercial centre from early 550 AD. Madurai is also called as the "Athens of the East" because of its beautiful architecture and meticulous planning like that of Athens.

This ancient city is surrounded by three small prominent hills namely Anaimalai,Pasumalai and Nagamalai. The people of Madurai are known for their deep respect for tradition and warm hospitality of the guests. They lead are laxed and simple life style and prefer Thavani (Half Saree) or Dhavani (Saree), a traditional Indian wear. The city has many non-stop bazaar full of shops, street markets, temples and restaurant.

The temple and the old city are on the southern bank, while modern Madurai with its textile mills, engineering industries and large universities situated on the surroundings.

Major Tourist Attractions in Madurai: Meenakshi Temple, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal etc.
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
The Meenakshi temple situated in the heart of the old town, is dedicated to Meenakshi the consort of Lord Shiva. Made in Dravidian architecture the temple has long been the focus of tourists and also as one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage.

Kulasekara Pandya built the original temple, but the credit for making today's temple goes to Tirumalai Nayak, who brought back glory to this magnificent structure. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams) and the outer towers (East, South, West and North tower) serve as the landmarks of Madurai.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, Madurai
Located 5 Kms east of the Meenakshi temple this is a huge temple tank. At the center of the mandapam an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka) stands. Discovered duringexcavation to construct the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, the place was believed to be sanctified and was converted into a teppakulam (tank).

The temple tank is fed by water of the Vagai river, brought through an in genious system of underground channels. The place also serves as the site of the popular temple's float festival.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, Madurai
Located at a distance of1 Km from Meenakshi temple, the palace perfectly illustrates the architectural style of Nayaks. Built in 1523 in Indo-Saracenic style the original palace was four times bigger than today's standing structure.

The two main parts of the palace namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa house the royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royalbandstand, quarters, pond and gardens. The most amazing part of this palace is the dome of Swarga Vilasam, which lies beyond a large courtyard.

The domeis a fabulous example of the engineering skill of its builders, rising to a height of 20m without any kind of support.
Famous Excursions from Madurai
Koodal Azhagar Temple
Koodal Azhagar temple lies around 20 Kms from Madurai. The temple is on the way to Palamurthir Cholai,one of the six sacred abodes of Lord Muruga. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu houses some beautiful stone sculptures on the pillars of the hall. Beautiful sculptures and paintings also found inside the temple. This ancient temple has Vishnu in sitting, standing and reclining postures one above the other.

The Gandhi Museum
Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the important places to be visited in Madurai.Gandhi Museum is situated at the old palace of Rani Mangammal houses. In the year 1955, the Tamil Nadu State Government gifted 13 acres of land to Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for the purpose of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum. Dedicated to Gandhiji-his life and work, the museum has a collection of Gandhiji's books and letters and a fine exhibition of South Indian Village Industries and handicrafts. This museum is one of the rare living memorials of "The Father of India" and has a vast historical account of India's struggle for independence. The picture Gallery presents a visual biography of Gandhiji.

Kodaikanal, one of the most beautiful hill stations in India lies at a distance of 120 Kms from Madurai.The hill station is situated in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 2,130 meters above the sea level. The major attraction of the town is the lake in which one can enjoy boating or fishing. You can also have the pleasant look of the wooded hills and the picturesque waterfalls.

Located on an island in the Gulf of Mannar, the place is connected to the mainland by the Indira Gandhi Bridge.Rameswaram has many temples dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses.Considered as one of the most important pilgrimage sites for the Hindus, the place is sacred for both Vaishnavites and Shaivites. In addition to the temple the beaches of Rameswaram are also famous.

Vaigai Dam
About 70 Kms from Madurai the Dam,falls on the way to Thekkady. The beautiful gardens in the dam is a popularpicnic spot. It also offers a breathtaking views of the nearby areas.
Accommodation in Madurai
The city has different types of hotels ranging from 5 Star to 3 Star. The hotel well-equipped with modern facilities offers a comfortable stay to guests. The popular hotels of the city are Taj Garden Tetreat (5 StarHotel), Hotel Sangam (3 Star Hotel), Hotel Germanus (3 Star Hotel), GRT Residency (3 Star Hotel), Hotel International, Hotel M.R International and Hotel Supreme etc.
Best Time to Visit in Madurai
The cold breeze of Vaigai river causes a soothing effect on the climate of Madurai. The city remains hot and sultry during Summers. Therefore October to March is the best time to visit this magnificent city.
How to reach Madurai?
By Air - Maduai is connected by air with the Mumbai,Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Tiruchi and Coimbatore etc. The Airport is 10 Kms away from the main city.

By Rail - Madurai railway station falls under Soutern Railways and the station has direct connections with Bangalore,Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameshwaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirapalli, Tirupathi and Tirunelveli etc.

By Road - Two national highways NH 7 and NH 45 connects Madurai to all parts of South India. The city has regular bus services to all the towns in nearby regions and rest of the Tamil Nadu.
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