Although Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu, no other city manages to capture the essence of the state more spectacularly than Madurai. Madurai is the very soul of Tamil heritage. It was born and bred in Tamil culture and is among the oldest cities to still stand in India. This is a spectacular metropolis that had trade relations with the glorious ancient empire of Rome. Madurai was a glorious capital much before Chennai even came into existence. The city of Madurai was constructed in the shape of a lotus. There are some spectacular temples here. However, the ancient city is very cosmopolitan. Here people of all religions live in peace with each other creating a fascinating sight of communal harmony. Festivals of all religions are celebrated with equal amounts of pomp, splendor and passion/. The fragrance of the jasmine flower wafts through the city captivating you. The magnificent temples, ancient monuments and sweet-smelling gardens create an awesome experience for you to enjoy. The rich cultural heritage lives on in this city which has embraced modernity as well.
How to Get There
By Air :
Madurai airport is located at a distance of around 12km from the heart of the city. There are daily flights to Madurai from Chennai, Bangalore, Trichi and Coimbatore.
By Rail :
The Madurai railway station has very good connectivity with all the major cities of India. It is an important railway junction of the southern railway, directly connected to Chennai and Tirunelveli via railway lines.
By Road :
Madurai city is well connected to all the parts of South India. There is an excellent bus service at regular intervals. Distance from places; Alleppey: 310 km, Thekkady: 135 km, Coimbatore: 214 km Kanyakumari: 244 km, Thiruvananthapuram: 325 km Ooty: 286 Munnar: 152 km, Rameshwaram: 169 km , Kanyakumari:245 km,Pondicherry:340 km
Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple
The spectacular Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple is the abode of Goddess Meenakshi, an avatar of Lady Parvati. This temple is easily the most incredible piece of architecture to exist in South India. It is a vital part of the aesthetic heritage of South India. The temple is more of an immense complex stretched over 6 hectares. There are 12 huge gopurams. These spectacular gateways are around with a jaw dropping collection of sculptures depicting heroes, demons, gods and goddesses together. The south gopuram alone has 1511 of these incredible sculptures. Although the present structure was built in the 17th century, its origins as a temple date back more than 2000 years. The huge temple is home to some very interesting paintings which adorn the walls and ceilings. Over all, the artistry of the temple is breathtaking in its richness of skills and colors.
Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
During its former days of glory, the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal was considered to be one of the wonders of South India. Built in the 17th century, the palace has lost much to the passage of years. Now, it is only a quarter of the original structure remains. In spite of that, the structure is still massive and impressive. The palace is a fascinating hybrid of the Dravidian and Islamic styles of architecture. It stills stands as a testament of the lofty aspirations and the skills of its creator. A huge courtyard lies surrounded by immense pillars which are adorned with amazing stucco work. The throne chamber is a suitably grand one with the giant dome rising overhead.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Alagarkoil is a beautiful temple located just at the foot of the Alagar Hills. An enchanting canopy of forests surrounds this scenic temple. Stunning sculptures adorn the temple highlighting its beauty. The mandapas here have been exquisitely designed. The temple certainly presents a charming sight with its incredible beauty being surrounded by the natural splendor of the forested hills.