Madurai is the third largest city by population in Tamil Nadu, Located on the banks of River Vaigai, Madurai has been a major settlement for two millennia and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Madurai was the longest continuous capital city until British rule in India and was the first major settlement in central and southern Asia. It is called as Thoonga Nagaram that means a City that never sleeps. Madurai is closely associated with the Tamil language, and the third Tamil Sangam, a major congregation of Tamil scholars said to have been held in the city. The recorded history of the city goes back to the 3rd century BCE, being mentioned by Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to India, and Kautilya, a minister of the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Signs of human settlements and Roman trade links dating back to 300BC are evident from excavations by Archeological Survey of India in Manalur. The city is believed to be of significant antiquity and has been ruled, at different times, by the Pandyas, Cholas, Madurai Sultanate, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Carnatic kingdom, and the British. It is also called as KADAMBA VANAM. According to legends Lord Indra once worshiped Lord Siva under the Kadamba tree and abundance of those trees took the name Kadambavanam. Lord Siva appeared in the dream of King Kulasekara Pandyan and drops of immensely sweet Madhu [nectar] rolls down from the matted hair of Lord Siva on the earth. Hence this was also called as Madhurapuri. In due course of time, people started calling it as Madurai. The Meenakshi Amman temple is the city’s most important landmark. It is one of the five sabhas [divine dance stages] called as Velli Ambalam [silver Hall].
Madurai Tours and Travels
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort Shiva here named Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500-year-old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, though most of the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655. It is said that the temple was originally built in the 6th century BC by survivors of the Kumari Kandam.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai’s Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Rajput styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. In its heyday, Thirumalai Nayak Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South.
Gandhi Memorial Museum established in 1959, is a memorial museum for Gandhi Known as Gandhi Museum; it is now one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Museums) in the country. It includes a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Located in a quiet place, this memorial of Gandhi contains a “Visual Biography of Bapuji” containing photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations and selected copies of his letters and renderings. This section contains 124 rare photographs depicting various phases of Gandhi from his childhood days until being taken to the crematorium.
Koodal Azhagar Temple in Madurai, Is Dedicated To god Vishnu. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshiped as Koodal Azhagar and his consort Lakshmi as Maragathavalli. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a five-tiered raja gopuram, the gateway tower. The temple is originally believed to be built by the Pandyas, with later additions by the Vijayanagar and Madurai Nayak kings who commissioned pillared halls and major shrines of the temple during the 16th century.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is the pond located near about 2 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. The pond is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground Channels. It has a total of 12 long stairs (steps) made of granite on all four sides. The temple, as well as the stairs, was built by the King Thirumalai Nayak. In the center of the tank, there is a Mandapam called Maiya Mandapam (Central Mandapam) with Vinayakar temple and garden.
Alagar Kovil is a village in Madurai district. The history and living of the village are centered around Kallazhagar Temple. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, Kallazhagar temple covers an area of about 2 acres (0.81 hectares) and has a five-tiered gopuram (gateway tower). The temple in enclosed in a rectangular enclosure with huge granite walls. The central shrine houses the image of the presiding deity, Uragamellayan Perumal in reclining posture on a snake bed similar to that of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple. The images of Sridevi and Bhudevi are also housed in the sanctum. There two life-size images of Narasimha.
Athisayam the ultimate in family fun, is several acres Water Amusement Park located in Madurai. Athisayam has grown over the last five years to become the largest in the area (Athisayam was born on 2000). The Waterpark has sports rides for everyone from the thrill seeker in you to the more relaxed family attractions.
Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple is one of the Six Abodes of Murugan, the temple is built in rock-cut architecture and believed to have been built by the Pandyas during the 6th century. The temple is located 8 kilometers from Madurai. In the main shrine, apart from Muruga, deities of Shiva, Vishnu, Vinayaka and Durga are housed. The temple follows Shivaite tradition of worship. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Kantha Sashti festival during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November) being the most prominent.
Madurai Maqbara generally refers to the Dargahs of three saints Mir Ahmad Ibrahim, Mir Amjad Ibrahim, and Abdus Salaam Ibrahim. The birth of these three Waliyullahs was declared by Hazrat Nabi Sulaiman, the messenger of Allah and a genie called Jaimur was deployed by Hazrat Sulaiman to serve them.
Goripalayam Darga is a large mosque in Goripalayam (part of Madurai City) containing two graves (tombs) of sultans of Yemen namely Hazrat Khwaja Syed Sultan Alauddin Badusha razi and Hazrat Khwaja Syed Sultan Shamsuddin of the Madurai Sultanate. There is also one invisible grave of Hazrat Khwaja Syed Sultan Habibuddin razi who is also known as Ghaibi Sultan who came to India to spread Islam.
Vaigai Dam is built across the Vaigai River near Andipatti, in the Theni district. It provides water for irrigation for the Madurai district and the Dindigul district as well as drinking water to Madurai and Andipatti. Near the dam, the Government of Tamil Nadu has constructed an Agricultural Research Station for researching the growing of a variety of crops, including rice, sorghum, black gram, cowpea, and cotton.
Samanar Hills Samanar means Jain in Tamil and Malai means hill. This hill has caves where Tamil Jain (Samanar) monks lived. The hill was also known as Thiruvuruvagam. Samanar Malai has several Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, a number of stone beds and many sculptures, which shows authority for Jainism in the ancient Tamil country. The hill contains two famous sculptures, Settipodavu and Pechipallam that show images of Jain Tirthankaras made by Jain monks in the 9th century BCE.
Pandi Kovil Temple Lord Pandi was actually an ancient ruler of Madurai who related with the Tamil epic “Silapathikaram”. People pray the lord for their wellness. Two hundred years ago a group of people immigrated to Madurai from near Karur town and they tented on a place where today’s Pandi Kovil. An old couple named Valli Amman and peria samy was also in the group, in the night Valli Amman had a dream. A long beard saint appeared and said that he was the ancient ruler Pandiyan Neduncheliyan who gave Mis justice to Kovalan For that reason I was born again a human, I always did thavam and prayed lord Shiva.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church The Church of Our Lady of Dolores, popularly known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, is one of the ancient churches in Tamil Nadu. It is known for its architectural splendor with its magnificent spires rising to the skies. The site on which the present Cathedral stands was bought in 1840 by Fr. Joseph Bertrand, one of the four pioneers of the New Madurai Mission. In 1841, Fr. Louis Garnier, built a small church, 32 feet broad, modeled on the Cathedral of Trichy.
ISKON Madurai Radha Mathurapathi temple is about 2 km from the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.The temple is modern in its design and architecture and has a large marble-laid prayer hall, Lord Krishna is the main deity at all the Iskcon temples. He is depicted along with his childhood friend, Radha as Sri Radha Mathurapathi.
Idaikattur Church Idaikattur is a village panchayat located at an average elevation of 700 meters (2290 feet). In Sivaganga district. Idaikattur Is quiet village and the holy place for two faiths, It is a holy land where famed Siddhar Idaikaadar lived and hosted Navagrahas during a famine. A small Nava Gra ha temple stands there as a testimony. Actor Rajinikanth used to visit and worship this temple every year. One does not need a passport, visa or ticket to France to see the Rheims Cathedral. Just go as far as Idaikattur.