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MADURAIBack to the Destination

                       The great temple town of South India, Madurai, is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. It is situated on the banks of river Vaigai. Madurai has a rich cultural heritage, which is more than 2500 years old. The city is believed to have been built by the Pandyan King, Kulasekara in the 6th century BC. It is also known as the Athens of the East and is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The Meenakshi temple is the city's main attraction and is placed in the heart of the old town. Temple gives a splendid example of Dravidian architecture and is famous for Jasmine Flowers. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak. There are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty. The Vishnu Temple is located at a distance of 21 kms northwest of Madurai. It is said that in this temple, 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhgar'. During the Chitrai festival a procession is carried out from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual. Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill. A natural spring called Nuburagangai is also located here. But unlike the other temple cities of Tamil Nadu whose fame relies heavily on the fabulous contributions of great empires.

How to reach  

By Air

  The airport is 12 km. from the city and there are connecting flights to Chennai and Mumbai.
 

By Rail  

  Madurai is a major railhead and is connected to various cities of south India  
 

By Road  

  There are four bus stations in Madurai and is well connected to all other cities in Tamilnadu  
   

Places to Visit  

 

Meenakshi Temple  

         The Meenakshi temple is the city's main attraction and is placed in the heart of the old town. Temple gives a splendid example of Dravidian architecture and is famous for Jasmine Flowers. The present temple was designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak and subsequently built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak. There are four entrances to the temple with an area of six hectares. Each of its 12 towers has the height of 45 to 50 meters. The temple museum has 985 richly carved pillars and each one surpasses the other in beauty. The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple. The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for meenakshi and Sundareshwara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. Especially impressive are the 12 gopuras. Their soaring towers rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of dieties, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colours.  
   

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal  

  The most imposing remnant is a huge audience hall opening into a courtyard with elaborately ornamented arches.  
   

 Gandhi Museum  

  This institution is a 300 year old palace dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi to promote study and appreciation of the Mahatma's teachings. There is a picture gallery, personal memorables of the Mahatma and an exhibit of South indian handicrafts and village industries  
   

Vandiyur Mariamman Theppakulam  

  This enormous temple tank 5 kms from Meenakshi temple is fed by water from the Vaiga river. The tank has a mandapam at the centre enshrining Lord Vigneshwara.  
 

 
 
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