8 Best Places to Visit in Madurai
Having earned the sobriquet “Athens of the East”, Madurai has never left any of its travellers less than being awe inspired. The city, which is second largest in the state of Tamil Nadu, is a hotbed of tourist attractions as its culture and architectural marvels speak of grandeur and brilliance. Major credit goes to Nayaka rulers who during their reign got many temples and buildings constructed.
The city is graced by attractions like Meenakshi Amman Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Palace, Gandhi Memorial Museum and also there are various other places where you can breathe in the authentic Tamilian culture at its best.
1. Meenakshi Temple
Undoubtedly the most famous of all attractions in Madurai is Meenakshi Temple. This temple stands as a testimony of the brilliant sculpture art that existed in India. Built on an acreage spanning 15 acres, the temple is a place with activity all the time- you can spot pilgrims as well as tourists. Some interesting features of the temple are the hall of thousand pillars where viewing from any angle will make us to see all the pillars in a straight line and musical pillars which when tapped produce a musical sound.
Suggested Tour : Private Day Tour of Madurai
2. Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace
Second most popular attraction in Madurai is Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace. It was built by king Thirumalai Nayak in year 1636 (hence it’s name) in Indo-saracenic style with tall arches gracing the palace. Being erstwhile residence to the king, only one-fourth of the actual structure is intact. Efforts have been made in recent years for renovation of the palace.
Also Read : Top Travel Destination in Tamilnadu
Suggested Tour : 11 Days – Tamilnadu Kerala Tour
3. Puthu Mandapam
Here comes a place in the list for shopaholics and art admirers! Puthu Mandapam lies just a stone’s throw away from Meenakshi temple and it’s a beautiful market with items like jewellery, fashion accessories, scarves, fabrics, handicrafts etc being sold. You can buy paintings, wearables from here and also take away lovely souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
4. Saint Mary’s Cathedral
It is one of the oldest Catholic churches in India and is that’s why one of the top tourist attractions in Madurai. You will be amazed to know that the church has been constructed blending various architectural styles together- European, Roman as well as Continental. Don’t forget to lay your eyes upon the tall and beautiful bell towers constructed in Roman architectural style.
Suggested Tour : 12 Days – Mumbai Karnataka and Kerala
Also Read : Five Holy Places That Are Most Visited In India
5. Banana Market
Bananas especially unripe ones are an important feature of the food culture of Tamil Nadu. So here is a wholesale market specially dedicated for the sale of bananas. Sixteen different varieties of bananas are sold in this market. Come and watch people working in this market as activity never seems to come to a halt here.
6. Murugan Idli Shop
Yet another destination to explore Tamilian food culture! Murugan Idli shop is a delight for the ones who love to explore a place gastronomically. The shop is a decent eating place with a friendly ambience offering taste buds tingling authentic south Indian dishes- Idli and Dosa. Apart from these dishes you can have a taste of this shop’s spicy chutney powder which is actually a special blend prepared by them served with oil to mix with it.
7. Gandhi Memorial Museum
This museum is one of the five Gandhi Sangrahalayas (museums) in India. It was established in 1959 and houses an elaborate collection of illustrations – illustrations to show Indian freedom struggle and pictorial gallery depicting life of Mahatma Gandhi. The museum also has choicest of specimen handicrafts from the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. You can also find the personal belongings of Gandhi like his spectacles, shawl and also the bloodstained Dhoti that he was wearing when he was assassinated.
Suggested Tour : 12 Days – South India Temple Tour
Situated at 10 kms. south of Madurai city is Thiruparankundram which is first of the six abodes of Murugan. It has ancient temple of Lord Murugan (also known as Kartikeya- son of Lord Shiva) where pilgrims come in large numbers such that it is second only among the most visited places of Madurai. Apart from this you can also visit Tirupparankunram Dargah nestled atop Tirupparankunram Hill which has been taken care of by the successive generations of the same family.
Suggested Tour : 7 Days South India Pilgrimage Tour (Madurai + Trichy + Chennai)
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