Cholan Tours-Temple City of India - Madurai

Temple City of India - Madurai

  • June 05, 2024

We take pleasure in sharing about the ancient, culturally rich temple city of India – Madurai with you. 

Madurai, Tamil Nadu's cultural centre, has a 2,500-year history and is noted for its beautiful temples, vibrant festivals, and unique cuisine. It is a city steeped in history and culture, sometimes referred to as the "Athens of the East." The city was once the capital of the powerful Pandya dynasty, who ruled South India for centuries. The city's numerous historical monuments and architectural marvels serve as memories of its long past. Madurai's cultural diversity extends to its culinary traditions, which include a variety of distinct dishes and specialities that satisfy one’s taste buds. The Madurai Malli (jasmine flower), famed for its seductive perfume, symbolizes the city's floral heritage.

This is a city that celebrates and thrives on festivals. Throughout the year, the city comes alive with vibrant events, each with its traditions and customs. The most well-known festivals include Pongal (a harvest festival), Chitirai Festival (held at the Meenakshi Amman Temple), Avani Moola Festival, and Jallikattu (a bull-taming event). For millennia, the city has been the centre of Tamil culture and literature. It also held the third Tamil Sangam, an event for Tamil intellectuals and poets. The city is a foodie's paradise! It's known for its use of spices and fresh ingredients.  

For ages, the city has been the epicentre of Tamil culture and literature. It also hosted the third Tamil Sangam, a gathering of Tamil intellectuals and poets. The city is a foodie's heaven! It is renowned for its use of spices and fresh ingredients. Madurai has a wide range of cuisines to satisfy your taste buds. Madurai Jigarthanda, a cool and refreshing milk-based beverage flavored with badam (almonds), ice cream, and nuts in rose syrup; Madurai idly and sambar (soft and fluffy steamed rice cakes served with a lentil stew); and mutton biryani (rice cooked with a variety of aromatic spices and herbs, such as star anise, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, stewed with succulent mutton pieces), which exemplifies the city's fantastic culinary choices and is popular with both inhabitants and visitors.

Important note

Roadwork and flyover construction are underway in Madurai as part of the continuing smart city project, which is expected to cause traffic congestion and diversions. While this infrastructure project seeks to improve traffic flow in the next years, unforeseen delays and route adjustments may occur on occasion without prior notice. Please inform the guests so that they are prepared.

Main ways to reach Madurai: 

By Air: The city has its airport, Madurai International Airport (IXM), which is India's 38th busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft movements. The airport is situated 12 kilometres south of the city centre. It is easily accessible from several domestic cities, including Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Goa, as well as foreign locations such as Dubai, Singapore, and Colombo.  

Airport facilities 

1. Doctor on Call - Medical Emergencies with a doctor and nurse for Medical Check-up

2. Vadamalayaan Pharmacy 

3. Sapthagiri snack outlet

4. Rental taxi services 

5. Porter for luggage assistance 

6. Cargo department

7. Harsha Hospital to be included in Airport services as the nearest hospital. 

8. Gift shop 

9. Chennai Silks & Ramraj stores for shopping 

10. Soft drinks vending machine. 

11. Money exchange 

AAI is currently developing a new administrative facility for the flight movement observation tower, which is an ongoing process.

By Train: Madurai Junction (MDU) is a major railway station with trains connecting to most major cities in India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Nagpur, Bhopal and Hyderabad.

By Road: Madurai is well connected to neighbouring cities and states by National Highways NH 7, NH 45B, NH 208 and NH 49. State highways passing through the city include SH-33, SH-72, SH-72A, SH-73 and SH-73A which connect various parts of Madurai district and nearby towns.  

Major Sightseeing spots in Madurai: 

Meenakshi Amman Temple

The Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai is a vast maze of beauty and history. It is situated in the heart of the city. The temple complex is devoted to Parvati (Meenakshi) and her consort Shiva (Sundareswarar). According to legends, the temple was built about 2,500 years ago. Malayadwaja Pandya, the Pandya monarch, is reported to have unearthed a divine Shiva lingam and dedicated a shrine to it. While the exact period is debatable, there is evidence that a temple has existed here since at least the 6th century BC. The temple prospered during the reigns of many kingdoms. The temple complex was originally built by the Pandya monarchs, and it has undergone various extensions and modifications over the ages. The most major changes took place during the reign of the Nayaka dynasty in the 16th and 17th century. The holy wedding of Parvati (Meenakshi) and Shiva (Sundareswarar), which is said to have occurred here, has mythological significance. The temple commemorates their sacred union. The temple encloses these two shrines with four huge entrances facing four directions. The temple's distinctive feature are its colorful gateway towers. Each gopuram is embellished with elaborate sculptures of mythological figures and goddesses. The tallest gopuram is the southern one, which stands at 170 feet. Golden Lotus Pond is a tranquil oasis within the temple complex, and devotees consider it holy. The adjacent column features murals depicting Lord Shiva's miracles in Madurai. The main event at this temple is the night ceremony, which takes place every day for 45 minutes before the temple closes and is primarily attended by foreigners. This temple celebrates festivals throughout the 12 Tamil months of the calendar.

Timings: 05.30 AM to 12.30 PM & 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM

Entrance Fee: For Foreigner – Rs.55 & For Indian – Rs.5 for Thousand pillar hall 

Camera & Video Camera: Not allowed. 

Mobile Phone: Not allowed. 

Dress Code: Both male & females should wear any fully covered dress. Shots and trousers are strictly not allowed.

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

Special remark: Temple parking has been renovated, and coaches wouldn’t be able to reach the parking lot. Drivers will be asked to stop in specific places, from where guests must walk for 15 to 20 minutes to reach the temple.

Estimated closure dates of Meenakshi Amman temple: 

Meenakshi Amman temple is closed three times a year for the float festival, the Puttu festival, and Lord Murugan's heavenly wedding ceremony at Thiruparankundram temple. Temples will be closed on August 16th, 2024 (Puttu festival), February 11th, 2025 (float festival), and March 14th, 2025 (Lord Murugan's heavenly weeding ceremony at the Panguni Uthiram festival). The temple is also closed during solar and lunar eclipses; we will notify you as the exact date approaches. It is important to note that festival dates are determined by the lunar calendar as well as local traditions and customs. The festival dates provided here are based on this. However, dates may alter depending on the customs and rituals linked with places of worship. We shall reconfirm the same closer to the festival date.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace: 

The Thirumalai Nayak Palace, a 17th-century palace in Madurai, provides a glimpse of the grandeur of the Nayaka dynasty's power. It was built in 1636 by King Tirumala Nayaka, a member of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who reigned from 1623 until 1659. The structure you see now was the principal palace, where the monarch lived. The palace is a stunning example of Indo-Islamic architecture, combining Hindu, Islamic, and Dravidian elements. This style is characterized using arches, domes, and ornate carvings. Swargavilasa mandapam (Hall of Heavenly Delight)—this magnificent hall is the palace's most outstanding feature. It has a 60-foot (18-meter)-high dome decorated with magnificent floral and geometric motifs. The hall was used for royal audiences & special occasions.

Rangamandapa (Hall of Colors): This hall was probably utilized for shows and amusement. The ceiling is adorned with vibrant paintings depicting themes from Hindu mythology. A majestic staircase with sculptured elephants bordering each side. The Archaeological Survey of India, a government body in charge of preserving historical monuments, currently protects the palace. The palace was constructed with a unique form of mortar that is supposed to be as robust as concrete. The palace's dome is reported to be influenced by the Gol Gumbaz dome in Bijapur, Karnataka. A notable remark is that refurbishment work is currently underway in the palace. It will take six months to finish this work, however, visitors will be permitted to enter the palace but will only be able to see a fraction of it. In addition, there will be no sound and light show throughout the renovations.

Timings: from 09.00 AM to 05.00 PM 

Entrance fee: for Foreigner – Rs.50 for adults & 30 for child and for Indian – Rs.10 

Camera fee: Rs.30

Video Camera fee: Rs.100 

Sound and light show charges: First show at 06.45 PM to 07.30 PM in English / Entry fee for both foreigners & Indians: Adult Rs.50, Children Rs.25 and Student Rs. 25.

Sound and light show charges: Second show at 08.00 PM to 08.45 PM Tamil / Entry fee: Adult Rs.25, children Rs.10 and Student Rs.10. 

Gandhi Museum: 

The Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai, inaugurated in 1959, pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian independence movement. It is a historic edifice that was formerly a palace. Built circa 1670 AD by Rani Mangammal of the Nayak dynasty, it has hosted numerous rulers and served a variety of functions throughout its history. It had previously functioned as a palace for different kings and nobles until being donated to the All India Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in 1955 to build a Gandhi Museum. The museum's exhibits focus on various aspects of Mahatma Gandhi's life and ideology. Visitors can view a "Visual Biography of Bapuji" that includes images, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, and quotations that trace his life from his youth in Porbandar to his leadership in the Indian independence fight. The museum also houses some poignant artifacts, including a portion of Gandhiji's blood-stained garment worn when he was assassinated, an original letter written by Gandhi to Shri Narayanan Sathsangi of Devakottai, a congratulatory message sent by Gandhi to freedom fighter and poet Subramania Bharati, and a letter written by Gandhi to Adolf Hitler, famously addressed as "Dear Friend." The museum also provides a variety of educational programs and activities promoting Gandhian values such as peace, nonviolence, and Satyagraha (truth force).

Timings: 10.00 AM to 01.00 PM & from 02.00 PM to 05.30 PM

Entrance Fee: No 

Camera fee: Rs.50

Video Camera fee: Rs.50

Holidays: Closed on all Sundays, Government & National holidays

Special note, renovation work is under progress at the museum now. The guest will be allowed to visit the museum, but they will be able to see only some portion of the museum. 

Thiruparankundram Murugan temple: The Tiruparangundram Murugan Temple, also known as the Subramanya Swamy Temple, is a Hindu temple devoted to Lord Murugan (also known as Kartikeya) that is 8 kilometers from the city. It is considered one of Murugan's "Six Abodes of Murugan," the six most sacred abodes. This remarkable rock-cut architecture temple was constructed in the sixth century, most likely by the Pandyas, and is an excellent example of rock-cut design. The temple complex is carved into the side of a hill and contains numerous tunnels and shrines. According to mythology, Murugan killed the demon Surapadman and married his consort Devasena at this temple. Murugan is reported to have worshipped his father Shiva at Parangirinathar. The primary shrine houses Lord Murugan's idol, which is bordered by the idols of his consorts Valli and Devasena. In addition to Murugan, the temple complex houses the deities Shiva, Vishnu, Vinayaka (Ganesha), and Durga. The temple follows the Shaiva worship tradition, with six daily rites and three yearly feasts. The most well-known celebration is Kantha Sashti, which takes place during the Tamil month of Aippasi (October-November). During this holiday, the temple is lavishly decked, and devotees flock to take part in the elaborate rites and celebrations.

Timings: 05.30 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM 

Entrance fee: No 

Camera fee: Rs.100

Video Camera fee: Rs.200

Alagar Temple: 

The Alagar Temple, also known as the Kallalagar Temple, is a major Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu that is located around 22 kilometers northwest of Madurai. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams, or sacred sites dedicated to Vishnu in the Alvar saint tradition. Vishnu is revered as Kallazhagar, which translates to "fragrant garland wearer." The temple was constructed in the Dravidian architectural style. The temple complex has a magnificent five-tiered rajagopuram (gateway tower), a rectangular enclosure with towering granite walls, and beautifully carved mandapams (pillared rooms). The pillars of the mandapams are embellished with exquisite carvings representing mythological scenes and life-size sculptures of previous monarchs. Look for idols of Narasimha, Krishna, and Rathi on a parrot, which demonstrate the temple's outstanding craftsmanship. Nestled amidst the Alagar Hills, the temple has tranquil atmosphere and captivating natural surroundings, which add to its allure. The temple is an important part of Madurai's spectacular Meenakshi Thirukalyanam (celestial wedding) celebration. During this event, a processional icon of Sundararaja, a golden image of Vishnu from Alagar Kovil, is transported to the Meenakshi Amman Temple for the wedding ceremony. The temple celebrates a variety of additional festivals throughout the year. These include the float festival in February/March, the Navaratri festival in September/October, and Vaikunta Ekadasi in December/January. Each festival has its own rituals and traditions, attracting people from all walks of life.

Timings: from 06.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM. 

Entrance fees: No

Camera fee: Rs.50 

Video Camera fee: Rs.100

Pazhamudhirsolai or Solaimalai Murugan temple: The Pazhamudhircholai Murugan Temple, also known as the Solaimalai Murugan Temple, is a prominent Hindu temple honoring Lord Murugan. It holds special significance for believers because it is one of Murugan's six holy abodes (Arupadaiveedu) in Tamil Nadu. Nestled amidst deep woodlands atop Solaimalai Hill, about 22 kilometers north of Madurai, the temple provides a peaceful retreat. This hill is also called Vrishabhadri or Idabagiri. The temple has shrines dedicated to Lord Murugan, his consorts Valli and Devasena, and Lord Ganesha. The lush vegetation and peaceful environs of the temple provide a welcome escape from the rush and bustle of city life. Interestingly, the Pazhamudhircholai temple is located near the Azhagar Kovil, a Vishnu temple. According to certain tales, the temple's principal deity was once housed in Azhagar Kovil before being transferred to its current hilltop location. The temple is mentioned in ancient Tamil works such as the Sangam period's Thirumurugatrupadai and the Skanda Purana. Hymns written in celebration of this shrine emphasize its significance. Legends surrounding the shrine contribute to its allure. One popular story revolves on Avvaiyar, a revered Tamil poet and Murugan follower. Famished and thirsty, she sought refuge under a tree near the temple while traveling in the blazing sun. Lord Murugan, dressed as a small boy, stood before her, and offered her both roasted and unroasted fruits. This experience is a reminder of the temple's connection to divine grace. The Pazhamudhircholai temple features a variety of architectural styles. While the primary construction exhibits the influence of the Pandiya rulers, other sections were constructed by local authorities, religious groups, and individual devotees. The Nayaks erected the Navaranga Mandapam, which stands out for its superb stonework and nine bays supported by four pillars.

Timings: from 05.30 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 07.00 PM. 

Entrance fees: No

Camera fee: Rs.50 

Video Camera fee: Rs.100

Mariamman Teppakulam: Mariamman Teppakulam is a temple tank near Madurai's Vandiyur Mariamman Temple. The tank was erected in 1645 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak and is named after the goddess Mariamman, a protective deity who is particularly revered in Tamil Nadu. The tank is surrounded by granite steps on all four sides, with a central island that houses a modest temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Mariamman Teppakulam is noted for its float festival, which takes place in the Tamil month of Thai (January-February). During the event, the idols of Goddess Meenakshi and her consort Lord Sundareswarar from the Meenakshi Amman Temple are paraded to the tank, where they are mounted on a float and taken for a ride around the tank to music and chanting. The festival is a colorful and joyful celebration that draws followers from all around India.  

 

St Mary’s church: St. Mary's Cathedral, commonly known as the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, is a Roman Catholic church located in Madurai. It is one of Tamil Nadu's most popular churches and the headquarters of the Madurai Roman Catholic Archdiocese. It was established in 1840 by Fr. Bertrend SJ. The church's construction began in 1841 as a modest chapel. It has been expanded several times throughout the years to serve the area's rising Christian population. Finally, in 1969, St. Mary's Church was raised to cathedral rank. St. Mary's Cathedral's architectural style is a stunning blend of European, Continental, and Roman influences. The cathedral's most noticeable feature are its two massive bell towers, it reaches a height of 42 meters (141 feet). The church's front is extremely elaborate, with numerous decorations. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Dolours (the Sorrowful Virgin Mary). The church commemorates key Christian holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday. It celebrates specific feasts for Christian saints throughout the year. The cathedral serves a parish of around 1600 Catholic households. Several associations are affiliated with the cathedral, including Vincent de Paul, the Family Welfare Team, the Bible Society, St. Mary's Youth, the Legion of Mary, and St. Mary's Altar Boys.

Other Interesting attractions in Madurai: 

Vegetable & flower market: Near Mattuthavani bus station 

It is regarded as the primary central market, selling fresh vegetables and flowers such as roses, jasmine, and marigold on a regular basis. It will then be distributed to all of Madurai's small-selling establishments. In addition, there are modest flower kiosks inside the market where the most vivid garlands are tied.  

Time to visit 06.00 AM till 05.00 PM

Tailor Market & spice market around Meenakshi temple 

Many shops are selling various spices and nuts in and around the temples. Tailors with sewing machines may be spotted throughout the temple; they specialize in stitching clothing and fabric bags.  

Time to visit 10.00 AM till 09.00 PM. 

Vilacheri village - 09 kms away from City - clay doll making & potter’s village. 

This hamlet is well-known for its pottery production. They use clay and terracotta to create various types of mud toys and statues. This company involves more than 250 households. It is also famous for "Golu dolls" (dolls and figurines of humans, as well as idols of gods and goddesses during Navaratri), and people from all around come here to buy them during the festival. Every year, they manufacture a huge variety of dolls, especially for the Navaratri festival, and people are eager to get a new one if they already have too many dolls. The craftspeople employ a multi-stage procedure all year. Doll casting is primarily done in the summer (January-March) to take use of the heat for drying. Base layers of paint are applied until July. Finishing touches are added closer to festive seasons, like Navratri, when sales peak. They will work Monday to Saturday except Sunday depends on their personal work.  

Time to visit 09.30 AM to 06.00 PM 

Saree weaving - Saurashtrian weavers near Nilayur, weavers colony  

Saree weaving has been an important occupation in Madurai since the Thirumalai Nayakar time. He recruited Saurashtrian weavers from the north to manufacture silk robes for his royal family, and they moved here. They use a handloom shaft and machine to manufacture many varieties of sarees, including cotton, silk, and sungudi. These sarees are distinguished by their elaborate geometric designs, and the term 'Sungudi' alludes to the small dots or 'chindis' formed using a tie-and-dye resist dyeing technique. The fabric is traditionally made of mercerized cotton, and the block prints are created by artists with small wooden blocks. They spend three to four days creating a single saree. This activity involves more than 3000 households, all of whom live in Madurai. The Saurashtra weavers' group in Kaithari Nagar is well-known for its expertise in weaving Madurai Sungudi and other cotton sarees.  

Keezhadi Heritage Museum: Keezhadi village is approximately 13 kilometers from Madurai. On March 5, 2023, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin opened the Keezhadi Heritage Museum. It was built in the typical Chettinad manner. The museum, spanning 31,000 square feet, exhibits a collection of antiquities discovered since 2014. Since 2013, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department (TNAD) have been conducting large archaeological excavations at the Keezhadi site. Excavations have discovered a significant settlement from the Sangam period, which occurred between the sixth and third centuries BCE. This implies that a well-developed urban center existed in the region far earlier than previously supposed. The museum's six display halls are divided across three floors. Exhibits are organized under topics like as agriculture, water management, weaving, and sea trade, providing a glimpse into the life of people during the Sangam period. Artifacts discovered include pottery, beads, and maybe indications of a writing system. These discoveries provide important information on the everyday lives, trade, and cultural activities of the people who lived there. The Keezhadi excavations call into question long-held assumptions about ancient Indian urban development. They claim that Tamil Nadu had a thriving urban center alongside the Gangetic Plains' developments. Artifacts include ivory and terracotta dice, male and female figurines, iron daggers, and punch-mark coins. Multimedia elements, QR codes, and holograms will make the exhibits more interesting for visitors. An auditorium where tourists can view videos on the Keezhadi excavations and their significance.

Timings: 10.00 AM to 06.00 PM (weekends – it will be open till 07.00 PM) 

Folklore temples of Madurai:

Kochadai Muthaiah temple - 6 kms away from city near to Hotel Heritage – Madurai

Kochadai Muthaiyaa Kovil, also known as Kochadai Iyyanar or Muthiah Swamy Temple, is a Hindu temple located on Madurai's outskirts, near Kadayal hamlet. It is dedicated to the deities Iyyanar and Muthaiya Swamy. The temple honors the deities Iyyanar and Muthaiya Swamy. Iyyanar is a guardian deity who is worshipped for protection and to fend off evil. Muthaiya Swamy is known for treating and curing ailments. The principal god, Ayyanar, entices with a bow and is known as Sri Villayudham Udaya Ayyanar Swamy. Many Ayyanar temples can be found in Madurai, but this temple is very famous, consisting of 21 important village dieties like Muthiahswami, Karuppuswami, Agni Veerabadrar, Karuppayi Amman, Sangilikaruppu, Kaluvadikaruppu, Meiyandi Amman, Nagappaswami, Sannasi, Aadipoosari, Pechiamman, Muthukaruppuswami, Irulappaswami, Veeranaswami, Rakkayi Amman, Irulayee Amman, Chappani, Sonai Muniyandi and Badrakali. People in Madurai hold a deep believe in this god, who is extremely powerful. Another important statue is the Nagamman (serpent) under the tamarind tree, and every Friday, locals pray to this god by pouring milk into it to relieve dosham. People from rural areas pay special attention to the temple, praying for good health, an abundant harvest, and protection for their cattle. During the Tamil month of Masi (February-March), a great event called "Masi Vilakku" is celebrated in magnificent style. Special pujas and offerings are presented to the deities, and people swarm the temple all day. The Mahashivarathri festival is held here for three days in the months of February and March, with special poojas.  

Entrance fee: No 

Timings: 10.00 AM to 01.00 PM and 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM. 

Holiday: No 

Madapuram Kali temple - 25 kms away from city 

The temple is in Sivagangai district and is dedicated to Goddess Badrakali Amman. Kali is a ferocious aspect of the Divine Mother who is known for eradicating evil and negative forces. Unlike many other Kali temples, Madapuram Kali's statue stands tall on a stone pedestal in an open space with no roof. A massive statue of a horse with bulging eyes and a furious expression stands in front of the Kali idol, providing protective shade. Kali's ferocious and powerful figure is represented with a crown of flames and blazing eyes, representing her capacity to eliminate negative energy. The temple is noted for its potent and transforming energy, which draws devotees seeking protection and positive change. The temple's other main god is Adaikalam Kaatha Ayyanar, who serves as its protector. People firmly think that the goddess represents only justice and wealth, and they have offered specific prayers to her. Devotees believe that just hearing the name of Madapuram Kali will shake the miscreants. The goddess shields them with strength and various wonders. Once a devotee's wish is granted, they present the goddess with a lemon fruit garland. Special poojas are held every Friday, on the full moon day, and during the Tamil months of Aadi and Thai (August and January).

Entrance fee: No 

Timings: 06.00 AM till 12.00 PM and 04.00 PM till 08.00 PM 

Pandi Muneeshwarar temple - 9 kms away from city 

This temple is located in the Melamadai area of Madurai city, which is 2 km away from the MGR (Mattuthavani) bus station. Main deity of the temple is Lord Pandi Muneeshwarar, who is considered as kaval deivam (rescuer) of Madurai. The Lord is portrayed as a powerful figure with fiery eyes, dark whiskers, and a white turban. He is adorned with garlands, silk dhoti, and sandal paste. Devotees seek blessings for protection, good health, and success in their endeavors. Earlier, this temple was like a small hut with open space, but now it has been developed into a proper temple. The deity of the Lord is in a seated position (Padmasanam) and showers his blessings on devotees. People from various places around Madurai believe that he is a very powerful god and offer their prayers wholeheartedly. According to legend, Lord Pandi Muneeshwarar is an old monarch of Madurai (King Pandian Neduncheliyan) who is linked to the Tamil epic "Silappathikaram." He is a vegetarian god; thus devotees serve him milk, Pongal, rosewater, and fruits. When devotees' necessities are met, they bow their heads as a form of offering to the god. Samaya Karuppar is another deity worshipped at this temple. Inside this shrine, people sacrifice goats and cocks to this god, and devotees also present whiskey, cigars, and other items. Every day on the calendar, the temple is busy.

Entrance fee: No 

Timings: 06.00 AM till 12.00 PM and 04.00 PM till 08.00 PM 

Popular festivals of Madurai: 

Float festival (January / February): This is one of the important festivals in Madurai, celebrated annually in January–February (on the day of the Poosam star and a full moon day) on the great king Thirumalai Nayak's birthday. On this day, early in the morning, the idols of Lord Sundareswarar (Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Parvathi) will be kept in the decorated palanquin and taken into procession to Mariamman Teppakulam and Meenakshi Amman temples. The water tank is filled with water, and the idols are kept in the raft, which is decorated with a variety of beautiful and colourful flowers and small eye-catching bulbs to float in the Teppakulam with holy chants and music. After the third round, the idols are placed in the centre mandapam at Teppakulam until the evening. In the evening, again, the idols are kept in the raft and taken on a boat ride around the tank. After that, idols will be taken into procession and return to the temple in the late evening. Throughout the day, a huge crowd will gather at this place to witness this festival. This festival celebrates February 11, 2025.

Note: Meenakshi Amman temple will be closed on this day. 

Chithirai Festival (April / May): The name itself brings joy to the people of Madurai, which is widely celebrated each year in the Tamil month of Chitirai (April-May). According to legend, it is a one-of-a-kind event held on opposite banks of the River Vaigai, and it finally brings Saivaites and Vaishnavites together during the Thirumalai Nayak Kingdom. The first day of the festival begins with flag hosting. The eighth day marks the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi Amman. The celestial wedding of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi takes place on the festival's tenth day. The celestial wedding of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi takes place on the festival's tenth day. The next day concluded with the Chariot Festival. On the other hand, Kallazhagar festivities began with flag hosting, and on the last day, Lord Kallazhagar (lord Vishnu) arrived at the Vaigai River on a golden horse known as Kallazhagar Vaigai Aatril Iranguthal. During these days, the Lord and Goddess' idols are paraded around the temple's four Masi avenues in different adorned palanquins every day. The entire city, with relatives and friends travelling from all over, is in a joyous mood over these 12 days, happily celebrating their festival.

Avani Moola or Puttu Festival (August / September): It is one of the important religious celebrations held at the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai during the Tamil month of Avani (August-September). The festival lasts 18 days and depicts the various wonders performed by Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) in 64 Thiruvizhayadals (holy games). This celebration is entirely dedicated to Lord Sundareswarar, whereas the Chitirai festival honours the goddess Meenakshi. According to mythology, Goddess Meenakshi reigned in Madurai from the Tamil month Chitirai to Avani, while Lord Shiva ruled Madurai after Avani. The grandest wonder is "Puttuku Maan Sumantha Leela," which takes place during this celebration, also known as the Puttu celebration. This festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, namely in his avatar as Puttu Sokkanathar. The ceremony commemorates the story of Lord Shiva and a poor old woman who sold puttu, a sort of steamed rice cake popular in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. According to the tradition, the old widow struggled to make ends meet. One day, Lord Shiva approached her disguised as a labourer and volunteered to assist her in carrying rice bags. After working hard, he became ravenous and gobbled all of the puttu she had prepared to sell. The elderly woman was initially upset, but Lord Shiva then revealed his true appearance and praised her, awarding moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirth). The Puttu Festival is held annually in the Tamil month of Avani, which corresponds to August or September on the Gregorian calendar.  On the day of the Puttu Festival, Meenakshi Amman Temple will be closed, and idols of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi will be carried in procession to Puttu Thoppu. People have gathered at this location to see the festivities. Please be informed that clients arriving in Madurai on this day will be unable to see the temple. They can, however, watch the event on the same day at 6:00 p.m. at Puttuthopu Thidal in Madurai.  This year's festival takes place on August 16, 2024.

Aadi Mulaikottu Festival (July / August): The Aadi Mulaikottu Festival is a ten-day celebration observed each year in the Tamil month of Aadi, which corresponds roughly to July-August on the Gregorian calendar. For ten days, adoration is completely focused on Goddess Meenakshi. During these days, the goddess will lead a procession through the Aadi streets surrounding the temple, decked with various vehicles, and accompanied by holy chants and music. The event kicks off with a big flag-raising ceremony on the first day of the Tamil month of Aadi. Throughout the 10 days, special prayers and abhishekam (holy washing) ceremonies are held for Goddess Meenakshi. The festival's climax is a great parade on a certain day on which the idol of Goddess Meenakshi is carried out on a beautiful golden chariot, followed by music, chants, and cultural acts. The procession often winds through the streets that surround the shrine. Aadi is often seen as an auspicious time for single ladies seeking appropriate partners. During this time, they keep specific vows and perform pujas (prayer).

Panguni Uthiram Festival (March / April): It is one of the most famous festivals held at the Thiruparankundram Murugan Temple (one of Lord Murugan's six abodes). It is a 15-day festival held annually from March 22 until April 22. On the 12th day of this festival, Lord Subramanya and goddess Devaiyanai will have a great celestial wedding, followed by a chariot feast the next day. Idols of Lord Sundareswarar and goddess Meenakshi from Meenakshi Amman temple were paraded to Thiruparankundram temple to attend Lord Subramanya and Goddess Devaiyanai's wedding. The Meenakshi Temple will be closed on this day. People flocked here in large numbers to observe this festivity. The event takes place on March 10, 2025.  

Vaikasi Visakam Festival (May): This festival is celebrated for Lord Subramanya at Thiruparankundram Murugan temple in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May) with Visakam Star, and it commemorates Lord Murugan's birth anniversary. Devotees from various parts of Madurai came to Thiruparankundram to offer their pooja to Lord Subramanya in various ways, such as carrying milk pots (paal kudam) to perform Abhishekams to the Lord and Kavadi (which represents carrying one's problems to the Lord, pursuing his help and guidance), with plain feet to receive the Lord's blessings. The event is held on May 22, 2024.

Pongal festival & Jallikattu (Bull Tamming) (January): This is the biggest holiday observed across Tamil Nadu during the Tamil month of Thai (January). The Harvest Festival is a three-day event that honors Lord Sun and farm animals for their contributions to a bountiful harvest. The famed Jallikattu (bull taming), which takes place on the third day of the festival, is the festival's signature event. It is one of the most significant historical sports celebrated in and around Madurai. Bull tamming takes place on open terrain, with young people from Madurai's neighboring villages actively participating and controlling the many bulls to demonstrate their bravery. Participants compete in this event by chasing the bull while holding their hands in a bull hump and sprinting and controlling it within a set limit. If this happens, he will win; otherwise, the winner will be announced as the bull. In his early days, a child who engaged in this sport to demonstrate his bravery would readily persuade women to marry. It takes place in three locations in Madurai: the first day at Avaniyapuram, the second day at Paalamedu, and the final day in Allanganallur. The most visible one is Allanganallur, where TTDC will set up a gallery for inbound tourists to watch this sport every year. The festival runs from January 14 until January 17.  

Interesting Activities in Madurai: 

Vanakkam Madurai: 'Vanakkam Madurai", a unique, private, interactive walking tour exclusively for people who visit Madurai. This is exclusively curated by us for clients. The purpose of this walk is to provide your clients an authentic experience of the local lifestyle of the people of Madurai, one of the oldest cities in India and is a place of great historical and cultural importance. This walking tour starts at dawn (6 am) and extends up to 2 hours (6am to 8 am) to offer a genuine experience and to immerse your clients in the culture and everyday life of an Indian city. Escorted by one of the members of the Vanakkam Madurai team (1 Escort will be available for every 4 pax), your clients will indeed get synchronized with the place and the people. Your client will understand what they see, when walking in an Indian city - the society on the whole, different roles of people, age-old traditions that are still alive, habits of people, street vendors, local homes, markets etc., are explained and introduced in a very interesting and involving way.   

For more details, please go through the link https://vanakkammadurai.com/  

Timings: from 05.45 AM to 08.00 AM (the guests have to start from the hotel around 05.30 AM) 

Food Safari: This is a culinary tour being done to offer an experience of local cuisine by taking clients to different food outlets and making them taste local food. We strive to make food an experience and have curated this activity called Madurai Food Safari. Madurai is fondly referred to as the food capital of Tamil Nadu. So, we aim to offer an experience of local cuisine in different food outlets and a taste of authentic local food to your clients. The food safari is done in the evening, wherein your clients can enjoy the nighttime ambience of Madurai along with delicious food that adds extra charm to their visit.

Timings: 06.00 PM to 08.00 PM. 

Jain Circuits in and around Madurai: 

Jainism in Madurai:

Madurai, a historic city, was also a center for Jainism in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The traces of Jain culture and lifestyles may still be seen in and around Madurai. Jain monks lived in rock hills and caves where they meditated and preached their beliefs to their followers. Mangulam, Anaimalai, Arittapatti, Alagarmalai, Keelavalavu, Thiruvathavur, Varichiyur, Karungalakkudi, Thirupparankundram, Muthupatti, Kongarpuliangulam, Mettupatti, and Vikramangalam are a few of the major Jain caves in and around Madurai. These are caverns within a 30-kilometer radius that have authentic evidence of Jain practices and settlements. Here we may find the sculptures of Mahavir Tirthankara and Brahmi, the text format, and Vallezhuthu, the early text forms from the 2nd BC to the 4th AD.  

Jain caves features 

200 stone beds, 26 caves, 60 inscriptions and more than 100 sculptures have been identified around Madurai.

1.Keelakuilkudi – Nagamalai Pudhukottai

The monastery atop the hill where you find the statues for Mahavir, the last monk of Jainism and Bahubali also called Gommateswara. There is evidence that one training school was run here for the monks. Situated 12 km from Madurai, this place is unique with temples and sculptures.  

2.Tenparankundram

Tenparankundram is on the south side of Thiruparankundram, it is located 11 km from the Main city in south-west. The Jain cave dates back to the first century B.C. this shows the earliest practice of Jainism from theTamil Brahmi inscription and also the abode of Digamber Jaina monks since 1 century BC. Thenparankundram is a protected monument.

3.Anaimalai

The place deserves its name Anaimalai as the huge rocks are naturally arranged in the form of a reclining elephant. The hillock is 8 km from the city centre. This is one among the sacred Jain hills about 22 feet length, 18 feet width and three feet in height. The Brahmi inscription states that the stone beds were gifted by kunrattur Nathan to the monks Eri Aritan, Attuvay, Arattakayipan. This cave and beds had existed earlier and it became popular during the 9th century that the first stone Sculptures of tirthankaras, yakshas and yakshis were beautifully carved.  

4.Keelavalavu: 

One of the biggest Jain monks in the country situated at 45kms from the city, Keelavalavu is a village in Melur Taluk . There is a granite mountain called Panchapandavar Malai is on the Melur – Thirupattur road. Here we can see the Jain beds, and sculptures of Mahavir and Bahubali also known as Gomatheeswarar since the 9th – 10th Century AD. The pillar stands atop the mountain with the inscriptions revealing the history that the rock caves and stone beds were made by people relocated from Thondi. The Hill is under protection by the Archeological Survey of India.  

5.Arittapattia

Arittapatti is village in Melur Taluk of Madurai district. It is located at a distance of 25 km east from Madurai city. The hill is also called Thirupinayanmalai, having the Jain monks’ sculptures since 1st Century BC.  

Jain temples in Madurai

There are two Jain temples in Madurai, one is near to the Jada Muni Kovil street and another one is next to the YMCA guest house

Jains and Tamizh literature:

Madurai city has the pride in History that the Jain monks who lived here have contributed more to the Tamil Literature. The major literary works of Jain in Tamil are Shtkandagama, Naladiyar, Silappathikaram, Manimekalai and Cheevaka Chindhamani, Tholkappiyam.  

Hotel details in Madurai:

Hotel Names

Category

Distance from the airport 

Website Link

Taj Gateway Hotel Pasumalai

Deluxe heritage (5*) 

16 kms from airport 

https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/hotels/gateway-madurai

Courtyard by Marriott 

Deluxe (4*) 

17 Kms from airport 

https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/ixmcy-courtyard-madurai/overview/

Grand Madurai by GRT

A new property with 120 rooms (in the city outskirts)

Deluxe (4*) 

10 kms from airport 

https://grthotels.com/grand-madurai

Heritage 

Deluxe heritage (4*)

18 Kms from airport 

https://www.heritagemadurai.com/

GRT Regency 

Deluxe (4*)

16 Kms from airport 

https://grthotels.com/madurai 

Fortune Pandiyan 

Deluxe (4*)

17 Kms from airport 

https://www.fortunepandiyanhotel.com/#

JC Residency

Standard (3*) 

16 Kms from airport 

https://www.jcresidency.com/jc_madurai/

Poppys 

Standard (3*)

20 Kms from airport 

https://poppyshotels.com/poppys-hotel-madurai

Germanus 

Standard (3*)

17 Kms from airport 

https://germanushotels.com/madurai/

Royal Court 

Standard (3*)

13 Kms from airport 

https://royalcourtindia.com/

Sterling V Grand 

Standard (3*)

22 Kms from airport 

https://www.sterlingholidays.com/resorts-hotels/v-grand-madurai

Amika Hotel Near Airport

Standard (3*)

06 Kms from airport 

https://amikahotels.com/

Hotel Astoria 

Economy (2*) 

13 Kms from airport 

https://astoriahotels.in/

MMR Garden 

Economy (2*)

17 Kms from airport 

https://www.mmrgardens.in/home.html

Viswa Residency by Azalea

Economy (2*)

21 Kms from airport 

https://www.azaleastays.com/ 

Madurai Residency 

Economy (2*)

13 Kms from airport 

https://www.madurairesidency.com/

Restaurants in Madurai: 

Non-Vegetarian Restaurants: 

  • Dindugul Thalappakatti Restaurant 
  • Konar Kadai 
  • Kumar Mess 
  • Amma Mess 
  • Amsavalli Paradise 

Multicusine Restaurants: 

  • Dine Elachi 
  • Cine Suvai 
  • Anjappar Chettinad Restaurant 
  • Shanmuga 
  • Barbeque nation 
  • The Chopstix  
  • Spice Mantra 
  • Phils’ Bristo - Italian, American & Chinese dishes

Vegetarian Restaurants: 

  • Annapoorna Mithai 
  • Amman restaurant 
  • Gowri Parvathi Bhavan 
  • Adyar Ananda Bhavan A2B 
  • Sree Sabarees Restaurant 
  • Gowri Krishna 
  • Temple City 
  • Bhagwati Mohan’s Bhojanalaya - Jain Food (North Indian) 

Fast food Restaurants: 

  • KFC - Fast food (burger, fried chicken)
  • Poppys - fast food restaurant
  • Dominos – Pizza
  • Pizza Hut 

Madurai's historical significance, cultural legacy, and active customs make it an ideal destination for those seeking a voyage through time. Visitors are immersed in the intriguing story of Madurai's long legacy as they tour the city's historic temples, savour its wonderful cuisine, and attend its colourful festivals.

SHARE_THIS_NEWS