Shopping Antiques In Madurai
If you’re an avid collector that loves shopping antiques in Madurai , you’ve arrived at the right blog! But, on the other hand, if you’re just wondering what to take back from your trip here, there’s nothing I can say but welcome!
If you’ve been here long enough, you already know how and why I started Ancient Madurai. My love for antiques manifested into a full-fledged store during the pandemic because I knew this was the kind of love that just had to be shared with the entire world.
Heirlooms That Were Passed Down, And Heirlooms I Intend To Pass Down…
As a person with South Indian roots that run deep, my family raised me to embrace healthy food habits, sit down with the family during dinner, and deeply covet my grandmother’s collection of brass and bronze pieces used to serve dinner. So, if you’re like me, you sure do understand!
There’s nothing like a well-seasoned kulipaniyram chatti, a well-scrubbed davara, or even a sizeable flare-mouthed bronze lota to make away with hopes that you’ll add it to your collection.
And nothing beats the feeling of knowing you have someone to pass down the heirlooms to or know it’ll be safe with them.
But what of those that are just starting a collection of their own? Say convenience made its way into your household with the new glass and plastic wares. Stainless steel and non-stick pans took over the good old iron and bronze chattis at breakfast time. I don’t blame you. Convenience can’t be bashed when it helps keep up with tight schedules, but I also won’t deny that golden-hued vessels from the past have a magic of their own!
I started my collection early on, and when I settled in the temple town of Madurai, my inner antique addict was high with excitement! There were numerous hole-in-the-walls to visit, secret alleyways only locals knew, and even touristy shopping streets that ran long both up and down, endless at first sight.
Suffice it to say that I was in heaven.
Over the last few years, I’ve done just that— explore the temple town and let the streets and alleyways guide my sense of adventure. And today, I want to share it with you!
Here’s a quick go-to guide if you love shopping antiques in Madurai !
Shopping Antiques In Madurai At The Ancient Madurai Studio
Yes, this had to top the list, but not solely for being a “yours truly” initiative! Did you know the Ancient Madurai Studio terrace boasts a stunning view of the famous Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam? What better place to shop with a view than our homely, warm and well-stocked space?
Our spacious studio is home to vintage artefacts procured from around the country stacked up on shelves and consoles and hung from frames and ceilings for your curious eyes!
Moreover, our staff are hands-on and well-informed about the pieces that make up our collection and are always super happy to assist you while keeping your budget, experience, and requirements in mind!
Browse through the collections, admire the beautiful decor, and leave with a piece of the studio to call your own!
Shopping Antiques In Madurai At The Pudhu Mandapam
This stunning complex is amongst the oldest in the town and stands opposite the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple. I remember my frequent visits like it was yesterday, for this beautifully designed complex was more than just a tourist shopping arena.
A walk through the Pudhu Mandapam was like walking through a mall at a different point in time. The beautiful stone pillars would loom over you with large stone Yazhis looking around with a cautious eye as you shop with your family. It was surreal, indeed.
Small three-person crowds would form around stores that sold traditional attire, handloom fabric shoppes, and tailors. Yes, tailors. Golden glints from brass and bronze would shine in the eyes of women as they carefully checked the vessels for quality and bargained to bring down the prices. And shopping for antiques in Madurai was never easier than doing so at the Pudhu Mandapam.
Let’s be honest; the Pudhu Mandapam had something for everyone of all ages, apart from groceries. But, of course, shopkeepers were always encouraged to move elsewhere, given how the foot traffic, sellers and materials themselves added to the defacing of the structure. Still, the actual move came during the COVID Pandemic.
The plan was to move all stores to the Kunnathur Chathiram by November 2021, but unforeseen delays marked relocation completion in May 2022. Nevertheless, the tourism department understood the value of the skilled tailors and artisans and did their bit to keep the culture alive for the years to come. But is there more work to be done regarding adjustments and grievances shared by the craftsmen? Yes.
The Pudhu Mandapam is now being cleaned and restored to its true glory as officials work towards declaring it as a heritage site.
Shopping Antiques In Madurai At Meenakshi Amman Temple Complex
If you’re looking for a quick brass and bronze buy to add to your pooja room, there’s no better place than the temple surroundings to find what you need.
Ever-burning incense and fresh florals sprinkled with water set the ambience for you to buy traditional pooja items and brass and bronze idols. If you’re looking for vintage pieces, ask around, and you may find just what you need. Lithographs and paintings too make quite the appearance around here.
Shopping Antiques In Madurai At Chithirai Street
I cannot begin to explain how unreal it felt to miss out on the Chithirai festival while living in Madurai during the pandemic. As anxious as I was about my family’s safety, a small part of me felt highly awkward about not being able to see elaborately decked chariots and magnificent displays of the divine for the duration of the pandemic. After all, something was missing from our festive calendars for two whole years.
However, we’re super happy to see it come back to life again and bring stunning brass and bronze back to the streets! Shops here allow you to explore stunning vilakkus, large and in magnificent form, as used in the temple corridors. Vintage vessels, too, make an appearance and almost all prominent brass and bronze shops offer customisation services.
However, if you’re looking for hand-hammered engravings while shopping antiques in Madurai, you’ll need to look closer.
Shopping Antiques In Madurai At Munichalai Road
If you’re looking for panels, plaques, and murals on wood, this is where you need to be. Munichalai road is a one-stop shop for wooden items, especially vintage and antique items.
From restored old chariot panels to stunning traditional brass door work, there is much to explore on Munichalai road. The vendors are well informed about their craft, and new artisans even take requests for customisations in case you’re looking to buy some to set up your home.
But it also helps to have a keen eye to spot any significant flaws in the wooden pieces apart from the regular wear and tear. So watch out for softened wood, broken pieces, and loosened fittings, if any, before you make your purchase!
Now that you know where to look when shopping antiques in Madurai, I’ll let you in on a lesser-known secret. Find a local you know and let them help you seek out shops near the temple that sell some gorgeous pieces that are one of a kind because of how they’ve aged over the years.
Some come from family homes that can no longer care for them or are abandoned amid modernisation. Traditional kitchenware, hanging vilakkus, and small keepsakes are a part of it. All you need to do is seek them out on your little adventure!
There’s no shortage of shops to visit when you arrive in Madurai. So take time to explore as many as possible and immerse yourself in the culture that strongly believes in the sustainable concept that old things have value and always will for as long as they can be used and cherished.