The Ultimate Guide To The Best Tourist Attractions In Madurai: Where To Go And What To Do!
An updated list of 2022
India is a mix of cultures and religions, filled with exciting back-stories and detailed elements that make it a perfect tourist place. There are so many countries to visit, and their diversified features never fail to attract travellers to the point when they would consider returning again and again. In today’s blog, we will mainly talk about the tourist attractions in Madurai, one of India’s oldest cities and famous as the ‘Cultural Capital’ of Tamil Nadu.
A First-Timer’s Guide to Visit Madurai
The city of Madurai, which is immersed in Tamil culture, is described as vibrant, magical, chaotic, and spiritual. Locals refer to Madurai as “Thoonga Nagaram” or “the city that never sleeps“, and it is well worth a visit. As you enter the city, expect vivid colors and the thrill of temple bells to overwhelm your visual and auditory senses. Temples, cathedrals, and palaces are among the many things to explore in Madurai. It’s a one-of-a-kind location where the old and new coexist. The old structures of the city’s many temples and other architecture are enough to make the city’s modern skyscrapers fade away.
While visiting a new place, you must create an itinerary including popular destinations and sightseeing activities. While Madurai’s history traces back to the third century B.C., it is mentioned in the works of Arab, Roman, and Greek travellers such as Megasthenses; it is now one of South India’s primary centres for promoting Tamil culture and customs through so many things. So, if you’re planning a trip to Madurai, Tamil Nadu, anytime soon, you can’t miss the popular tourist attractions in Madurai mentioned below:
Tourist Attractions In Madurai : Places To Go
1. MADURAI MEENAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE
The Sri Meenakshi Temple is nearly synonymous with Madurai and is probably the most popular location to visit in the city. Goddess Meenakshi (an avatar of Goddess Parvati) and her spouse Sundareshwarar or Lord Shiva are the presiding deities here. The temple is a magnificent piece of Dravidian architecture and its rich work of art. It is encircled by four gopurams and houses almost 33,000 statues. The Thousand Pillars Hall is a stunning edifice that is well worth paying a visit.
2. POTTERY VILLAGE OF VILLACHERRY
Consider taking a one-day tour of Villacherry Village, also known as the pottery village. Villacherry, sunburned and drowsy, resembles any other archetypal Indian village. Interact directly with the people and see their craft and pottery artwork with incredible precision. A visit to the Villacherry Pottery Village must be there in your list of tourist attractions in Madurai.
3. ANCIENT MADURAI STUDIO
There’s something so nostalgic about the good old days. So what is it that draws us to the antique collectibility? Whether you know the answer or not, if you are an ardent admirer of bronze and brass antiques visiting Ancient Madurai Studio would be a delightful experience for you. Whether you are looking for antique home decor, brass pooja kits, beautiful figurines of deities, brass kitchen tools, or even pooja accessories, this shop has it all! So go on and collect as many favourites as you find there, and scratch them off your decor list!
What’s more, proceeds from all sales at Ancient Madurai are directed towards the Little Moppet Heart Foundation, an NGO that works towards providing quality medical care and free heart surgeries to underprivileged children who have Congenital Heart Disease.
4. CHITHIRAI FESTIVAL
Madurai is one of India’s oldest cities, having been mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, written in the first century by a Greek sailor. The Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple’s ongoing Chithirai festival is one such attraction that you can’t miss while creating a list of tourist attractions in Madurai. The event usually begins in April with the raising of the temple flag and is followed by full-fledged festivities.
The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and her spouse Sundareshwarar are carried in a well-decorated chariot. It is then moved around in a procession with loud music and drum beats. People offer flowers, coconuts, camphor, and incense sticks to the parade as it moves through the city streets.
The festival is celebrated with great fervour and excitement, just like a real wedding. The festivities have expanded throughout the city, with worshippers crowding the streets. Many people travel from nearby towns and states to attend this festival. The coronation, procession, celestial wedding of God and Goddess, temple chariot procession, and the coronation offer a wholesome experience for a lifetime.
5. VAIGAI RIVER
A trip to Tamil Nadu is incomplete without some serene sightseeing like the Vaigai River and Dam. Located near Aundipatti, 55 kilometres from Gudalur, the Vaigai Dam is one of the main tourist attractions in Madurai. It has a height of 106 feet, a length of 11,675 feet, and a water storage capacity of 71 feet. The dam is notable for its lights on Saturday and Sunday evenings and the garden surrounding it.
6. VANDIYUR MARIAMMAN TEPPAKULAM
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is affiliated with the Vandiyur Mariamman Temple and is a major tourist attraction in Madurai. It is mostly utilised for religious purposes and features a man-made island in the centre. It draws thousands of worshipers despite being barely 2 kilometres from the famous Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple. This temple tank, which draws its water from the River Vaigai, is one of the largest temple tanks not only in Tamil Nadu but also in South India.
7. SAMANAR HILLS
Samanar Hills is located near Keelakuyilkudi village, 12 kilometres from Madurai. The Archaeological Survey of India has designated it as a protected monument. This hill has a long back story of historical and religious significance, dating back to the first century A.D. Some inscriptions on the rocks here mention the existence of Jain monks who are claimed to have dwelt in the caves. Along with their religious significance, the Samanar Hills are known for their breathtaking scenery.
8. TRIMURTHI CAVE
Trimurti Cave is a remarkable example of Dravidian architecture from the eighth century. You can find a three rock cut temples constructed on a hundred foot high cliff here. It features portions dedicated to each of the Hindu trinity gods of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva or Maheshwara in a sequential order.
The sculpture and architecture style is a wonderful work of art that also conveys an excellent impression of art and architecture from our past. You can’t miss including this cave in your list of tourist attractions in Madurai.
9. THIRUMALAI NAYAKKAR MAHAL
This stunning 17th century palace in the temple town of Madurai was erected by King Tirumala Nayaka and a classic fusion of Italian and Rajput styles! The Palace complex was once 4 times larger than what we can see today, and was once considered as the wonders of the South!
Tourist Attractions In Madurai : Things To Buy
1. THALAMPOO KUMKUM
Visiting Madurai and not buying some Thalampoo Kumkum is just not happening! If you are one of the tourists who never miss the unique features and attractions of a place, like the brass and bronze decors, Thalampoo Kumkum also tops the list of this city’s specialities. The benefits of using Thalampoo Kumkum powder are unmatched:
- It has a distinct aroma that comes from a combination of selected turmeric and thazhampoo (Screw Pine flower) natural extract.
- It will be a great accessory for your pooja room as Padigaram & Venkaram help create a spiritual atmosphere and an aroma with numerous medical benefits.
- It contains no chemicals and is entirely homemade; therefore, there are no signs of allergy, irritation, or itchiness if you apply the Kumkum instead of the commercial ones.
2. THE MAGNIFICENCE OF MADURAI SUNGUDI SAREES
Just when you were thinking Madurai is not a great shopping destination in terms of adding something new to your wardrobe, we dropped the hint- you can’t miss the glory of sungundi sarees while visiting the amazing place. The ringing of temple bells, the aroma of jasmine, and the wonderful sungudi sarees are what make Madurai such a lovely place. Every weave has a story to tell, making each saree a work of art that you can flaunt.
Grace, beauty, and ease are the essence of a magnificent sungudi saree, which integrates the art of elegance into one. Sungudi sarees are typically available in a variety of brilliant and subdued colors such as scarlet, olive, yellow, and blue. The borders and end-pieces of a traditional sungudi saree are usually a different color from the main body of the saree. Borders frequently feature a zari pattern with complementary warp threads.
3. MADURAI MALLIGAI
A vibrant tourist attraction like Madurai is never complete without some natural wonders like Madurai Malli, a special kind of Jasmine flower, mainly known for its surprisingly appealing scent. Madurai Malli is the name given to it because of its birthplace, Madurai. At least once in their lives, every woman in Tamil Nadu has adorned her hair with this lovely flower. How about flaunting a Sungundi saree with a Malligai flower in your hair?
Tourist Attractions In Madurai: All You Can Eat
You can’t complete your trip without some authentic foods and drinks when in Madurai and Jigarthanda must be a part of your culinary adventure. Manner syrups, badam pisin, condensed milk, and ice cream are used to make this drink. It is necessary to soak this badam pisin overnight in order to boost the volume of the drink. It helps to alleviate constipation and increase weight. This jigarthanda must be served chilled soon after creating the glass with badam pisin and other components.
2. MADURAI IDLI
All South Indians love these fluffy little breakfast delights for how easy they are to prepare and eat as well! With a good serving of coconut and red chutney, this simple breakfast option is a go-to, especially for busy days.
Madurai Idli, in particular, is served super soft and piping hot with podi or wet chutney on the side.
3. KEERAI VADA
Made from scratch with crushed Urad dal, Mulmurungai leaves, cumin, and pepper, this hearty doughnut-shaped deep-fried snack makes for the perfect tea-time accompaniment. It is readily available at street stalls during the evenings and is served as is or with sides.
4. PARUTHI PAAL
This yummy and nutritious drink is made not from milk, but from cotton seed extract. It is mixed with coconut milk, fragrant spices such as cardamom and ginger and sweetened with jaggery or sugar. During the hot summers, this refreshing drink is served cold by street vendors scattered about the temple city.
Apart from the places, foods and activities listed above, there are several historic sites to visit in Madurai. Madurai welcomes guests from all walks of life. This city is worth seeing during your holiday because of its ancient monuments, busy markets, authentic Tamil cuisines, friendly and cooperative people everywhere, and a nice environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the ideal time to visit Madurai?
Although Madurai may be visited at any time of year, the months of October to March are ideal for a trip. Because of the hot and dry climatic conditions in the summer, people prefer to visit Madurai in the winter.
How do I get to Madurai?
Madurai is accessible all year through railways, highways, and the airline network that connects it to global destinations. From wherever in the country, you can fly to Madurai Airport. This airport has excellent connections to all of India’s main cities. Chennai, the largest metropolitan city in Tamil Nadu, is the closest international airport.
What Are The Nightlife Activities in Madurai?
Madurai is a bustling city that is active at all hours of the day and night. While roaming, you can discover amazing cuisines and entertainment options. Markets are open till late at night, so go exploring with your friends and family.