Madurai (Tamilnadu)

The temple town of Madurai allures large number of travellers to experience the rich culture, architecture, glorious sculptures, and historical monuments. Head off for a magical one day Madurai trip packed with the visit to the marvellous temples, grand palace and interesting museum.

The brilliant pilgrimage centre of India is also known for the exports of jasmine flowers. The celebrated city, often referred to as Thoonga Nagaram which means the city never sleeps was the capital city of the Pandya Dynasty. Set on the banks of River Vaigai the city features centuries old architecture. Every temple has a unique feature to be witnessed and appreciated.

Book our one day Madurai local sightseeing tour that introduces you to the graceful architecture and culture of the 2500 year old city. Meenakshi Amman Kovil is a picture-postcard temple of Madurai that captivates and inspires travellers with its magnificent architecture and divinity.

Festivals like Meenakshi Thirukalyanam and Avani Moola Maha Utsavam are celebrated with gaiety drawing several visitors every year. The historical monuments house an incredible variety of cultural and religious artefacts.

The city is also popular for its delectable cuisine and varied shopping. The major trade revolves around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Explore the majestic Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple that is as old as the city. Aayiram Kaal Mandapam with its spectacular sculpted thousand pillars and the statues of the Nataraja and Sivakami in the centre of the hall has been the key attraction of the temple.

The main sanctum holds the idol of Goddess Meenakshi engraved out of solo emerald. Witnessing more than 33000 erotic sculptures and painted ceilings gives an enthralling experience to the visitors.

There are 12 beautifully engraved towers called gopurams with four main gopurams at the entrance facing the four directions. The gopuram at the south gateway with a height of 50 metres is the highest among the four gopurams.

The scriptures which are brilliant examples of Dravidian architecture depict the stories of goddess Meenakshi and the miracles performed by Lord Shiva.

The beautifully carved pillars of the Meenakshi Temple showcase the miracles of Lord Shiva and the birth and life of goddess Meenakshi.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace

Thirumalai Nayak Palace has been the favourite sightseeing spot of our one day Madurai tour. Travellers are enchanted with the beauty of the palace built in the 17th century by King Thirumalai Nayak under the supervision of Italian architect. Designed in Gothic style the massive pillar attracts all tourists. Pillars rising to a height of 82 feet and with 19 feet width astound visitors.

History buffs would also be enchanted with the beautiful architecture that represents a perfect fusion of the Dravidian, European and Islamic schools of architecture. The Indo-Saracenic architecture style domes and arches are examples of the brilliant craftsmanship. A significant structure the 60-70 feet high beautiful arcaded octagon covered by a high dome in the central throne chamber inspires visitors.

The glorious palace hosts the splendid Light and Sound show which throws a light on the life of Ruler Thirumalai Nayak. After independence the glorious palace was declared as a national monument and is maintained by Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.

The living palace of King Thirumalai Nayak is a sight to behold with massive courtyard, Dance Hall and Throne Chamber. The notable palace also houses an informative museum showcasing a rich collection of artefacts, idols, paintings, pottery, pillar stones and scripts sourced from many places in South India dating back to 102 AD.

Koodal Azhagar Koil

The remarkable religious site dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the most revered temples among the 108 Divyadesam, the holy shrines of Lord Vishnu. The 1500 years old temple has Lord Vishnu in sitting, standing and reclining forms. A 125 feet five tiered Rajagopuram with its beautifully carved sculptures displays the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The main sanctum has the idol of Koodal Azhagar, the manifestation of Lord Vishnu in sitting form under the Serpent Lord Adhiseshan and Sridevi and Bhudevi idols present on both sides.

The reclining form of Lord Vishnu known as Sri Ranganathan is located above the altar of Lord Koodal Azhagar. Designed by Vishwakarma and surrounded by granite walls, the temple houses the standing form of Lord Vishnu as Sri Surya Narayan Perumal.

With our 1 day Madurai private tour, tourists would appreciate the beautifully sculpted tower above the sanctum sanctorum called the Ashtanga Vimanam. It is interesting to know that the shadow of the Vimanam does not fall on the ground.

The idol of Madhuravalli Thayaar, the manifestation of goddess Lakshmi is present in a separate shrine. The shrine north to the main sanctum has the idol of Andal Nachiyar. The elegantly carved ornamental windows and the sculptures of the temple built in Dravidian style of architecture are awe-inspiring.

The temple of profound beauty and religious importance has a shrine with the navagrahas which are generally found in Shiva temples.

Imayil Nanmai Tharuvar Koil

Take a short detour to the ancient temple of Imayil Nanmai Tharuvar Koil where devotees throng in to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings. The name Imayil Nanmai Tharuvar means that he gives benefits in this birth itself.

It is believed that after the marriage of Lord Shiva and goddess Meenakshi it was decided that Lord Shiva would rule the city for 8 months while the goddess would rule it for 4 months.

Before taking up the throne Lord Shiva was supposed to perform the Shiva Pooja. So he installed the Shiva Linga and did the Pooja himself. The temple is often referred to as Bhooloka Kailash which means Kailasha on earth. It has the Shiva Linga facing west with Lord Shiva and goddess in its backdrop.

Gandhi Memorial Museum

The next stop over in our Madurai one day local sightseeing tour is the Gandhi Memorial Museum inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959. The wonderful museum created over 13 acres of land enlightens visitors with the struggle for Independence.

The special exhibition on “India Fights for Freedom” casts light on the history of Freedom Movement. The rich collection of the ordinary objects used by him and the blood stained pile of dhoti that Bapuji was wearing at the time of assassination preserved in a vacuum glass box influences the visitors.

Gandhiji had been to Madurai five times and during his last visit went to worship goddess Meenakshi with Harijans. He gave away his traditional Gujarati attire and decided to adopt a simple way of dressing in a dhoti and loincloth in Madurai in 1921 identifying himself with a common man. Keeping in view his association with Madurai the city was chosen for establishing the dedicated Gandhi Sangrahalaya of India.

The state government of Tamil Nadu had given the Tammakum Palace to All India Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for setting up the historical museum. The palace belonging to Rani Mangammal of Naik Dynasty built in 1670 AD was renovated to develop this interesting museum.

A section of the Museum displays the visual biography of Gandhiji containing photos, sculptures, quotations, paintings and selected copies of his letters and renderings. The letters include an original letter from Gandhi to Adolf Hitler addressing him as a Dear Friend. Learn about Gandhiji gazing through the 124 rare photographs from the various phases of his life.

Teppakulam Mariamman Koil

Head off for a mystical solace proffered by the Teppakulam Mariamman Temple with our one day Madurai tour by private cab. Set at a distance of 5km from Meenakshi Amman Koil, the temple is dedicated to goddess Mariamman the Hindu god of rain. It houses the idols of Pechiamman in a separate shrine and the idol of Lord Ganesha under a peepal tree.

A huge pond is located outside the temple called Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam which is said to be connected to the Vaigai River through an ingenious system of channels.

The temple and tank built by King Thirumalai Nayak draws huge crowd during the Thaipusam float festival celebrated every year for ten days. The tank has a mandapam in the centre called Maiya Mandapam with Vinayagar and a garden.

Thiruparankundram Murugan Koil

The next stop over of the one day Madurai trip is the famed Murugan temple. The celebrated temple is one of the six abodes of Murugan built by the Pandyas during the 6th century.

This significant religious site holds its importance in the fact that it is here that Lord Murugan married the daughter of Indra, Devyani and defeated the demon Surapadman. He reached Thiruparankundram after having defeated the demons in 6 battles and thus saving the heavens from Soorapadman.

Idols of Lord Vishnu, Murugan, Shiva, Durga and Ganapathy are set in the mesmerizing rock cut temple. The presiding deity is known as Paragirinathar and the female deity his consort Parvati is known as Avudai Nayaki.

Notable feature of this sacred treasure of Madurai is that Lord Shiva and Vishnu are facing each other. The impressive seven tiered Rajagopuram with a height of 150 feet at the entrance attracts attention.