Posted 07 October 2022

Why Madurai should be on your travel wish list right now

If you are looking for reasons to visit Madurai, then hold your horses because we have compiled a list for you with all the essential information. As a historic city with a reputation for housing several holy sites or temples, Madurai has a lot to offer. It is one of the most popular cities in India due to numerous historic structures and national heritage sites that keep it in the limelight on a global scale.

When planning a trip to Madurai, don't forget to visit the following places. Your exploration of the destinations listed below will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you to remember.

About Madurai

Madurai, one of India's oldest cities, has earned the title of "Cultural Capital" in Tamil Nadu. This city is not only the third biggest in Tamil Nadu, but it is also the 44th most populous city in India. Aside from a plethora of historical buildings illustrating the region's former era and cultural legacy, notable old temples like Meenakshi Amman Temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace, among others, are national landmarks of global importance. The rich heritage of this city entices many Indian and foreign travellers to include it in their itineraries.

So, here is a list of the top five reasons why visiting Madurai will be a fantastic experience:

1. Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple, also known as Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple, is a world-famous Hindu temple in the region that attracts worshippers worldwide. This temple was established in the 17th century and is located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. It draws pilgrims all year round. That is why worshippers flock to it at all times.

This temple is still one of the must-see South Indian temples during Madurai tours since it is mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature to depict writings from the 6th century CE. It spans 15 acres and has 500 pillars and 14 towers. Although this temple is accessible to visitors 24 hr a day, travellers are urged to visit during the morning or evening hours.

2. Saint Mary's Cathedral

People of all beliefs frequently attend prayers at Saint Mary's Cathedral Church in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, known for its religious peace. The Saint Mary's Cathedral Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Dolours, is one of the most prominent churches in Tamil Nadu. This church was built in 1841 by the New Madurai Mission and was later enlarged to serve big crowds of domestic and foreign tourists. The exquisite architecture of this church, which includes two colossal bell towers, is a notable feature. Its magnificent stained-glass art attracts people of all ages.

3. Thirumalai Nayak Palace

Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in the 17th century, is one of the most visited attractions in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. This palace was erected by the then-Ruler Tirumala Nayaka, who remained a powerful king of Madurai's Nayak Dynasty. This landmark, made of Dravidian and Islamic architecture, is worth appreciating and exploring while on a Madurai tour. Aside from providing many opportunities for history buffs to delve into the past, this palace also keeps regular tourists coming back to enjoy the sound and light performances. Every evening, such events are held in the palace to exhibit a glimpse of the past.

4. South Indian food

Madurai is well-known for numerous South Indian culinary initiatives from diverse South Indian cuisines. If you are a foodie and want to try the most incredible South Indian food in town, then you should go to Murugan Idli Shop. It is well-known among both locals and foreign tourists. Aside from the excellent and straightforward flavour of the foods prepared here, this restaurant maintains an extremely high degree of sanitation. That is possibly one of the key reasons why foodies flock to this eatery. Famous specialities like idli and dosa are must-try delicacies at this restaurant. These dishes are offered to food enthusiasts with a particular combination of spicy chutney powders.

5. Puthu Mandapam

Your trip to Madurai may be incomplete if you do not visit the Puthu Mandapam shopping area. This shopping complex, located just across from the famed Meenakshi Temple, is home to rows of tailors and stalls selling a broad range of numerous variations of clothes, scarves, jewellery, fashion accessories, handicrafts and artwork. You may purchase items that will serve as a fantastic reminder of your vacation to Madurai. Almost all tourists coming to Madurai visit this market to buy high-quality modern clothing, including quality replicas. Foreigners regularly visit this market to buy clothing to take back to their home countries as souvenirs. So, make sure to include it in your itinerary because it is one of the top reasons to visit Madurai.

More reasons to visit Madurai

  • History buffs should visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum, one of five Gandhi Museums in the country, constructed in 1959. The museum is a repository of Gandhi's personal life, with items ranging from a blood-stained cloth worn by Gandhi on the day of his assassination to a lengthy series of paintings illustrating the liberation movement.
  • Besides temples, Madurai has a lot to offer. Beautiful hills can be found in the city's gorgeous surroundings. So, a trip to the viewpoints is never a bad idea. Visit Yanai Malai, a protected monument and tourist site, also known as 'The Elephant Hill', or Samanar Malai which has 2000year old Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and sculptures.
  • Are you someone who enjoys eating bananas? If yes, then you should plan to visit Madurai's Banana Market to learn more about how this market has remained unique. This wholesale banana market has around 16 different banana varieties. Interesting, isn't it?
  • Meghamalai is one of the sites in Madurai that has been richly blessed by Mother Nature. From sweeping grasslands to scented coffee plantations and lush green wildlife sanctuaries to magnificent waterfalls, Meghamalai is a paradise for environment lovers everywhere.
  • If your idea of a holiday is to immerse yourself in a city's culture and customs, then the Chithirai Festival in Madurai is a must-see. It is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Madurai. The celebrations of this festival last a month, in April or May according to the Gregorian calendar, and one may experience the liveliness of this town at its peak.

Travel tips for Madurai

  • Madurai residents are proud of their city and traditions; thus, remarks against it are rarely tolerated. Make no jokes about a person or his family since this may be terrible at times. The most common greeting is "Vanakkam", which is said with palms folded at chest level.
  • The Madurai Corporation provides water. However, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is widely accessible.
  • Although the local cuisine served in restaurants is hygienic, avoiding dining at roadside eateries is better.
  • The city might get hot and dusty during peak summer, so drink plenty of fluids, such as coconut water.
  • There are plenty of medical shops, and practically all main medications are accessible, but carry your standard meds.
  • Madurai is well-known for its one-of-a-kind drink, "Jigardanda". Try the "Famous Jigarthanda" shop in Vilakkuthoon.

How to reach Madurai?

  • By air: The nearest airport, located 11 km from the city, is Madurai International Airport. IndiGo offers more than 30 non-stop flights to Madurai between Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kozhikode.
  • By train: Madurai Railway Station connects the city to all major regions of the country via several high-speed trains, including the Chennai Express, Bangalore Express and Punalur Express.
  • By bus: The city is well-connected to all other towns and cities by buses operated by the government and private companies.

Best time to visit Madurai

  • Winter: Winter in Madurai lasts from December through February. During this time of the year, the temperature in Madurai ranges between 20°C and 30°C. Winter is the best time to visit Madurai since the weather is lovely throughout these months.
  • Summer: The arrival of the summer season in Madurai begins in March and lasts till June. The temperature stays exceedingly hot over these months, making summer a less than ideal time to visit Madurai. During the summer, the temperature in Madurai varies from 27°C to 41°C.
  • Monsoon: The monsoon season in Madurai begins in June and lasts until September. During these months, the city receives a lot of rain. On the other hand, nature enthusiasts would find this to be a great time to visit Madurai, as the city fills with lush green verdure during the monsoon season.

How to travel around in Madurai?

  • Cycle rickshaws: For short distances, cycle rickshaws are the preferred mode of local transportation. The prices are also relatively low.
  • Buses: The city bus is one of the primary means of local transportation in Madurai. These buses take passengers from one section of the city to another. The buses are fairly full at peak hours, such as in the morning and evening. Madurai has five bus stops to meet the requirements of its people.
  • Auto-rickshaws: Auto-rickshaws are another kind of transportation available in the city. Because the auto drivers do not adhere to the fare metres, the fare must be agreed upon in advance. The fare is paid in cash, and it is a convenient method to go around the city.
  • Taxis: Taxis are a costly mode of transportation. They are typically favoured when travelling on a sightseeing trip or touring the tourist attractions in and around Madurai. Taxis carry a per-day fee and should be used while travelling in a group.

Conclusion

So, if you are planning a vacation to Madurai soon, then the above-mentioned places to see in Madurai will come in handy. The city's allure is found in the various historic temples that will transport you back in yesteryear. Apart from paying your respect at religious sites and experiencing the city's other attractions, you should also pamper your taste buds to the wonderful street cuisine and South Indian specialities. So, plan your itinerary properly and book your stay ahead of time to take advantage of the best deals.

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