Madurai at a glance

Whats the Prograaaaaaam??

Its been long time since I wanted to write abt this. Finally I get the chance. This is about a visit to the holy city , which is better known as the “City of Temples” , aka Madurai. The most famous temple which attracts tourist from all over the world is Meenakshi Temple.

Nestled in the southern part of Tamilnadu ,Madurai had been a centre of development activity. Its known for its rich history and also the patronage it received during the rule of the Pandyas and mighty Cholas. It was Cholas, notably Raja Raja Cholan who made a remarkable contribution both in the battle-field as well as in fostering the tamil literature (known as Sanga Tamizh). Most of the temple in Madurai were built during his reign. More detail about the history of this place can be found @ http://www.madurai.com/history.htm

How to get there?

Madurai is well connected by Road, Rail and Air.

Road: It’s a long way(450+ kms) off from Chennai and driving is not a sensible option over a weekend. If you want to try then the route is Chennai-Villupuram-Perambalur-Trichy-Dindigul-Madurai.

If you are travelling from bangalore, the route would be

Bangalore-Krishnagiri-Salem-Dindigul-Madurai

Rail: This is the best option and there are quite a few trains through the day and night to get you to Madurai from Chennai. The distance is covered in 8 hrs.

Direct train is available from Bangalore as well. The distance is covered in 12 hrs.

Air: Air deccan and Paramount airways operate flights in and out of Madurai.

Once you are in Madurai, there are a couple of decent hotels that offer rooms at a very reasonable price. For a detailed listing of the hotels, try http://www.madurai.com/hotel.htm

Places to see

The first place people know and will visit in Madurai is the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwarer temple . If its sounds complicated, Meenakshi temple will do just fine.

The temple is one of the landmark structures around which ancient Madurai was built. The walls of the temple are decorated with paintings depicting the marriage of Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara (Shiva). One page would not be enough to describe this huge temple. The entire history of the temple is available at http://www.madurai.com/meena.htm

The next place of mention might not be as popular as the Meenakshi temple, but it is definitely worth a visit. This place is called Azhagar Kovil.

This place is located 21 kms from the town of Madurai is a Vishnu Temple on a picturesque wooded hill.

Here ‘Vishnu’ presides as Meenakshi’s brother ‘Azhgar’. As the place itself suggests, the temple is dedicated to Alagar who is popularly known as Sundararajar.

The temple is built on an extensive area in a very picturesque spot, surrounded by the ruins of a historic fort. The impressive main tower at the entrance, believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kings, has some beautiful sculptures depicting scenes from the epics.

Karuppannaswamy, the God of Kallars and the finely carved eighteen steps, are held in great reverence by the devotees. It is claimed that nobody will dare tell a lie at this spot.

Frequent buses operate to this place from Madurai. Taxis are also available. There are a few rest houses at Alagar koil, but it is advisable to stay at Madurai .

Other places near Azhagar kovil:

Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill, about 4 kms. above.

A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bath, is located here. According to local tradition, this spring is said to have originated from the anklets of Maha Vishnu during His incarnation as Trivikrama. The 3 kms path on the hillock to the temple of the summit, where bathing facilities are available, offers some beautiful natural scenery to the visitors.

Most of the places in and around Madurai are religious places.It might not be of much interest to an avid traveler.Having said that, I should add that the places around Madurai offer a scenic and picturesque with a touch of the Indian countryside (so to say).

This place warrants a visit by one and all.

This write-up may be short , but I hope it serves the purpose of the essence that I wanted to convey.

Cheers

5 Comments

  • Manish khamesra says:

    Again a nice write-up. Yet to check the links and understand the history of Meenakshi Temples.
    I remember in Meenakshi temple a guide was showing musical pillar to the guides, he hit the pillar with his lathi, the sound generated was harsh, but not really the music.

  • Manish khamesra says:

    I wanted to write that the sound generated was not harsh, but not really the music.

    I missed not :(

    Manish.

  • Rahul says:

    I went to Madurai as a kid and don’t remember anything. But recently was surprised when a colleague of mine said he wanted to visit the temples of south India especially at Madurai on his India visit next year.

  • backpakker says:

    madurai is an amazing city ..not hyped, but rich in culture..Its also the closest city to those who want to go to Kodaikanal ..short and simple write up …not been to all these temples..your travelogue has tempted me to visit this city again

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