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Kerala Backwater

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

It is a city where you will find temples almost at every corner. Aptly termed as the ‘Temple City, Madurai has a unique place among other cities of Tamil Nadu. Owing to rich historical background, the city boasts a rich heritage. Previously referred to as Madhurapuri, Madurai finds its mention in the ancient Greek, Roman and Arabic text. The city has also gained worldwide popularity because of the magnificent Meenakshi Temple which is located here. Madurai can be divided into two parts – old Madurau and modern Madurai. The city occupies a position on the banks of River Vaigai. Being an important pilgrimage destination in southern India, the city invites devotees from far and wide.

Things to Do in Madurai
Since Madurai is a ‘City of Temples’, it celebrates many temple festivals. If you are arriving during April-May, you can participate in the Chithrai Festival. It is a religious festival celebrated to seek blessings from goddess Meenakshi Amman.

Don’t forget that Madurai happens to be a commercial hub in southern India. A number of items and accessories are sold here. You can buy things including jewellery, brass work, Tanjore paintings, handicrafts etc. These items can be taken back home as wonderful souvenirs.

While in Madurai, do remember to take a sip of coconut water. You can easily notice roadside sellers selling tender coconuts on their tricycles. Enjoy the cool drink under the shade of a tree, where you will actually find these sellers.

Madurai also serves as a perfect gateway to popular southern Indian destinations like Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Thekkady, Munnar and Kodaikanal. Just a day’s travel and you can reach any of these famous travel destinations.

In and Around
As mentioned above, the Meenakshi Temple is the biggest crowd-puller in Madurai. The temple is dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, an incarnation of Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort. Non-Hindus are denied access into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. However, they can view sculptures and paintings that decorate the temple premises. Koodal Alagar Temple and Alagar Temple are two very popular and magnificent Naishnav temples. At 8 km from the city of Madurai is the Thiruparankundram Temple. It stands in dedication to Lord Muruga. Next, you can hire and auto-rickshaw to pay a visit to Pazhamudhir Solai, dedicated to Lord Muruga-Karthikeya. Gandhi Museum and Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam temple are the other major tourist attractions in Madurai. Travellers are advised to dress modestly while on their sightseeing tour in Madurai.

Where to Stay
If you are looking for budget and mid-range accommodation, choose to stay at hotels like Hotel Arathi, Madurai Residency, M M Lodge, TM House, Hotel Supreme and Hotel North Gate among others.

Madurai Air/Rail/Road Link
Madurai has its own airport which is served by major domestic airlines like Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Paramount Airways and Kingfisher Red. Whether you are accessing Madurai from Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai or Delhi, you can avail of regular train services. By road, Madurai is an 8-10 hours road drive from the cities of Chennai and Bangalore.