Madurai is a lotus-shaped city located on the banks of River Vaigai in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. It is surrounded by three hills called Yanaimalai, Nagamalai and Pasumalai. It is the oldest and second largest city of Tamil Nadu. Once it was the capital of The Pandyas. They were followed by the Muslim rulers and then came the Vijayanagar rulers. They were defeated by the Nayaks. Their finest contribution to Madurai was the Meenakashi temple. It is famous for its architectural beauty all over the world. Madurai is proud of its rich heritage – dance, art, music, literature and temples. Originally the city was called 'Madhurapuri'. The legend goes that Lord Shiva showered blissful nectar or 'Madhu' on this land. This was his blessing for the city. This blessing coincided with the day when the city was to be named. Later, after the 14th century, the name was distorted to Madurai. Today it is one of the important pilgrimage of Hindus.
Meenakshi Aman Temple
It is an epitome of beauty dedicated to Sundareswar(form of lord Shiva) and Meenakshi(goddess Parvati,consort of the lord). According to the legend Lord Shiva married goddess Parvati at Madurai. The shrine at the centre of the sanctum sanctorum houses the image of Nataraja(dancing form of Lord Shiva) placed on a huge silver altar. Nearby shrine houses the image of Lord Ganesha. The shrine left to the Shiva's shrine is of goddess Meenakshi.
The temple covers an area of 45 acres. It has impressively carved and decorated gopurams, thousand pillared hall decked up with sculptures. 'Kalyana Mandapa' is the hall where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is observed every year in the month of Chaitra)April). What a heavenly affair! The event is celebrated as a festival named Meenakshi Thirukalyanam.
Potramarai Kulam is the blessed pond inside the complex of the temple where devotees take circles before entering the main shrine. It is believed that Lord Shiva blessed this pond.
Best time to visit Madurai is from October to March as during this period the climate is pleasant.
In Madurai you can relish the healthy delicacies of South India. Idli, dosa, sambhar, vada, egg parotha and kotu parotha and coconut chutney are a few to name.
Madyrai is famous for glass bangles, handloom saris, woodcarvings, brass ware, palm basket and jaggery from palm trees. The known places for shopping in the city are Chitirai, Avanimoola, Masi Street, Pudumandapam and Thevangu Chetty Choultry.
Madurai offers several accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels to budget hotels. Some of the known hotels are Taj Garden Retreat, Madurai Ashok,Madura Park Inn, Hotel Supreme and Fortune Hotel Pandyan.
How To Reach
Madurai Airport is the nearest airport connecting the city with the metro cities of the country. Madurai is easily accessible by rail and road from major cities of South India.