Madurai is an energetic, ancient city on the Vaigai River in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Its skyline is dominated by the 14 colourful gopurams (gateway towers) of Meenakshi Amman Temple. Covered in bright carvings of Hindu Gods, the Dravidian-style temple is a major pilgrimage site. Millions attend the processions and ceremonies of April's Chithrai Festival celebrating Meenakshi and Lord Vishnu. It is also called the city of jasmines and city of junctions.
Best time to visit Madurai:
The best time of the year to spend in Madurai is October to March. The winters are pleasant here. Summers are very hot and humid with hot winds blowing all day long.
Ways to reach Madurai:
- By air – Madurai has an international airport. It is 15 km from the main city. There are direct flights from Sri Lanka, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kolkata every day.
- By train – Madurai railway station is right at the heart of the city. Chennai is 7 hours by train. There is well connectivity from all major cities.
- By bus – There are frequent buses from all major cities of Tamil Nadu that will take you to Madurai. Tirupati, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Kochi, Hyderabad also have overnight buses to Madurai.
- By road – Roads of Madurai are very well constructed and many people prefer to drive here over the weekend. The national highways 7,45, and 49 connect Madurai to Kanyakumari, Chennai and Rameswaram respectively.
Places to stay in Madurai:
Since Madurai is a major tourist attraction, there is umpteen number of hotels and Oyo rooms in every locality. Some of the more famous and affordable picks are-
- Fortune Gateway Hotel
- Meenakshi Sunshine Hotel
- The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai
- Heritage Madurai
- Poppys Hotel
- Hotel North Gate
If you are up for a lavish stay where you would like to splurge for some TLC then top picks for you are-
- Courtyard by Mariott
- Fortune Pandiyan Hotel
- Regency Madura
Price ranges from 1800-4000 per night depending on the type of hotel and the type of room that you book. All hotels have basic amenities like free wifi, room service, swimming pool and state of the art service.
Places to visit in Madurai:
- Meenakshi Temple- This is the most popular tourist spot. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, who is a form of Goddess Parvati. The Dravidian architecture of this temple is just mesmerizing. There are daily aartis and pujas performed.
- Some other noteworthy temples here are-
- Alagar Temple
- Koodal Alagar Temple
- Pazhamudhir Solai
- Other must-see places are-
- Gandhi Museum
- Thirumalai Nayak Museum
- Goripallayam Dargah
- Vandiyur Mariamman Mandapa
Festivals in Madurai:
The main festival celebrated here is the Chithrai festival. Special pujas and aartis are held every day and are there will be quite a lot of rush. Other festivals celebrated here are Pongal and Jallikattu in January and Navratri in October.
Must eat foods in Madurai:
Some must-try restaurants are-
- Hotel Kanna on Netaji Road- Chicken fry here is to die for.
- Chapati Park at K.K Nagar Arch- You name it and there’s that kind of chapatti available here. This place is quite affordable and the taste is great too.
- Modern Restaurant on Avani Street- The thali is the most famous item here. Idli, dosa and Pongal are also worth a try.
- Konar Kadai- Located near the railway station, this restaurant specializes in South Indian cuisine. Its kudal kolumbu is world famous.
- Bamboo Garden on Abdul Khan Street- This is a very old and famous eatery in the city. Almost all the dishes are worth a try here.
- Famous drinks are coconut water, jigarthanda, lassi, butter milk and fruit juices which you will get almost everywhere quite easily.
Shopping and local markets in Madurai:
- Jute Cottage- You will get everything from bags and baskets to mats here. The prices are a little expensive but you can bargain to get a good deal.
- Chithirai Street- This is perfect for a lazy afternoon street shopping. You will get anything and everything here.
- Mansi Street- It is famous for fashionable accessories and clothes. If you like shopping then this is a must go place.
- Hanjee Moosa Fabrics- You can buy Chennai and Mysore silk sarees here as well as other silk clothes.
Tips for travelling in Madurai:
- Adhere to the proper dress code while visiting the Meenakshi temple. Socks are a strict no and women should wear a scarf around their shoulders if they are wearing a t-shirt.
- Make sure to attend the theme parks. They make a perfect family outing.
- Kick start your day with the refreshing filter coffee. If you find a Madras Coffee house, then make sure to go there.
- The banana market is the heavenly abode for all fruit lovers. You will get fruits for cheap prices and they taste well too.
- Enjoy as many adventure sports as possible.
- Eat a south Indian thali at least once.
Festival Calendar of Madurai
|Mar||Wedding ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwar|